Here’s a bit of optimism to brighten your day: Great Place to Work just announced that not only do employees at America’s best small and medium-size workplaces say their companies are treating people fairly and making it easier to integrate work and personal lives, but the businesses are growing. The businesses on the list are hiring new staff nearly seven times faster than U.S. companies overall.
Michael C. Bush, CEO of Great Place to Work, said in a statement, “These companies are on the cutting edge of fair, more human-centered workplaces, and their strong business growth is the latest sign that a high-trust culture is a competitive advantage.”
Businesses are classified by size, not revenue. Small companies have fewer than 250 employees, and medium-size organizations have up to 999 employees. This year’s survey was sent to more than 88,000 employees at 450 companies. Great Place to Work tells us that two-thirds of a company’s score is based on the results of the Trust Index Employee Survey, sent to a random sample of staffers from each company. This survey asks questions about management’s credibility, overall job satisfaction, and camaraderie.
The other third of a company’s score is based on responses to the Culture Audit, which includes detailed questions about pay and benefit programs and a series of open-ended questions about hiring practices, methods of internal communication, training, recognition programs, and diversity efforts.
Intuitive Research ranked No. 1 as the best medium-size business two years in a row. The company got extremely high marks in several areas, including job security (98% believe management would only lay people off as a last resort) and work-life balance (98% believe that they are able to take time off when they need and they are encouraged to balance work and personal life).
Top 5 Best Medium-Size Workplaces in the U.S. For 2015
- Intuitive Research and Technology Corporation (#1 in 2014)
- Atlassian (#7 in 2014)
- ESL Federal Credit Union (#11 in 2014)
- 4imprint, Inc. (#10 in 2014)
- Squarespace (#3 in 2014)
Analysis of all the survey data shows that both work-life balance and fair treatment have improved somewhat over the past five years. Responses to the statement, “People are encouraged to balance their work life and their personal life,” have risen 2.8 percentage points to 89.4% in 2015 from 86.6% in 2011, according to the survey analysis. This is reflected in other research on this important issue.
Radio Flyer appears at the top spot on the list of best small businesses this year, after not ranking in 2014 and reaching No. 13 in 2013. Currently, the company boasts 100% scores for offering staff great challenges, atmosphere, communication, and bosses. “I truly come in each day excited to see what is in store and how we are going to improve ourselves now,” one employee reported. This employee also recalled the compassion and time off after losing a relative, and said, “No matter what is going on in your personal life, there is support and understanding everywhere you turn.”
Lack of engagement continues to be one of the biggest employment issues for companies of any size. No wonder measuring and boosting it is big business. Companies spend about $720 million a year on efforts to transform work from a chore to get a check, to a place where people really want to contribute.
One of the ways the businesses on these lists are tackling the engagement issue is by creating a friendly workplace, like they do at Radio Flyer. Although Americans are less likely to forge friendships at work than they have in the past, cultivating a culture of caring friendships can boost engagement and productivity. Research indicates that those we see every day have the potential to increase our happiness as much as earning $100,000 more per year does.