“May you live in interesting times” was the title of the 2019 Venice Biennale. A sort of a curse maintained then its president Paolo Baratta, that sounds somewhat like a prophecy (considering that the art exhibition closed its door in November that year.) Indeed, we are living interesting times, luckily, not exclusively in negative terms.
When it comes to work-related trends, Covid-19 has impacted the workforce extensively. It has initiated or reinforced some shifts in companies’ cultures. It has changed the drivers that make employees decide to remain, leave or accept a job. It has shed new light on the role played by company leadership, unveiling some well-established habits. Today it seems evident that the quality of senior management can determine a great, good, bearable or toxic environment. Consequently, it can influence businesses’ results and performances.
Besides changing how work is done, the pandemic also altered how workers view their jobs and reshuffled, in a way, the elements that influence their decisions to stay or leave. In this respect, Glassdoor’s research on data from the US, Canada, Uk, France, and Germany found that in recent months the quality of senior leadership has been gaining momentum. The surveys indicated it as one of the workers’ most important drivers of satisfaction, together with the culture and value of the organization and the career opportunities. According to the research, now it stands before topics like pay or work-life balance. “Inspirational senior leadership is a sign of a united company with an engaged, motivated and happy workforce“, confirms Lauren Thomas, a Glassdoor Economist. “The pandemic tore up the traditional management rules, and it is the leaders who have embraced this change who have seen their company thrive.”
Managers run the businesses with performance and revenue in mind. But, maybe as never before, today they need also to confront and provide broader attention to the human side of the company’s environment. They need to give directions but also meaning. They plan, organize and control but can also cultivate the recognition for the hard work and boost the working environment by helping shape a positive work culture. When those and similar requisites are not met, and leaders are perceived as disconnected, neglectful, micro-managing or unappreciative, employees are likely to talk poorly about their companies and the management style. Ultimately, they will be more likely to leave.
With a clear idea of the challenges that the organizations have to face when it comes to achieving success and, at the same time, managing at best their labour force, Glassdoor has compiled lists of the best companies for senior management. The review of the anonymous feedback collected in the UK, Germany and France, shows how those employers “have fostered a culture of support, friendliness and flexibility and stand out for their transparent approach to management”, continues Thomas.
This year in the UK, the top positions are occupied by VetPartners Limited (a company that works in the sector of healthcare), GTB (advertising and PR) and ServiceNow (tech). Capgemini (consulting, technology services and digital transformation) is the number one in Germany, followed by the software company Personio and Google. In France, the top three companies are Dataiku (artificial intelligence and machine learning), Retail Renault Group and Contentsquare (digital experience intelligence and analytics).
A focus on women. Findings in Italy
It has become a shared belief that companies’ leadership style and approach are partly responsible for working environments and how much the intentional efforts toward specific topics such as inclusion and flexibility contribute to a healthy workplace. In particular, throughout the pandemic, while the main priorities and drivers of satisfaction for the employees have remained the same (i.e. culture and values, senior leadership and career opportunities), many of the countries surveyed by Glassdoor have started to value D&I performance more than compensation and benefits.
The 6th annual list of Best Workplaces for Women Great Place to Work Italia agrees with this. Looking for the best Italian companies for women to work in, the research highlighted how more inclusive businesses and those promoting equality score better in terms of personal development and management’s credibility.
“Nowadays, the work market is influenced by fast-paced changes and new settlements that ask a lot of the global organizations“, declares Beniamino Bedusa, president of Great Place to Work Italia. “They have to be ready to accept the changes. At the same time, they have to innovate to create new business strategies.” The Best Workplaces for Women 2022 “gives us an even clearer image of the importance of an equal distribution of roles at higher organizational levels. Considering the (level of) confidence in management (+25% of positive responses for men and a +27% for women compared to the scores of the other companies analyzed[…]) and the credibility of management (+13%)“, continues Bedusa. Those findings represent “a transmission belt of the new knowledge, strategies and business values.”
Credibility, respect, equity, cohesion and pride in the work one is doing; according to Great Place to Work Italia those qualities determine whether a company is an ideal place to work for women. And consequently, for everybody, as Bedusa comments: “These aspects allow us to generalize the positive impact of gender policies on the male population, highlighting, once again, how female inclusion is not only an ethical and moral issue of our time. But also a fundamental element for everyone in every moment of company management.”
In Italy, the best companies for women to work in, according to the 2022 research conducted by Great Place to Work Italia on almost 20 thousand female employees from more than 200 companies, are Sebach S.p.A. (rental of portable toilets), American Express Italia and AHK Italien (management consultancy), P.A. Advice S.p.A. (consulting company for the public administration) and Teleperformance Italia (Customer Experience management and BPO services). – The complete list can be found here.
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