Category Archives: Great Place to Work Institute

Why Diverse Organizations Perform Better: Do We Still Need Evidence?

You’ve probably heard that organizations with a focus on diversity have stronger organizational cultures – they have happier and more productive employees, and are more socially ethical than other organizations. You might have also heard that organizations with a focus on diversity perform better financially than organizations that do not invest energy in diversity programs, or in fostering a diverse workplace. Why, exactly, is this the case though? McKinsey & Company’s 2014 report, “Why Diversity Matters” answers just this, looking at the reasons why organizations with a focus on diversity simply do better, financially and otherwise, shining some data driven light on, well, why diversity matters.

McKinsey’s report examines the relationship between the level of diversity (defined as a greater share of women and a more mixed ethnic/racial composition in the leadership of large companies) and company financial performance (measured as average EBIT 2010–2013). Their research is based on leadership demographics and financial data from hundreds of organizations and thousands of executives in the United Kingdom, Canada, Latin America, and the U.S, allowing for “…results that are statistically significant and…. the first [analysis] that we are aware of that measures how much the relationship between diversity and performance is worth in terms of increased profitability.” Analysis of the data collected from 366 companies disclosed a statistically significant connection between diversity and financial performance, with organizations in the top quartile for gender diversity 15% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry median and organizations in the top quartile for racial/ethnic diversity 30% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry median. This pattern also held true in reverse, with organizations in the bottom quartile for gender or racial/ethnic diversity more likely to fall below the performance of the top-quartile companies and organizations in the bottom quartile for both gender and ethnicity underperforming (not just “not performing” but lagging) in comparison with the other three quartiles.

Feb 17 2015 Poor Diversity Poor Performance

McKinsey’s research also noted a positive relationship between financial performance and diversity in leadership, although this varied by country, industry, and type of diversity (gender or ethnicity). The U.S, for example shows no statistically significant correlation between gender diversity and performance until women make up at least 22% of a senior executive team. Even once that point is reached, the relationship observed for US companies is still of relatively low impact: for every 10% increase in gender diversity there is an increase of 0.3% in EBIT margin. The UK boasts a much more significant relationship between gender diversity and performance, experiencing ten times the impact for their focus on gender diversity than U.S organizations (even after they’ve reached the 22% tipping point). The correlated benefit is an increase of 3.5% in EBIT for every 10% increase in gender diversity in the senior executive team (and 1.4% for the board). It is also interesting to note that while U.S. companies have made efforts in recent years to up the number of women in executive positions (progress is limited but measurable), the data show that less attention has been given to the attainment of racial and ethnic diversity.

Feb 17 2015 Women in Executive Roles

Above-median financial performance was achieved by a higher percentage of companies in the top quartile than the bottom quartile for ethnic diversity in all the countries and regions McKinsey investigated. The message that diverse organizations perform better is clear, but as we asked earlier, why? McKinsey & Company offers the following supported hypotheses that diversity helps to:

  •  Win the war for talent
  • Strengthen customer orientation
  • Increase employee satisfaction
  • Improve decision making
  • Enhance an organization’s image

In the war for talent, diversity increases not only an organization’s sourcing pool but attracts talent that has shown to place significant value on diversity (such as Millenials). Additionally, because groups targeted by diversity efforts are usually underrepresented, they are often great sources of desirable talent. McKinsey & Company’s report cites a recent study that found, on average, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) recruits tend to be more highly skilled and more likely to have advanced degrees. By focusing on diversity, organizations align themselves with an increasingly heterogeneous customer base, enabling stronger bonds with customers. Workplace diversity increases employee satisfaction and fosters positive attitudes and behaviors and creates better decision making through combining diverse groups of thinkers. These organizational aspects that diversity bolsters ultimately make up the foundation for organizations that perform better financially.

As the workforce becomes increasingly global, diversity is only going to increase in importance. Regulators in some European countries have already introduced diversity targets for boards, such as those set out in the UK Equality Act 2010. Despite the importance of diversity, many companies’ approaches are still very one-dimensional, opting for just a single diversity program to cover all aspects of diversity: racial/ethnic, gender, and sexual orientation. This may be why, on a large scale, companies often make progress in only one area of diversity.

Feb 17 2015 Gender and Ethnic Diversity Performance

McKinsey & Company’s research suggests that this one-dimensional approach to diversity results in a focus on a particular category rather than the opportunity as a whole. They advise that organizations should instead adopt tailored programs and make more targeted efforts within specific areas of diversity, believing that these will be necessary to make measurable progress and ensure relevance to business goals.

It does seem odd that we’re still making a statistical case for what everyone knows to be true:  diverse thought, experience, outlooks and cultures make for stronger solutions, more rapid innovation, more engaged employees and customers, and better all around performance. I guess more evidence doesn’t hurt.

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Filed under 100 Best Companies to Work For, Business Case, China Gorman, Company Culture, Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, Data Point Tuesday, Diversity, EBIT, Great Place to Work Institute, McKinsey, War for Talent

It’s all About: Trust, Honesty, and Transparency

Data Point TuesdayCompany cultures, the good, the bad, and – well in the interest of being nice we’ll leave it at that – have been the focus at Great Place to Work® for the last 25 years, since Robert Levering and Milton Moskowitz researched their book The 100 Best Workplaces in America. What their research revealed is that the key to creating a great workplace revolves not around the building of a certain set of benefits and practices, but through the building of high-quality relationships in the workplace, relationships characterized by trust, pride, and camaraderie. What we call a great company culture. As Erin Osterhaus, researcher for HR technology reviewer Software Advice, points out in her blog about a recent survey, the term “company culture” has seen an astronomical rise in use since 1980, due in part to publications like The 100 Best Workplaces in America, as well as companies’ recognition that culture has a direct impact on how happy, and healthy employees are– and, how well they perform. With the rise in attention to the topic of company culture, enter the adoption of roles created specifically to focus on company culture. As Osterhaus points out, Google, #1 on the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For List for the last three years, was one of the first companies to adopt such a position (Chief Culture Officer) in 2006.

company culture over timeConsidering all the research and data that surround the term “company culture” today, Software Advice surveyed 886 U.S. adults to learn how they define company culture, and to better understand what culture means to the group it impacts the most: employees and job seekers. What did they discover? Most survey takers described “company culture” as a value, belief, or habit of employees that worked at an organization, or the overall feeling of the environment at that company. The majority of respondents listed their ideal company culture as “casual or relaxed” followed by “family oriented,” “fun,” “friendly,” and “honest and transparent.” However, when asked which of these five attributes would most likely convince them to apply at company, respondents stated that “honesty and transparency” would be the biggest influencer.

So while “casual/relaxed” and “fun” ranked over honesty as the most common definition of an ideal company culture, the fact that “honesty and transparency” are the bigger influencers on whether a prospective candidate actually applies at a company highlights what we’ve known about company cultures all along… that trust and values matter most.

ideal company cultureSoftware Advice’s data prove once again that it is fostering trust and building honesty and transparency that ultimately create a sense of camaraderie amongst employees and the fun, family feel environments that respondents report as their “ideal company culture.” As Leslie Caccamese and Katie Popp state in Great Place to Work’s recent whitepaper, Five Lessons for Leaders as they Build a Great Workplace, “What people often think makes a great workplace isn’t actually what makes it so.” While great amenities like workout facilities, foosball tables, and 4 star catered meals may initially come to mind when people think “great company culture,” it’s ultimately evidence of trust-based interactions between leaders and their employees that Great Place to Work looks for when evaluating companies for our Best Companies to Work For lists in nearly 50 countries around the world.

I’ll leave you with another quote from our recent whitepaper: “…by all means, install slides and fi­reman poles; scatter about lava lamps and bean bag chairs. Bring in the manicurist and the barista, and cater to people’s pets. Just make sure these things aren’t happening in lieu of deeper, more substantial practices like involving employees in workplace decisions, keeping them informed of important issues, tending to their ongoing professional development, and sharing profi­ts fairly. These types of practices will go much further in helping employees feel that theirs is a great workplace.”

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Filed under 100 Best Companies to Work For, Business Success, China Gorman, Culture, Data Point Tuesday, Great Place to Work, Great Place to Work Institute, Great Rated!, Relationships, Trust

I want fair pay, a voice in decision-making and a competent boss. Is that too much to ask?

Data Point Tuesday
In previous posts I’ve discussed data about Millenials’ perceptions and expectations in the workplace, a hugely popular topic, which makes sense considering that this demographic cohort accounts for 77 million workers between the ages of 18 and 35 (according to FORTUNE). Here at Great Place To Work, we’ve recently released a “10 Great Work Places For Millennials List,” accessible on our employer review site Great Rated!, which identifies companies offering the best benefits and perks for this group. When it comes to Millennials, what companies snagged the top spots? Intuitive Research and Technology came in at number one on the list, followed by David Weekly Homes and Allied Wallet. You can check out the full list here for the full 10 company rankings and culture reviews.

The research conducted for this list of workplaces that stand out as exceptional for Millennial employees is highlighted, but also identified are the sorts of practices and programs that move the needle for these employees. When looking at workplace culture features that differed most between the top 10 Great Workplaces for Millennials and the 10 least-great Workplaces for Millennials, a few areas stood out. Survey data revealed “fair pay” as a very important feature of great workplaces for Millennials. There was a 37 percentage point difference between the top 10 companies for Millennials and bottom 10 companies based on responses to the statement, “I feel I receive a fair share of the profits made by this organization.” Millennials also place a high value on having a say in decisions at their organization. Our study recorded a 28 percentage point difference between the top 10 and bottom 10 companies on “Management involves people in decisions that affect their jobs or work environment.” Additionally, competent management is a highly valued feature for Millennials, with a 26-percentage point difference on “Management does a good job of assigning and coordinating people.”

The analysis also highlighted some surprising workplace features that don’t move the needle much for Millennials. One such feature is interesting considering it’s been such a hot-topic: work-life balance. There was just a 10-percentage point difference between the top 10 workplaces for Millennials and the bottom 10 on the question: “I am able to take time off from work when I think it’s necessary.” This statement was one of the 10 with the least amount of difference among all 58 survey statements. The response calls into question the attention that has been placed on Millennials’ desire for work-life balance. Has this dynamic been overblown? It’s possible, but perhaps it’s more likely that many employers have considerably improved programs and policies that promote work-life balance, making it a mute point for Millennial respondents.

Another two surprising work-place dynamics that were not greatly distinguishable between the top 10 workplaces for Millennials and bottom 10 workplaces were self-expression (with just a 10 percentage point difference on the statement: “I can be myself around here”) and friendly, welcoming workplaces (with an 8 percentage point difference on the statement “When you join the company, you are made to feel welcome”). Again, these percentages beg the question of whether the importance Millennials place on such dynamics has been hyped up, and are not necessarily an accurate reflection of Millennial expectations. Considering the top features that Millennials did identify as highly important though (fair pay, say in decisions, and competent management) it seems more likely that these aren’t necessarily features that Millennials don’t value, but features that companies have greatly improved versus features that are often problematic for companies.

Do these trends accurately reflect the workplace programs that are important to your Millennial employees?

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Filed under China Gorman, Data Point Tuesday, FORTUNE Magazine, Great Place to Work, Great Place to Work Institute, Great Rated!, Millennials

The Stress Test: Most Employers Fail

Data Point Tuesday
We all know that a stressful work environment can impact employees’ mental, physical, and emotional health, as well as impact their engagement and productivity, but a new study from Monster reveals just how many employees are saying no to “sticking it out” in stressful work environments, and seeking jobs elsewhere. Monster’s international “Workplace Stress” study surveyed nearly 1,000 job seekers on the Monster database via an online survey which ran from March 12, 2014 to March 18, 2014. The study revealed that 42% of US respondents have left a job due to an overly stressful environment, these respondents stating: “I have purposely changed jobs due to a stressful work environment.” An additional 35% have contemplated changing jobs due to a stressful work environment. 42% of people have purposely changed jobs because of stress! This seems like a frightening number of people and begs the question, what are U.S organizations doing to change such work environments? Monster’s study reports that 55% of their respondents experience very stressful lives, and 57% of people experience very stressful work environments –more than half of respondents. Comparably, only 3% of respondents report experiencing no stress in their work life.

On the international front, employees in France and the UK experience the most workplace stress, with 48% (a 6% increase from US respondents) reporting that they have left a job due to stress. Employees in India are least likely to leave a job due to stress, with only 19% of respondents reporting that they have ever left a job because it was too stressful.

What exactly is stressing out the workforce? Monster’s study found that the most commonly reported workplace stressors are: supervisor relationship (40%), amount of work (39%), work-life balance (34%), and coworker relationships (31%). The study also found that the 84% of respondents claim that their stressful job has impacted their personal lives, with 26% reporting sleepless nights, 24% reporting depression, 21% reporting family or relationship issues, and 19% reporting physical ailments. When respondents were asked what their office does to help alleviate stress in the workplace, 13% reported “extra time-off”, 11% reported the “ability to work from home”, and dishearteningly, 66% answered “nothing.”

Monster Job Changes Due to Stress
While many of the figures in this study may seem shockingly high, when we consider all the data that surrounds us about the amount of work/life balance challenges American’s face, the high percentage of workers leaving jobs due to stress makes a little more sense. However, though it might make more sense, it doesn’t mean pushing employees to their limits, and fostering stressful work environments, is right. In fact, at Great Place to Work we have 20 years of data proving that fostering a transparent, safe, and fun workplace culture creates an incredibly more satisfying and productive environment than a high-stress/high pressure one. Check it out!

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The best recruitment strategy? Being a Great Place to Work®!

Data Point Tuesday
A look at LinkedIn’s recently released “Talent Trends 2014” report provides some interesting data about what’s on the minds of today’s professional workforce. As the study confirms, we live in an age of unprecedented transparency: “More job opportunities are viewable online, and the available context – information on the company, its culture, and the team including the hiring manager – has never been richer.” LinkedIn’s platform itself proves this point, and this ever increasing transparency is certainly changing the landscape of talent acquisition. It asks to us to consider how the talent, people, are approaching and considering new careers. Perhaps one of the biggest changes has been a move towards proactively seeking the best talent for the position. LinkedIn’s 2014 report surveyed over 18,000 fully employed workers in 26 countries, to shed light on professional attitudes towards job seeking, job satisfaction and career evaluation.

The report dives into many areas of the professional workplace’s approach toward careers, one such area being the importance of talent brand to professionals. Globally, professionals agree that the most important factor in considering a new job is whether their prospective company is perceived as a great place to work or not. (And to be clear, LinkedIn’s definition of “great place to work” does not synch up completely with the Great Place to Work Institute’s definition.) When respondents of LinkedIn’s report were asked which of the following was most important if they were to consider a new job, 56% said “the company has a reputation as a great place to work”, while 20% said “the company has a reputation for great products and services”, 17% said “the company has a reputation for great people”, and 7% said “the company has a reputation for being prestigious.” When looking at countries where talent brand/being a great place to work is most (100%) and least (0%) important, the global average was 56%, with high outliers being Denmark at 62%, Brazil at 61%, and the U.S. at 60%. Low outliers included Japan at 39%, Turkey at 35%, and China at 33%.

Talent brand, which LinkedIn equates with being a great place to work, is clearly important to today’s labor pool when planning a career or a job change. This line of thought underscores why it’s more necessary than ever to communicate and share a corporate mission and values. People want their work to have meaning to them, to be “more than just a job.” They want to trust their leaders and have a sense of camaraderie or family with their co-workers. The majority of people surveyed in LinkedIn’s report (85% of active job seekers ad 90% of passive job seekers) responded that they are passionate about the work they do. Additionally, 85% of active and 91% of passive job seekers stated that they are constantly learning and growing at work, and 84% of active and passive job seekers reported that they are comfortable promoting themselves and their ideas at work.

Linkedin Talent Profile

The clear results of this data are that professionals today care deeply about their work, and want the companies they work for to support this passion. Being a great place to work is a strong factor in their search for new jobs and careers – and besides being a critical selection criteria, being a great place to work is an essential foundation for success in today’s talent acquisition and retention challenges.

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Streaming Live: 2014 Great Place to Work Conference®!

Data Point Tuesday

I’m going to deviate from my normal Data Point Tuesday this week to offer you an invitation to attend the streaming keynote sessions from our 2014 conference. The 2014 Great Place to Work® Annual Conference kicks off this Thursday in New Orleans, and we’re very excited to share some of the great learning opportunities of the conference virtually! This year’s conference has sold out with 1,150 registered attendees from more than 400 companies. 39 out of our 45 keynote speakers and concurrent session leaders are business leaders (20) and senior HR practitioners (19). This is the only national event that teaches, inspires and connects professionals across industries and functions to strengthen workplace culture through building trust.

We’re thrilled to bring a packed agenda with a wealth of engaging speakers to those attending in New Orleans this year. If you’re not attending however, don’t worry! We will have free live streaming of our conference keynote sessions here this Thursday and Friday (April 3rd and 4th). Our keynote speakers this year include Bill Emerson, CEO of Quicken Loans, Terri Kelly, President and CEO at W.L. Gore & Associates, Victoria B. Mars, Member, Board of Directors at Mars, Inc., Blake Nordstrom, President at Nordstrom Inc., and Jeffrey Pfeffer, Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University. We’re very excited to allow all of you to join us virtually and we hope you’ll take advantage of a great opportunity to take away actionable ideas and learn about best practices from experts at companies recognized for building trust, pride and camaraderie in the workplace! See you there!

Watch the 2014 Great Place to Work® Conference Keynotes Live Here

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Job Seekers: Look to Best Companies!

data point tuesday
I discussed a few posts ago how companies on the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For list are experiencing huge amounts of growth in headcount. That post focused on how these outstanding workplaces are combating growing pains and dealing with rapid expansion. Being ranked one of the best workplace cultures in the US certainly helps feed the cycle of growth, as job seekers apply in droves.

The good news for job seekers? The Best companies are hiring and they are hiring a lot! FORTUNE reports that at least 24 companies on this year’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list are planning to fill at least 1,000 (and for some, even more!) jobs in the coming year. From big tech companies like Google (ranked #1), Intel, and Cisco, to medical organizations like Houston Methodist, retail stores like Nordstrom, and markets like Whole Foods and Wegmans, the “we’re hiring” sign is posted out front.

What are these companies looking for in a new hire, and who is getting hired? At Great Place to Work, the research and analysis firm that produces the lists, we’ve pulled together some hiring statistics from this year’s Best Companies to provide a little perspective.  The 100 Best Companies last year filled 6,297 positions, on average, for both new and already existing positions. The average number of these positions filled internally was nearly 30%. The average number of new hires referred by current employees was 28%. This corroborates what we already assume, that internal referrals add significant weight to applications, so before all else, reach out to potential contacts! There can be big benefits for the person referring you as well, so don’t automatically assume people might view it as a hassle. The average maximum bonus paid for a single referral at best companies in the last 12 months was $3,595!

How to impress in an interview? According to recruiters from best companies that are hiring (via FORTUNE), top ways to impress include: being able to articulate your alignment with the company’s mission and values (and explain why they resonate with you), doing exceptional “homework” and truly understanding the business and key competitors going into an interview, being able to discuss how you plan to impact the company, and demonstrating passion, curiosity, and (a big one!) innovation.

For new college grads the numbers may seem a bit less optimistic, out of the average new hires in the last year (6,297) the average number of new graduates hired was 496, and the average percent of positions filled by college students at this year’s best companies is 9.9%. However, this shouldn’t discourage new graduates from applying, as they are automatically equipped with several highly valued skills beyond a basic degree. Examples I’ve touched on in previous blogs include that college students and Millennials are more likely to be passionate about social responsibility and attuned with an organization’s mission and values, be highly aware of technology and social media and able to quickly assimilate with a company’s use of such tools. No matter who you are, however, if you are looking to find a new job consider these stats, and check out this year’s FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For list– you may be very glad you did.

Best Companies Hiring

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Rapid Growth and Great Workplaces

Data Point Tuesday
The 2014 FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For list announcement is just days away and here at Great Place to Work we just can’t wait to share some of the awesome 100 Best Companies Trends from this year’s list! In true Data Point Tuesday fashion, I’ve compiled some noteworthy stats from our 2014 100 Best Companies Trends whitepaper to share with you, (the full trends report as well the Fortune 100 Best Companies list will be available here on Thursday) enjoy the sneak peek!

One of the most prominent trends we’ve seen with Best Companies this year is growth. For 2014 100 Best Companies with available revenue data, revenues in the last 24 months have risen an average of 22.2% and headcount is increasing to match that. The number of employees at the 2014 100 Best Companies increased by an average of 6.1% since 2012 and 15.4% since 2011 which, according to Current Employment Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is nearly five times the growth rate of U.S. companies overall in the same two-year period. This significant increase in headcount, while positive for companies, undoubtedly also raises concerns. During times of rapid growth organizations can experience a number of challenges including: inadequate skills and pipeline of leaders, loss of top talent and leaders, scaling and developing new systems, assimilating new employees both socially and process-wise, bringing new and longer tenure employees together, balancing cultural norms of past with the need to grow quickly and be a company of the future, and burn out and disaffection of existing employees. With such challenges in mind, how are these Best Companies managing such rapid growth, and, what exactly are they doing to avoid growing pains?

In 2013 Great Place to Work compiled a benchmark group of great workplaces experiencing high growth (+20% employee population) while appearing on the Best Companies list between 2011-2013. The group was used to study the relationship between rapid growth and the employee experience at the 100 Best and included several Best Companies, such as Chesapeake Energy, Hilcorp Energy Company, NetApp, Quicken Loans, Rackspace Hosting, salesforce.com, and World Wide Technology, Inc. Results of the study indicated an exceptionally high level of trust at Best Companies experiencing rapid growth, with 94% of employees at such companies stating that “taking everything into account, I would say this is a great place to work” vs. 91% of employees at Best Companies not experiencing such rapid growth. Additionally, employees at high growth Best Companies displayed a 4% higher average score on all trust index statements compared with employees at Best Companies not experiencing rapid growth. Trust index scores correspond to statements such as: “management is approachable, easy to talk with”, “this is a fun place to work”, “I feel I receive a fair share of the profits made at this organization”, and “people look forward to coming to work here”. It’s noteworthy too that these high trust index scores at Best Companies experiencing rapid growth come from both new hires as well as tenured employees (2+ years tenure).

Great Place to Work Chart
We can take away from this data a better understanding of how Best Companies are handling the growth trend. Marcus Erb, Associate Vice President of Research, and the leader of the 2013 study on the relationship between high growth and the employee experience at the 100 Best sums it up well: “Our research shows that as far as the employee experience is concerned, companies with a strong foundation of trust, a robust leadership pipeline, and a firm commitment to the company’s culture are far better at navigating the challenges that come along with growth and change.”

Make sure to check out the 2014 FORTUNE 100 Best Companies list on January 16th

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Good Ethics = Good Business

data point tuesday

We’ve officially kicked off the New Year –happy 2014! With the New Year comes the tradition of resolutions, which we hear a lot about in these first few weeks of the year. I’ll be honest, I’m not so big on New Year’s Resolutions, but I do think there’s value in paying close attention to the questions that resolutions stem from, like “what can I do to better my business/life/relationships?” I prefer to call it continuous self-improvement because it’s likely that many of these resolutions are things we should always be aiming to improve, and not just in the space of one defined year. In the spirit of the tradition though, I’ll pose this to you: if you were to make one resolution this year that would impact the lives of your employees and the financial performance of your organization, what would it be? My answer: be an ethical business. This is the most fundamental attribute of a great workplace, the foundation that must exist to build all other important parts of a great workplace. And while it might seem obvious thing to aim for, nearly HALF of all U.S. employees report witnessing unethical or illegal conduct in their workplace each year (according to a 2013 Effective Practice Guideline’s report from the SHRM Foundation) with the majority of these events going unreported and unaddressed!

SHRM-Foundation-EthicsBe an ethical workplace because this statistic is alarmingly high; be an ethical workplace because good ethics = good business. The SHRM Foundation’s report explains that an organization’s culture is the strongest predictor of how much market value that firm will create for every dollar invested by shareholders. In fact, the stock price growth of the 100 most ethical firms (based on the most widely used measure of ethical workplace culture) outperformed stock market and peer indices by nearly 300%. Looking from 1998-2011 the annualized returns of FORTUNE’S “100 Best Companies to Work For” in the United States were 11.06% versus 4.36% for the Russell 3000 and 3.38% for the S&P 500. There’s a flip side to this too though. If good ethics = good business, then bad ethics = bad business, and in a BIG way. More than 50% of the largest corporate bankruptcies have happened due to unethical business practices. And what was the cost of these bankruptcies to owners and the economy? $1.228 trillion, or, as the EPG reveals, nearly 10% of the U.S gross domestic product in 2011!

Now, I don’t disregard that many of the statistics we see on a daily basis fall into a kind of grey area. It’s likely we’re aware of the many variables that affect their legitimacy, like intent of the company producing the report or maybe the lack of a wide enough demographic representation, and so we use them more as guiding than supporting evidence. The statistics on ethical business though, seem pretty black and white to me.

I’ll say it one more time. Be an ethical workplace. Be an ethical workplace because the statistic that almost 50% of employees witness unethical behavior each year is alarmingly high. Be an ethical workplace because good ethics = good business. Be an ethical workplace because it’s a New Year and it’s a resolution to always have; but most importantly, be an ethical business because it’s the right thing to do.

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Employee Recognition

Data Point Tuesday

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Employee recognition is an important form of positive feedback (who doesn’t love being recognized for their efforts after all?!) and a 2013 study by Globoforce gives us even more reason to institute this type of feedback in our organizations. The study examines the growing intersection between recognition and employee performance and has some noteworthy points. Where recognition is concerned, perhaps the most important point made is that recognition directly impacts business results. Out of 708 randomly-selected fully employed persons in the United States (aged 18 or older) who are employed at organizations with a staff size of 500 or more employees,  those who were recognized with values-based recognition reported a positive change in their productivity. Additionally, 49% of respondents who had experienced values-based recognition indicated a positive change in relationships, 43% indicated a positive change in their customer service efforts, and 82% stated that being recognized for efforts at work motivated them in their job.

These statistics reinforce the value and importance of recognizing employees, but what I found particularly interesting and a less obvious benefit of employee recognition was how the ability to give vs. receive recognition affected employees. The study found that employees who are empowered to recognize other employees at their organizations were twice as likely to identify themselves as highly engaged; highlighting that value should be placed on allowing employees to give recognition as much as it is placed on making sure employees receive recognition. Another interesting and less obvious result of employee recognition is the link between recognition and alignment with organizational culture and values. Of respondents surveyed, 48% indicated that receiving recognition when they did something right served to align them with their organization’s values and culture. As I discussed in another recent post, employees who feel strongly aligned with company values and mission are more satisfied with and likely to remain at a job, so this relationship between values and employee recognition is a valuable one to explore.

globoforce

Employee recognition can also influence employees’ perception of performance reviews. Globoforce’s study found that 76% of respondents thought recognition data would make reviews better, and 75% of respondents who had been recognized recently stated that they enjoyed their reviews. We can attribute these changes in perception toward reviews to the attributes like engagement and connection with company values, but also to another idea. As the study points out, peer and managerial recognition act as a form of social crowdsourcing, a familiar and comfortable concept for employees who most likely use crowdsourcing programs like Yelp or Amazon regularly. 80% of respondents felt that crowd sourced (manager plus crowd sourced peer feedback) to be more accurate. With employee recognition serving as a form of crowd sourced feedback it makes sense then that employees who were recently recognized felt more comfortable in reviews. But why does it matter if employees enjoy their reviews? The research shows that employees who are satisfied with reviews are more highly engaged, less susceptible to job poaching, and more satisfied with their job.

This data show that creating a system that gives employees feedback from peers as well as from managers – feedback that is values-based – is the gift that keeps on giving. To employee engagement, to higher retention, to financial performance. Who doesn’t want that gift under the tree on Wednesday?

What does employee recognition look like in your organization? Do you have recognition programs in place? Do you encourage employees to recognize others as well as for managers and supervisors to give recognition? Use this data as a catalyst to examine how recognition plays a role in your business. Ramping up the positive feedback could just be the key to a healthy domino effect, creating employees that are more engaged, more productive, more connected to company values, and more satisfied with their reviews.

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