Best Places to Work in Delaware in 2013
Take this job and love it: Delaware’s best workplaces and bosses, surveys, and advice for graduates.
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Other Matters of Importance
After community, employees value different things in a great workplace. For many, it’s quality of life and flexibility. For others, it’s an environment that is rejuvenated often before it gets boring. For some, it’s an environment that fosters exploration and creativity, or a company that fully equips employees to do their jobs, whether it’s providing good computers, ongoing training, or offering accessible documents and forms online.
Rob Matera says leaders at SunGuard Availability Services are great at proving the tools and resources that employees need. “Anything that gets in the way of doing a job is frustrating,” says the account executive. “I’ve worked in other tech companies, and SunGuard stands out in equipping and developing sales so we are the sharpest in the industry.”
Setting the Tone
Truly great environments don’t happen by accident, says Patricia Pettinati, head of Human Resources at SAP America. “Leadership plays a huge role in corporate culture and how people feel about working there.”
When leaders are effective, their effort often hums quietly in the background. But it can be painfully obvious when they’re not, says Jack Baroudi, University of Delaware associate dean for graduate and executive programs and an expert in the neuroscience of work behavior. Employees disengage and turnover rises, he says. “When people leave, they don’t leave companies; they leave managers.”
What do great leaders look like? It often comes down to treating employees well. Matera says a boss “should have your back, and be your advocate up the chain.” Gardener says they should believe in you and appreciate you. Hendrix says they should value your perspective. Murphy says they should be accessible, not up on a distant throne. Patrick D’Amico, chef de cuisine at Harry’s Savoy Grill, agrees. His boss, Xavier Teixido, is “not afraid to clear dishes or get behind the line and cook on a busy Saturday night if someone doesn’t show up.”
SAP has created numerous processes to establish mutual trust, understanding and respect between leadership and employees, Pettinati says. For example, its Manager Assimilation program quickly builds rapport. First, a facilitator meets with each employee to ask a series of open-ended questions, such as, “What do you want to know about your manager?” and “What do you need to be successful?” The facilitator compiles the answers and shares them with the manager (without naming employees). The manager then uses the information to craft his or her own introduction that is shared in a team meeting.
Graham Cooper, chair of the Delaware Area C12 Group, says leadership matters immensely. That’s why he is part of the Christian leadership development group. Whatever your belief system, the lessons are universal, he says. They center on the responsibility to foster two sides of communication, understanding and clarity.