Why do so many people hate their jobs? And why do others go to work with a spring in their step? Disgruntled employees tend to complain about the same things: their boss ignores their suggestions, their colleagues are unfriendly or unhelpful, and meetings are excessively long and boring. Fortunately happy employees do exist. So, what’s the secret?
TOPdesk employs more than 700 employees across 10 countries. And they all have one thing in common: extremely high levels of satisfaction. Indeed, TOPdesk scores an impressive 4.7 out of 5 on Glassdoor. People clearly enjoy working for us and we’re evidently a good employer. So, what’s our secret?
When I show visitors around TOPdesk, the first thing that catches their eye is our gadgets. From table football to Nintendo Wiis, we’ve got it all. You can almost hear their brains ticking over: ‘So, that’s the secret to happy employees!’ Unfortunately not. If only it were that simple.
So, what is the secret? I believe that it starts with a safe environment where people trust one another and are glad to help each other out. I’m married with two children. If I fancy a night out with my wife, then I need to book a babysitter to look after the kids. Someone from my local area, who’s willing to keep an eye on them for a pre-agreed amount. When you’ve got children, planning a night on the tiles becomes a military operation.
Fortunately, I’ve got extremely nice neighbours who happily watch our baby monitor every now and then. I simply ring their doorbell and ask if they’re available on a particular evening. I don’t even need to negotiate a fee, because they expect nothing in return. They trust that we’ll return the favour on another occasion. By watering the plants when they’re on holiday, for instance.
What can trust do for a company or corporate culture? More than you think. At TOPdesk, new employees rave about their exceptionally helpful colleagues: ‘If I ask a colleague a question, I get an immediate response. If they don't know the answer, they’ll happily refer me to someone who does.’
This never ceases to amaze me. Apparently, it's unusual for colleagues to devote their precious time to helping others out. Especially without immediately receiving something in return.
Source the right employees
How do you foster a safe working environment? An environment where employees trust one another and regularly help each other out? By sourcing the right team members. Take the search for new employees seriously: you’re the one who decides who’s going to work in your department. So, determine which attributes are key to contributing to the safe environment that you envision and make this central to your application process.
Soft skills and competences
We conduct two interview rounds at TOPdesk. During the first interview, we check whether the candidate is a good match to our organization. We do this by examining their soft skills. Are they passionate about what they do? Are they willing to help? Do they trust people? Can you trust them in return? Would you feel comfortable going for a beer with them? Candidates who satisfy all these points proceed to the second round. In round two, we explore whether the candidate has the necessary professional competences.
Never settle for less
Such a rigorous selection process has two drawbacks. Firstly, it demands a considerable amount of time. Secondly, our focus on an applicant’s soft skills isn’t necessarily aligned to the hard skills that we require.
Filling job vacancies can therefore prove difficult in practice. Yet, no matter how qualified a candidate is for the job, we won’t recruit them if we don’t believe that they possess sufficient soft skills. We’d never hire a service desk employee who didn’t make time for their colleagues for instance. Why not? Because we’re determined to protect our corporate culture.
Building a dream team and creating a safe working environment are the first steps towards happy employees. Curious about what else you can do to nurture happy employees on your service desk? Then take a look at the other blogs in our service culture series or sign up for our weekly newsletter.