Become the Best Place to Work

July 31, 2023by Jennifer Murray0

 

Each year, Fortune, Forbes, and regional Business Journals promote their lists of the best places to work. They have been sharing their findings for over two decades. The lists are based upon annual employee surveys. How did new entrants make the list? How have some organizations maintained their standing year after year? Here is the good news – winners may not have the highest salary ranges.

To help you frame what makes employees rave about their employers, examine your organization and consider how your team is evaluating your culture. In most organizations, human resources represent multiple generations and each generation has unique needs and priorities. Generation Z has grown up with technology and is likely to feel comfortable with an organization that embraces technology. The Deloitte Global Millennial Survey highlighted that nearly half of Gen Z respondents consider an organization’s ethical and moral values when making job decisions. Millennials and Gen Zs have financial burdens that are top of mind which generates more attention to pay equity. Millennials are more likely than Baby Boomers to switch jobs for more money. On the other hand, if you have any Traditionalist on your team, they typically prioritize job titles and compensation. In general, Baby Boomers place a high value on promotions, development opportunities, and recognition, while Generation X employees enjoy autonomy, access to mentors, and flexible schedules. Understanding the generations you have on your team and their priorities will help you create a highly engaged, productive, happy team that responds favorably to the Best Place to Work surveys.

What have we learned from the winning organizational leaders and their employees? Here are some themes I gathered from the Fortune list of 100 Best Companies to Work For.  Respondents attributed their happiness to many factors. It’s about the mission, the people, belonging, career development, career mobility, establishing trust, free food, educational benefits, and feeling valued. Engaged employees feel like it is more than a job.  Chuck Robbins, Chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems shared, “Employees want to work for human beings.” He went on to say that “they hire great people and believe in honest communication. Every company has to make tough decisions.” He listed the top initiatives of Cisco’s key customers. One global initiative is supporting the hybrid workforce. As a company serving global customers with technological solutions, that puts the Cisco leadership team in a strong position to serve their team members. What can his leadership team do to have the least impact on his team members? “Make the office a magnet, not a mandate. If our employees are happy, they are more productive.” Cisco Systems has held the #1 spot on this list for three years.

Business leaders at small organizations often feel defeated. They are doing their best, but may not see a clear path to hiring top talent. Surprise! You may be underselling yourself. You may be missing opportunities to promote your employer value. You may be missing out on what your team members love about working there. For nearly a decade, I have uncovered the undersold assets of small organizations. Meeting with hundreds of small businesses, I have discovered there are numerous lesser-known gems that seek to hire great team members.

Forbes highlighted organizations between 200 and 1,000 employees on a list of America’s Best Small Employers. “All employees have the opportunity to get to really know our students, which can directly impact our goal to provide students with a challenging and rewarding educational experience,” says Rhonda Franzen, Director of Human Resources at Casper College (No. 104 on the list) in Wyoming. There is a closer tie between leaders and their team members when there are fewer layers and players in the organizational hierarchy. That proximity helps leaders have a direct path to the pulse of the organization.

The Triangle Business Journal also features the Best Places to Work Awards annually. I scanned the winners’ websites and spotted bold value statements. Keen Decision Systems shared several including: “value teamwork first, speak candidly (and respectfully) and grow or die.” Abrigo states, “ We value our people and are stronger united.”

Many organizations state that their people are their greatest assets, but sometimes when I meet with their employees, I hear about misalignment. The employees may not receive feedback or have career development opportunities. They often feel like they are not part of a bigger purpose in their current roles. In these cases, having a listening program and implementing the appropriate changes will help you prepare for a submission to a Best Places to Work contest.

I encourage you and your leadership team to evaluate your culture, compensation, benefits, and policies and listen to your team’s input. The discovery will help to guide future enhancements and improve competitive positioning in the talent marketplace. Like many other organizations, you probably have a lot of the essential ingredients, but need to more boldly reveal your secret sauce!

 

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Headquarters
230 Hampton Woods Lane, Suite 101 Raleigh, NC 27607
Satellite Office
2929 Breezewood Ave. Suite 101, Fayetteville, NC. 28303
Where to find us
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