Category Archives: Great Rated!

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