HR Administration

Workforce 100: A Best Workplace Takes Hard Work

By Kirsten Davidson

May. 23, 2016

To give readers a deeper dive into what companies are doing to create a cool culture,Workforce asked Glassdoor Inc. to dig into its data to provide insight into what common traits employers should look to emulate to become better workplaces themselves.


What do companies like Facebook Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc. and Nike Inc. have in common? These companies all share one key attribute: People love working there. They have all been featured on Glassdoor Inc.’s Best Places to Work list, based entirely on employee feedback, and they all appear on this year’s Workforce 100 list as well for good reason. Here are seven things great employers have in common.

To see the 2016 Workforce 100 rankings, click here.

7 Common Traits of a Best Place to Work 

Glassdoor Logo June 20161. Mission and values matter. A well-articulated mission gives employees a sense of purpose and motivates them to come to work every day. Research by Josh Bersin, principal at Bersin by Deloitte, shows that mission-driven companies have 30 percent higher levels of innovation and 40 percent higher levels of retention, and they tend to be first or second in their market segment. Does your company have a clearly defined mission? Once it has one, use it to cultivate company values, which dictates workplace culture.

2. Invest in culture. Top-performing companies tend to have high marks for culture as well as overall experience. Glassdoor economic research shows a positive company culture accounts for nearly 25 percent of employee satisfaction. Career opportunities come in second at 22 percent and strong senior leadership third at 16 percent. Unfortunately, culture isn’t something one entity can create. If you’re trying to improve company culture, make sure to incorporate feedback from across your organization.

3. Put people first. If culture is all about the group mentality that makes an organization great, a focus on people is about empowering individual employees. A people-focused organization helps its employees grow to become their best. Putting people first means giving credit where credit is due, saying thank you and encouraging employees to bring their whole selves to work.

4. Embrace transparency. Making any top-company list doesn’t mean being perfect. This transparency is reflected in management’s approach, and in the companies’ willingness to engage on job sites by completing a robust profile and responding to reviews. In a Glassdoor survey from January, nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of users said that their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review. The changing business landscape requires companies to get involved in the conversation and embrace transparency. Make sure key departments understand what is expected of them from a communications perspective.

5. Believe in career opportunities. Top companies offer great career advancement opportunities. The average employee rating for career advancement of all Glassdoor-rated companies is 3.0, but Best Places to Work winners scored an average of 3.9. How can you ensure all employees have access to the best opportunities for career growth? Instigate employee and manager training programs, schedule weekly employee-manager feedback loops and regular reviews, create employee recognition programs and promote people from within.

6. Promote strong leaders. Data prove what everyone knows intuitively: No one wants to work for a jerk. The quality of upper management makes a statistically significant effect on whether a company is a good place to work; furthermore, employees rate senior leaders most highly when they set a positive tone for the company’s culture and values. In fact, some of the lowest-ranked companies on Glassdoor have one thing in common: many complaints about tone-deaf, negative and uninspiring leaders. Look to hire leaders who are smart, visionary and compassionate, and give them opportunities to grow.

7. Understand it’s not all about pay. We know that pay tops the charts when it comes to getting a candidate in the door, but it’s not the most important factor to keeping and engaging your employees. A recent study by Glassdoor Chief Economist Andrew Chamberlain found salary does have a statistically significant effect on job satisfaction, but it’s quite small. In fact, it’s toward the bottom. The most important factors influencing satisfaction are culture and values, career-advancement opportunities and the opinion of senior leadership. So make sure employees are paid fairly, but focus on cultivating culture and opportunities to foster long-term satisfaction.

Becoming a Workforce 100 or Best Place to Work company doesn’t happen overnight. By applying these lessons, your employees will feel more embraced and excited to come to work every day, which is the first step in becoming a top workplace.

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