Looking for secrets into building great workplaces?
Then the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For is a great place to start. It’s full of insights, inspiration and examples of great cultures in action.
Unsurprisingly, Google — with a 4.4/5 rating on Glassdoorand forward-thinking HR practices that receive consistent, widespread praise — takes first place.
But Fortune’s list, created in partnership with Great Places to Work, goes beyond the obvious and covers a wide variety of industries: hotels, insurance, retail, healthcare, financial services, HR consulting, software, home remodeling and more.
What do these companies share in common? A clear and successful commitment to building great workplaces with dedicated, engaged and happy employees.
Easier said than done, right? Let’s take a closer look at what these companies are doing right — and how you can join their ranks. The Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list offers real-life case studies in building great workplaces!
Get on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For
Your company has until July 29 to register as one of Fortune’s 100 “Best Companies to Work For” in 2017. Accepted registrants then have until Sept. 9 to submit surveys and audits.
How does it work?
The Fortune list is based on scores on the Trust Index Employee Survey, which is sent to a random sample of employees from each company. The Culture Audit is a detailed questionnaire that covers pay and benefit programs, hiring practices, methods of internal communication, training, recognition programming and diversity efforts.
The Key to Culture Audits
“I’m frequently asked, ‘What makes a good Culture Audit?’ which is usually code for ‘Can you tell me how to get on the 100 Best Companies to Work For list?'” writes Great Places to Work’s Leslie Caccamese.
In her blog post, “Five Tips for Creating a Great Culture Audit,” she explains:
“There’s no ‘magic formula.’ No matter how compelling your prose or how many supplemental materials you submit, if employees aren’t experiencing a high-trust workplace culture, a good Culture Audit won’t be the golden ticket to earning a spot on the list.”
A good Culture Audit also can’t make up for dissatisfied employees, because employee survey results carry the most weight in Great Places to Work’s ranking system. So while it’s important to describe your method for building great workplaces, the real test is whether employees are experiencing it.
The Core Four: What Matters Most to the Top 100
Four employee beliefs are common among Fortune 100 Best Companies, according to the Great Places to Work 2016 findings report “Connecting People and Purpose.”
- “My work has special meaning — this is not ‘just a job.'”
- “I want to stay with the company.”
- “I make a difference here.”
- “When I look at what we accomplish, I feel as sense of pride.”
“Connecting employees to a sense of purpose is a distinguishing factor related to the issue of retention,” the report concludes. On average, the 100 Best Companies see about one-half the voluntary turnover of their industry peers.
7 Case Studies in Building Great Workplaces
The 2016 Great Places to Work findings report offers recommendations for connecting employees to a sense of purpose and reducing voluntary turnover, based on case studies from the 100 Best Companies list.
Here’s a look at seven of these case studies, and the takeaway from each!
1. REI, Inc. — Define a Purpose, Connect People to It
Every company needs an “overarching purpose” in the world, and just as importantly, each employee needs to be connected “to their specific role in driving it forward through their work.”
Retail chain REI has a mission to “inspire, educate and outfit for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship.” As part of that mission, employees have access to programs that get them outside and interacting with nature, including skills classes, grants to pursue outdoors activities, and more. In turn, the company refers to its employees as “inspired guides,” which Great Places to Work says helps “clarify REI’s brand promise” to customers.
2. Credit Acceptance — Trust and Empower Employees to Do Their Jobs
Credit Acceptance CEO Brett Roberts regularly shares the following quote from Robert Levering’s A Great Place to Work:
“The people doing the work know the most about it.”
Credit Acceptance leaders “embrace this philosophy and have built a culture that respects employees at all levels as true experts in their line of work,” according to the Great Places to Work report.
3. Wegmans Food Markets — Give Employees a Voice
Great workplaces believe employees have something valuable to say and give them a way to share it. Wegmans reinforces its commitment to openness by hosting two “Open Door Days” per year. On these days, employees can discuss any topic with store managers or senior leaders one-on-one.
“The free-flow of information has resulted in employee ideas being adopted, and many part-time employees becoming inspired to build full-time careers with the company,” the report states.
4. W.L. Gore & Associates — Instill Employee Pride by Showcasing Customers
Most employees don’t have direct contact with customers and the impact their work has. Top 100 Best Companies make this connection!
Gore-Tex manufacturer W.L. Gore routinely hosts customers who use their technical fabrics in law enforcement, emergency services and military applications. Side by side, employees gear up with the customers and put products to the test. It gives employees real-world experience of the products they make and allows customers to give direct feedback — plus it’s fun for everyone involved!
5. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — Make Your Workplace a Community
Celebrations help build community among colleagues! At St. Jude’s, employees enjoy a fun summer lunch-time concert series called “Judestock.” Organizers set up a stage on the hospital lawn and invite employees to eat lunch while listening to local bands play upbeat cover songs.
6. Quicken Loans — Recognize Employee Contributions
“One of the most powerful ways to help people understand that they are making a difference at your company is by recognizing them for their contributions,” says Great Place to Work’s Anil Saxena.
At Quicken Loans, employee anniversaries are marked with a hand-signed card from CEO Bill Emerson, accompanied by a gift card. Gifts grow in value the longer an employee has been with the company. On 20th anniversaries, employees receive a $500 gift card, two-dozen roses, a personalized cake, and a balloon bouquet.
7. PwC — Make Giving Back Part of Your Company Brand
A commitment to community volunteerism and giving back builds a sense of purpose among employees.
Audit, tax, and consulting services company PwC empowers employees to make a positive and lasting difference in their communities by teaching financial literacy to those in need. Nearly 200 PwC volunteers have donated a cumulative 4,000 hours of their time to help teach and mentor students at Bronx public school PS18.
The collaboration benefits students and PwC volunteers alike, according to the Great Places to Work report: “PwC volunteers speak emphatically of the opportunity that teaching financial literacy and mentoring has provided them in regards to personal and professional growth as well as an ‘indescribable joy’ when seeing students’ expressions after a day with PwC volunteers in the classroom.”
Want More Tips on Building Great Workplaces?
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