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The Keys to Becoming a “Best Company to Work For”

Is your company one of the best to work for? According to industry experts, that’s up to your employees.

Each year, a number of organizations on both the local and global level publish lists detailing the “Best Companies to Work For.” Organizations such as Glassdoor, the Boston Globe, Boston Business Journal, and Fortune Magazine all rely heavily on the opinions of employees to determine which companies will make it onto their lists.

More often than not, companies who make the cut boast exciting perks like free catered lunches, a game room, or even “Beer Fridays,” supporting the idea that perks are what makes a company one of the best to work for. However, as effective as perks may be at getting people in the door, it’s not long before the novelty fades and employees are left wanting more.

So, what do employees really think makes a company one of the best to work for?

According to Fortune Magazine’s main data source, The Great Place to Work Institute, there are five areas that employees consider to be most important when determining the quality of their workplace:

1.  Trust

Trust in one’s workplace lays the foundation for which strong working relationships can be built. When trust is absent from any given working relationship, it creates a stressful work environment and makes it difficult for employees to communicate openly and stay productive.

“When trust is present, people start to take ownership of their responsibilities, help one another out, speak highly of one another, communicate more often, and tend to be more productive,” says Betsy Allen Manning, a human behavior expert and TEDx speaker. “Trust provides a safe place for people to … reach their potential individually and as a team.”

2.  Pride

A sense of pride provides employees with the motivation needed to do their work well. When people are proud of the work they’re doing, they are more likely to approach their work with a greater sense of enthusiasm, resulting in higher levels of productivity.

According to Kelly Tobin, former Client Relationship Manager at The Great Place to Work Institute, “When [pride] is present at work, it inspires individuals and teams to achieve more, communicate better, and build upon each other’s strengths.”

3.  Respect

The term “respect” carries a number of meanings in the workplace, and for a company to be seen as one of the best to work for, they must understand each of these meanings and exhibit this knowledge to their employees.

The various meanings of “respect” include but are not limited to: making employees feel valued, promoting an inclusive environment, encouraging professional growth, respecting their right to take time off, and making sure they feel heard.

4.  Credibility

When a company communicates something to its employees, it is important that they mean what they say. If your company continuously fails to deliver on promises that are being made, your employees will eventually stop listening to what you have to say.

“When leaders in an organization understand the importance of effective trust-building communication and act accordingly, employees respond positively and see Management as credible,” says Laurel Smylie, Managing Partner at Four Letter Consulting LLC.

5.  Camaraderie

Having friends is part of what makes our personal lives so enjoyable. Therefore, it only makes sense that the same would be true of our professional lives.

According to Christine Riordan at the Harvard Business Review, “Employees report that when they have friends at work, their job is more fun, enjoyable, worthwhile, and satisfying.”

Gallup, a global performance-management consulting company, backed up this statement in their State of the American Workplace report, confirming that “close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50% and people with a best friend at work are seven times more likely to engage fully in their work.”

It’s simple: a great company to work for is a company whose culture centers around its people. Whether you are interested in going after the official title of “Best Company to Work For” or are just interested in gearing your company for success, employee feedback is an important element to consider.

By integrating the above values into your company’s culture, you will help to ensure that your company is attracting and retaining the talent it needs.