Reaping rewards: six key tips from America’s top employers

A culture of openness, valuing employees and juicy employee benefits set great employers apart from the rest. Analysis of Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For 2018 survey suggests key themes companies should adopt this year

The right workplace strategy can yield a huge return on investment for organisations, especially when it comes to productivity and talent attraction and retention. But get it wrong and it can have damaging repercussions for the business. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the right corporate culture, but there are common themes running through some leading companies in North America that we can learn from.

A roundup of 100 of the best companies to work for in the USA, according to Fortune magazine, demonstrates what the front-runners of the corporate world are doing to gain their place on the list. From finance to hospitality, the top companies have six key differentiators:

Generous rewards schemes

It will come as no surprise that cash-rich companies such as Safesforce and American Express should have the resources to reward their employees with substantial financial incentives, generous health packages, and wide-ranging amenities. But this method is not just reserved for large organisations – many of the companies on the list use incentives to motivate its employees. Frequent bonuses based on peer recommendations, free meals, team retreats and a workplace that provides a range of amenities are just a few ways companies have earned their position in the top 100.

Valuing employees

Talent attraction and retention remains a constant threat for competing employers. But it is not just big rewards and financial gain that keep employees loyal and engaged, it is the job itself. Many companies on the top 100 list take active steps to ensure their employees have roles that are fulfilling and provide a sense of purpose. This has either been expressed through a clear mission statement or a policy where employees can actively see the impact of their work. Boston Consulting Group even went as far as to invest US $100 million on a system to make work schedules more predictable in a 24/7 industry.

A culture of inclusivity and diversity

There is a strong business case for having diverse teams of employees and a culture of inclusivity. Diverse teams are proven to be more innovative, and companies such as Genentech, Capitol One and Hilton Hotels have earned their place on the top 100 list through their focus on inclusivity with workforces that include more minorities and women. With diversity woven into their company DNA, employees work in an environment where they are not only accepted but also appreciated.

Fluid communication

Great communication throughout the company starts and ends with leadership. As hierarchies are being dissolved in organisations, leadership has evolved into a facilitator role and an important stream of that is clear communication. Fintech mortgage lender Quicken Loans gained its spot in the top 15 companies for its transparency: the CEO hosts face-to-face meetings with employees where ‘no topic is off-limits’. KMPG has also been recognised for its company-wide communication; it created a news site that spans across more than 100 US locations and has drawn 2.7 million views since 2017.

Flexible working

Flexible working stems from a fundamental understanding that employees need a work-life balance to do their best work. While some organisations champion flexible schedules, others provide varied workplace design to facilitate different work styles. Global consultancy Deloitte allows employees to choose the pace of work to best fit them. Companies which place flexible working firmly on the map demonstrate a trust in their workforce, which in turn breeds employee loyalty.

Potential for employee growth

Investing in employee development is an effective way to gain loyalty and establish a sense of belonging in an organisation. Companies such as The Cheesecake Factory demonstrate potential for growth through internal promotions; more than 40 per cent of management positions were filled internally in 2017. Scholarships and development schemes can be established to help up-skill employees so they are ready to fulfil higher positions in the future.

These six prevailing themes are championed by companies that are ranked to be the best to work for by Fortune magazine. The investment of time, money and trust in the workforce often reaps even bigger rewards through productivity, creativity and loyalty to the company. The workforce is a company’s biggest asset, and they can no longer afford to be ignored.

See the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For 2018 here.
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