Best places to work in 2024.

What the Best Places to Work Have in Common (And How to Become One)

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Businesses recognized as “best places to work” gain a big advantage in recruiting, are generally more successful at retention, and enhance their brand image. What do these organizations have in common? And what practical steps can your business take to join that elite club?

This post will outline the common characteristics, and specifically the role that professional development and team building activities play in supporting those qualities. Find out why the best places to work are often also the best at team building.

What Are the Best Places to Work?

Various publications—including Fortune, Forbes, and Inc. magazine—produce annual lists of the best places to work based primarily on employee surveys. The Business Journals produce city-specific lists for the largest metro areas. There’s even a separate list of Best Places to Work in the Federal Government.

But the most famous and prestigious list is the yearly Best Places to Work list compiled by job search and career community site Glassdoor. The list is based on thousands of employee reviews, “ranking workplace factors such as diversity and inclusion, compensations and benefits, culture and values, work-life balance, and more.”

Though its list certainly includes tech companies (ServiceNow, VMware, and Adobe are all near the top), the Glassdoor list is more diverse and less tech-heavy than most others: it encompasses firms in financial services (Fidelity, Experian); travel (Delta); manufacturing (Cummins); consumer products (Nike); and even a winery (E&J Gallo).

Why Does Being a Best Place to Work Matter?

Being named to one of these lists means more than just nice publicity and a logo to show off on their websites. It has tangible business value.

According to London-based Best Place to Work Ltd., companies certified as best places to work achieve:

  • 40% more job applications per opening than market averages;
  • 35% lower cost per hire;
  • 26% higher retention rate; and
  • 12% greater overall business performance.

According to the Great Place to Work® Institute, certified companies:

  • Generate 550% faster revenue growth;
  • See 6% better stock performance;
  • Are 15 times more likely to be chosen by job seekers; and
  • Achieve 50% higher employee retention.

The bottom line? Happy employees create happy customers, making this an honor with real business benefits.

What Makes a Company a Best Place to Work?

The companies that top these lists typically have a number of characteristics in common. Their pay and benefits packages are competitive, though as recruiting software developer Workable notes, “money alone can’t buy happiness at work.”

The best places to work often offer flexibility in work arrangements, programs that support employee well-being, open and transparent communication, and recognition programs as part of positive feedback.

But another key commonality among the best places to work is their investment in team building and professional development programs. Best Corporate Events has engaged with 82 of the 100 best workplaces on the Glassdoor list and delivered programs for nearly half of those companies in recent times. And our company is rated a 5-star employer on Glassdoor.

How Does Team Building Contribute to Creating a Best Place to Work?

In addition to helping foster open communication and develop healthy workplace relationships, professional development and team building activities support other pillars of the best workplaces.

Strong company culture

Successful companies nurture a positive and inclusive culture that values diversity, collaboration, employee well-being, and shared values. One of the key benefits of team building is that it helps develop a strong organizational culture—which reinforces the mission and values of the company, encourages a sense of belonging, and brings out the best in people.

Career development opportunities

Providing opportunities for professional growth and development is crucial. Team building activities enhance interpersonal and problem-solving skills, while professional development and training workshops take it up a notch through programs such as Conflict Resolution Training, Igniting Team Performance®, and Presentation Skills Training.

Beyond the practical benefits of these programs, when employees see their leadership making investments in improving their skills, it increases their appreciation of the company as a great place to work.

Social responsibility

Many top employers are socially responsible and actively contribute to their communities. This commitment to making a positive impact through a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program can both increase employee loyalty and be attractive to prospective employees.

As we noted in a previous post here on actions enterprises need to take to be successful with CSR initiatives, “One of the most effective and memorable ways (to give back to their local communities) is through charitable CSR team building programs.”

Beyond incorporating the core pillars of team building (improved communication, interpersonal relations, engagement, and fun), CSR team building activities create a powerful shared emotional experience for the employees involved, further reinforcing their view of their organization as a great place to work.

Effective leadership

Supportive, inclusive, approachable management that values open communication and provides guidance rather than micromanaging contributes to a positive work environment. You’re unlikely to find bad leadership in the best places to work.

Leadership and people management skills don’t come naturally to everyone, though. That’s why the best places to work understand the value of leadership training for employees at all levels and invest in professional development courses like Developing Emerging Leaders, Emotional Intelligence Training, Leading Virtual Teams, and the Manager’s Guide to Business Coaching.

Final Thoughts on How to Become One of the Best Places to Work

Every year, companies compete to be named to (at least) one of the “best places to work” lists published by major business publications and recruiting sites. It’s no wonder why: the companies on these lists enjoy lower recruiting costs, higher employee retention, and even improved business performance.

The best places to work have several qualities in common, including competitive compensation and benefits, flexible work arrangements, and both formal and informal employee recognition programs.

To join that elite club, companies need to keep those factors in mind. But it’s also highly advisable to invest in team building and professional development programs, which support four other key traits of the best places to work: a strong company culture; opportunities for career advancement; a commitment to social responsibility; and effective, inclusive leadership.

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