What makes an organization a “best place to work?” Check out these common practices of companies that are frequently recognized among job seekers, consumers, industry analysts and – not least of all – their own employees for being great places to work.
- They’re not afraid to relinquish a little control. Despite reports that over half of employers still ban social networking at work, companies who’ve embraced it have found tremendous reward in enabling employees to use social media. Zappos was one of the first companies to embrace social media, giving employees the freedom to use Twitter. The strategy has worked well for the online shoe retailer: By enabling employees to talk freely about their jobs, new products, or other interesting aspects of company life, they’ve effectively made their employees into brand advocates, and created buzz about being a great place to work. More recently, Whole Foods has taken a similar approach to social media, believing that letting individual employees’ personalities shine through is essential to for social media to work well and engage people.
- They embrace new media as a recruiting tool. Staffing firm Kelly Services, a 2008 Best Place to Work in Western Pa., created a virtual community in Second Life to provide job seekers with an interactive experience to see what it’s like to work for Kelly. It has also helped to create buzz about Kelly and differentiate the firm from its competitors. For much the same reason, staffing firm Spherion decided to leverage the current popularity of viral video when it created its Web series, “The Temp Life.” Seems to be working: the 17-episode series is clearly resonating with audiences, with over 1 million views to date.
- They embrace new media as an engagement tool. IBM did it with Beehive. Best Buy did it with Blue Shirt Nation. Now, companies of every size are utilizing online social communities for internal purposes - engaging employees and keeping them informed of important company news, events and projects. Over 50,000 companies worldwide, including Fox and Adobe use microblogging site Yammer, while companies like Starbucks and Pepsico have found success with cfactor’s “enterprise social networking” solution.
- They think outside the Facebooks. Overwhelmed by the sheer volume of users on Facebook, Twitter and other social media giants? Think “niche.” That’s what Seattle-based Tableau Software did recently when it needed a Web developer with extensive knowledge of Drupal: the company’s recruiters began surfing social networking sites that catered to Drupal enthusiasts, where they eventually found their new hire.
- They ask for employee feedback (and actually listen to it). Feedback from Aetna’s employee surveys – administered regularly to enable employees to voice their thoughts about how the company is doing and where there is room for improvement – led to the establishment of Aetna’s current recognition program, The Aetna Way Excellence Awards, according to CEO Ronald Williams in an interview for our Leadership Series. Leadership recognized that employees wanted more company-wide recognition events, so they delivered. “That whole program came about as a result of employees’ suggestions that came through the survey,” Williams said.
- They work in partnership with Human Resources. “People decisions are some of the most important decisions I make, so I make those decisions in collaboration with my HR partners,” says Stryker CEO Steve MacMillan in a recent interview with CareerBuilder. “Responsibility for our people may be a human resources function, but we all manage it together.” It’s no accident that Stryker is a three-time winner of the “Gallup Great Place to Work Award,” in addition to other best place to work honors.
- They actively encourage learning and development. Smart companies know the power of providing opportunities for professional development and personal growth in helping to retain top talent. Spectrum Health does both: The company’s relationship with University of Michigan provides opportunities for leadership members to gain experience in project-based work. And its EXCEL Professional Development Model program recognizes and provides monetary awards for nursing staff for academic and professional accomplishments, as well as community service.
What about you? What particular practices make your organization a best place to work?Related
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