Camaraderie Prevails Despite Non-Traditional Schedules at These Great Rated! Restaurants
To outsiders, weekend shifts and evening rotations might seem like a tough challenge for companies trying to create a cohesive team. But for select employers in the hospitality business, non-traditional hours pose few roadblocks to a culture where employees feel invested in their jobs and in each other.

At Darden Restaurants, for example, nearly nine in ten say their workplace is consistently friendly. Even with locations spread across the country and many employees working different shifts within individual restaurants, roughly half the workforce pitches in a bit of each paycheck to the Darden Dimes fund that's provided more than $16.5 million to fellow employees in need. Additionally, 83 percent of team members surveyed by Great Rated! say they are proud of the ways their company gives back to the community, including paid volunteer time for employees, grants to nonprofits and local service projects. Other programs that help balance the workplace demands of Darden restaurants like Olive Garden include food discounts, weekly paychecks and a degree of flexibility.

"Managers are very accommodating with schedules. This makes life a lot easier if you ever have emergencies," one employee says. "Everyone treats you like family. This makes work less of a burden and more exciting."

Organizational pride also runs high at Brinker International. Ninety-seven percent of employees say they are proud to tell others they work for Brinker restaurants like Chili's and Maggiano's Little Italy. The company helps cultivate a sense of ownership among its workforce by sending 80 general managers from its top-performing restaurants to a resort for five days, while lower-level managers get bonuses and the company throws parties for their hourly employees. Companywide, salaried team members are eligible for bonuses and profit sharing each year. Plus, team members describe a social atmosphere encouraged by group outings and incentives like gift cards.

"We work very hard to ensure our restaurants have everything they need to provide a great dining experience, and when the work is done we always take time to celebrate and connect with our co-workers," one employee says.

The Cheesecake Factory also seeks out creative ways to help teams socialize and interact outside their day-to-day responsibilities. Individual locations hold prize drawings, host Easter brunch for employees' families and set up Iron Chef-style cooking competitions. Team members post cards calling out co-workers for a job well done on bulletin boards, often earning those individuals gift cards and tickets to sporting events. The company also calls attention to its accomplishments as an employer. Like Darden, a badge on The Cheesecake Factory's careers page attests to its place on Fortune magazine's list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America. And like Brinker, the company advertises its Great Rated! designation through social media. Research shows that about 45 percent of job seekers investigate potential employers before applying, making it all the more important to provide a behind-the-scenes picture of how the organization supports its people. What's more, a reputation for treating employees well engenders trust among customers.

The Cheesecake Factory also sets itself apart from many in the hospitality industry by offering frequent in-person and online training, including courses administered on tablets in each restaurant. All told, this averages 151 hours of training annually for part-time employees and 327 hours annually for those working full time. As is the case at other outstanding companies, the seven-day-a-week challenges in the hospitality industry are no match for a restaurant employer committed to creating a positive place to work each day.

As one Cheesecake Factory team member puts it, "My work schedule is flexible. My managers are friendly with all the personnel. And my co-workers are cooperative. I feel as part of a family."

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Be sure your talent acquisition teams know how Great Rated! helps support their recruiting efforts! See the best practices examples employers are using to promote their workplace culture in this recorded webinar with Great Rated! CEO Kim Peters and Great Place to Work’s Chris Culkin.

Think about the manufacturing industry, and you may imagine hard-helmeted employees on assembly lines, working at all hours, in union shops, with poor or antagonistic relationships with bosses.

But that old-school version of industrial production doesn’t apply at the best workplaces in the manufacturing field.

They may have unionized workers and non-traditional hours, but great workplaces in production industries have built great cultures defined by high levels of trust between staff and management. Employees at these companies—even those working evening or weekend shifts—also typically enjoy the freedom to express ideas, generous professional development and strong camaraderie with their co-workers.

Consider food giant General Mills. The maker of Cheerios, Betty Crocker cake mixes and Gold Medal flour has cooked up a culture brimming over with esprit de corp. Fully 93 percent of General Mills employees describe their working environment as consistently friendly, while 84 percent call it caring. Almost eight out of 10 employees describe their leaders as approachable and easy to talk with. Employees have the opportunity to sit down with their managers, discuss their aspirations and create their own individual development plans for achieving professional and personal goals And each team, function, plant and division arranges celebrations and social events, where employees and their families celebrate milestones and company successes.

“General Mills is a large company with a family atmosphere,” one employee told us. “When an employee is faced with a family illness, everyone top down is supportive to provide resources, assistance and support, creating both flexibility and openness to take time off if needed. General Mills truly stands behind family first.”

Another food products titan, Mars, also has fostered a high-trust, collegial culture among staffers who whip up Snickers bars, M&M’s and pet care products. Departments at a Mars plant in Hackettstown, New Jersey, compete in a volleyball tournament and tug-of-war as part of a summer celebration. One department at the same facility holds monthly potluck luncheons where people swap recipes and socialize. On top of thecamaraderie staffers take great pride in the iconic Mars brands, have significant workplace flexibility and enjoy generous benefits. For example, the company’s large manufacturing plants have on-site health centers. A nurse routinely visits the sites and monitors workers for hearing loss and other risks associated with working in a factory.

These ingredients combine to make for a workplace that leaves a good taste in your mouth. In fact, 85 percent of employees working in Mars manufacturing plants say the company is a great workplace.

"Associates are not just nameless, faceless resources,” one Mars worker says. “They are unique, thinking, driving forces, and each one is important to the success of the business."

Both General Mills and Mars have earned spots on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list. But other manufacturing firms beyond this list also are working to produce great workplaces.

Take Nestle Purina PetCare. The maker of pet food and treats treats its own staff with care. The company has a flex-time policy to support those who commute long distances, an “Employee Assistance Program” provides free, confidential counseling to help with personal or family problems, and staffers at the St. Louis campus have access to a subsidized daycare across the street. In addition, employees are eligible for sabbaticals, extended breaks to pursue educational, political, community or personal interests after each 10-year milestone.

In Nestle Purina PetCare’s Great Rated! review, employees highlight the strengths that stand out for them. Says one employee of his overall experience: “You are treated with respect by the people you work with. Management at this facility is first class. They take safety very seriously.”

Nestle helps its employees’ message stand out among other reviews by increasing their visibility on the site through featured placement on the home page, reducing the potential distraction of competitive ads on their own page, and exercising control over the job listing experience attached to their review so that job seekers who have read about their culture come to them directly and can search and find the particular job they are interested in.

Moving from pet food to fine wine, consider Wente Family Estates. Wente is a winery, restaurant and golf course facility east of the San Francisco Bay Area. And its workers savor the family flavor of Wente’s culture. For example, Wente pays 80 percent of the health care premiums for eligible employees and their families. Wente’s "Nth Degree" program recognizes and rewards employees who go above and beyond. Winners are announced semi-annually at the company's town hall meetings and receive a cash reward. There also are barbecues held before and after the annual grape harvest, as well as end-of-year celebrations and luncheons.

“The family that owns the company is wonderful. Wente is the best company I have ever worked for, and I believe that it starts with outstanding ownership,” says one Wente staffer. “We have a great team, which makes it a pleasure coming to work.”

So let go of those outdated ideas about manufacturing jobs. Even the head gear worn by production workers might surprise you. At Wente, you may find employees wearing golf hats rather than hard helmets: staffers get discounted rounds on the Greg Norman-designed golf course.

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Be sure your talent acquisition teams know how Great Rated! helps support their recruiting efforts! See the best practices examples employers are using to promote their workplace culture in this recorded webinar with Great Rated! CEO Kim Peters and Great Place to Work’s Chris Culkin.

Many small and medium-size firms boast high-trust work environments that are a strong lure to job seekers. When these Davids wield their culture weapon smartly, they can beat out the Goliaths for great candidates. The trick is to know and cultivate your strengths, be transparent about what you have to offer, and take every opportunity you can to expose the behind-the-scenes of your workplace. While smaller workplaces may not have the same brand recognition as larger organizations, the levels of responsibility, independence and team connection they offer make a really compelling package for many candidates.

Consider home furnishings retailer Room & Board. Nine in 10 employees say managers trust them to carry out their responsibilities without micromanaging them. And the firm gives staff great latitude to set their own work priorities. “Each staff member works on goals and challenges that are meaningful to them,” one Room & Board employee told us. “We meet with management three times a year to talk about progress and opportunity. I find it very refreshing in that it is staff-member-driven.

Modest-sized firm also frequently have great camaraderie. Take Tapestry Technologies, a small technology services provider based in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The 55-person firm promotes esprit de corp through activities such as monthly team-building luncheons, annual corporate picnics, holiday parties and charitable golf tournaments. “Working for Tapestry provides a sense of working for family,” says one staffer. “You can talk to anyone about anything and not worry about being judged.

In addition, many compact companies are overflowing with feelings of honor and meaning. At baseball equipment retailer Pro Athlete, for example, 98 percent of staffers are proud to tell others they work there. And 88 percent say their work at Pro Athlete is more than just a job: The chance to make it easier for people to live healthy lives provides special meaning.

When Pro Athlete was named one of Great Rated!’s 20 Great Places in Retail – one of a series of industry rankings Great Rated! is releasing with Fortune.com -- the company made sure to highlight this honor on Twitter. Tapping into employees’ pride in such awards increases the potential of LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter content to go viral and reach people throughout employees’ professional networks. In this way, the combination of social media with Great Rated! can be big for small firms.

Our company (@proathleteinc) has been recognized by @GreatRated as one of the 20 Great Workplaces in Retail! http://t.co/bARgAgvBZN
— JustBats (@JustBats) November 20, 2014

Generally, more-modest size companies benefit from exposing their workplace cultures in the competition for talent. Revealing what employees say about a small workplace can help level the playing field with larger firms, as candidates hungry for information get the inside story and can feel more comfortable choosing an employer that isn’t a household name.

So do not fear, Davids of the business world. Goliath is vulnerable. Highlight your culture as a way to stand tall in the battle for great talent.

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Be sure your talent acquisition teams know how Great Rated! helps support their recruiting efforts! See the best practices examples employers are using to promote their workplace culture in this recorded webinar with Great Rated! CEO Kim Peters and Great Place to Work’s Chris Culkin.

Three Ideas Managers Can Implement Without Waiting for Permission

Of all the excuses for not becoming a great workplace, lack of leadership buy-in is the most formidable. But before you give up your dream of a great workplace, consider that your leaders may not see the value of a great workplace. If this is the case, then now is the time to use your powers of persuasion to share with them how research has proven that great workplace practices increase productivity and profitability, and reduces turnover.

If reasoning with leaders does not work, you can always create a great workplace in your department, and in time those same leaders who “didn’t get it” will most likely be clamoring for you to help them replicate your results throughout the rest of the company.

1. Use Your Resources and Authority
While budgets and buy-in are nice if you can get them, they aren’t essential to your mission. All you really need is the desire and ability to develop trust-based relationships with your employees. As you reach out to them to build trust, pride and camaraderie in the workplace, you’ll find they will do the same. Stay focused on those things that you can influence, and in time, your sphere of influence will increase and open doors that were once closed.

2. Handle Tough Mandates in a way that Builds Trust
Even if you work hard to make people a priority in your group, sometimes decisions passed down from leaders (i.e. layoffs, budget cuts and restructures) won’t align with that priority. When these things happen, the best leaders do the following:

  • Be authentic, honest and forthright with your employees about what has to be done.
  • Do not sugarcoat tough tasks because it dismisses the feelings of employees and impedes trust.
  • Use adversity as a catalyst to bond with your people and work together to develop solutions.
  • Listen to and support your team throughout the process.

3. Create a Great Department
In every organization there are departments, divisions and locations where employees enjoy a great workplace experience. These little pockets of greatness do not happen on their own, but are carefully cultivated by managers who persist against all odds. You can be that manager. To get started, try adopting the practices listed below that these managers have in common.

  • Create a strong sense of identity in your department.
  • Adopt a healthy mindset that treats cognitive obstacles as issues to be overcome.
  • Use whatever power and position you have to build trust, pride and camaraderie.
  • Lead by example and use your influence to inspire employees.

By starting small and focusing on areas that are within your control, your efforts toward greatness may just change some minds in the upper reaches of your company.

Download the No Excuses! Whitepaper to learn more about how any manager can overcome the most common challenges to building a great workplace.

Jennifer Robin, Ph.D., is a Research Fellow, former Senior Consultant with Great Place to Work® Institute, and co-author of No Excuses: How You Can Turn Any Workplace Into a Great One and The Great Workplace: How to Build It, How to Keep It, and Why It Matters.

It’s an issue that organizations seem consistently faced with today: a lack of skilled workers that can further their growth, success, and ability to compete with competitors. This “skills gap” is explained by the U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation | Center for Education and Workforce’snew report, as a result of education and workforce systems in the U.S that are failing to keep pace with the changing needs of the economy. So how do we remedy this talent shortage and close the skills gap? This is a hot topic among organization leaders and management, and USCCF’s report offers an interesting strategy that, while different, may be an actionable way for organizations and institutions to start remedying this challenge. The strategy proposes to apply a supply chain management approach to talent, leveraging lessons learned from innovations in supply chain management and engaging employers to expand leadership roles, acting as “end-use customers” of education and workforce systems. USCCF’s approach, dubbed talent pipeline management, is expected to provide more effective transitions for students into the workforce and improved career advancement for current workers. Talent pipeline management foresees a demand-drive approach to closing the skills gap. This approach is intended to create and share value among all partners in the talent supply chain. USCCF’s report states that 92% of executives believe there is a serious gap in workforce skills, and nearly 50% are struggling to fill jobs. If left unaddressed, they hypothesize that the skills gap could cause more than 5 million positions to go unfilled by 2020, an issue likely to be exacerbated by increasing retirements and a shrinking workforce. Employers, however, have substantial resources they can leverage to engage this demand driven system. Employers invest upwards of $486 billion each year on training that is almost exclusively focused on upgrading the skills of their current employees.

Investment in Workforce Education and Training

USCCF points to a supply chain management approach to talent recruitment and development to help organizations stay competitive in today’s economy, explaining that, “The conditions driving that perspective—such as growing business uncertainty and longer lead times to fill positions—are similar to the challenges that led to innovations in supply chain management”.

Three key foundational principles are identified as forming the basis of a demand-driven system, and provide the framework for the “talent management pipeline”:

  1. Employers Drive Value Creation—Employers play a new leadership role as the end-customer in closing the skills gap for those jobs most critical to their competitiveness.

  2. Employers Organize and Manage Scalable Network Partnerships—Employers organize and manage flexible and responsive talent pipelines in partnership with their preferred education and workforce providers.

  3. Employer Measures and Incentives Drive Performance—Employers work collaboratively with their partners to develop measures and incentives designed to reinforce and improve performance across all partners.

For employers to be successful in this strategy for talent acquisition and development, they must link their talent strategy to their business strategy:

Identifying Core Capabilities

Each capability may require a different sourcing method, and USCCF’s report urges organizations to move away from talent acquisition strategies of the past like “spot marketing” through job posting and screening:

Talent Pipeline Strategies

Once organizations have developed talent pipeline strategies, they should decide what can be done in-house and what should be done through external partners:

Simple vs. Extended Value Chains

Once a talent pipeline network and demand planning system is in place, organizations must measure performance the of this system based on whether they are meeting the needs of the end-customer and creating value across the full network of partners, looking at factors such as time, cost, and quality across all internal units as well as education and workforce partners. Organizations can additionally support their leading providers through incentives (such as work-based learning opportunities, performance-based funding, and equipment) as well as through continuous improvement strategies.

For more detailed information on the implications of the talent management pipeline on key stakeholders such as education and workforce providers, students and workers, and policymakers, make sure to check out the U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s full report

12 days of great ratedHiring is hard. Finding the skillset to match the job and the personality to match the culture are among the most critical decisions managers make. And in healthcare, organizations face the added challenge of replenishing the ranks of nurses and doctors in an extremely competitive labor market.

Providers proudly advertise their exceptional patient outcomes and unique approaches to treatment. At the same time, many top organizations are also realizing the importance of expressing their commitment to the employees who provide that care. With 1 million nurses and about a third of all doctors reaching retirement age in the next 15 years, it's never been more important for great employers to communicate the respect, personal support and advancement potential their organizations can offer.

Promote Your Workplace Culture and the Reputation that Comes With It

Winning a spot as one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in America is the creme de la creme of workplace recognition. Companies that have earned that kind of award should put it front and center on all content job seeker are likely to encounter. OhioHealth and WellStar Health, for example, put a badge identifying their 100 Best distinction prominently on their career sites. Of course, awards can only capture so much. Plenty of additional companies also boast exceptional employee sentiment worth sharing with potential hires. Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, for example, offers a wealth of information on what employees say about its workplace by providing job seekers a link to its Great Rated! review directly from the organization's career page. Even though their accolades may differ, Great Rated! companies all benefit from the way they demonstrate their commitment to transparency for job candidates.

Spread the Word

12 Days of Great RatedSocial media channels give healthcare organizations the opportunity to build relationships, not only with job seekers, but also with the communities where they operate. Just as potential candidates want to know what kind of culture a health care employer can offer, patients also seek out providers where they can find consistent operations and happy staff members. Houston Methodist posts Facebook updates and tweets that offer a behind-the-scenes picture of how the organization is run. The trusted, employee-provided data from a Great Rated! review can offer a wealth of that type of inside information to share. Additionally, the review offers an option to integrate feeds from a company's social media directly into the page, as well as the option for the workplace review to be embedded directly into a company's Facebook page.

Put Job Ads in Context

It can be hard for even the best employers to stand out on crowded job websites or to humanize the workplace depicted in employment ads. One tool leveraged by providers like Baptist Health South Florida and St. Jude's Hospital is to customize the job notices that run alongside their Great Rated! reviews. This puts their jobs in front of people serious about researching a company's culture while giving interested job candidates an immediate idea of the open positions they might be suited to fill. Customizing this element of the review also gives organizations more control to prioritize their most critical positions.

Offer a Call to Action

At Miami Children’s Hospital, nearly nine in ten team members surveyed by Great Rated! feel they have the chance to engage in meaningful work. This feedback gathered by a trusted third party can prove a real incentive for professionals wanting to work alongside colleagues who value a strong sense of purpose in their jobs. In addition to the employee comments and survey scores, Miami Children's goes a step further with its Great Rated! review by adding an additional page of content. There, potential candidates can easily find a range of multi-media, jobs descriptions and other useful information directly from the hospital.

Whether it's through social media, customized job postings or accomplishments promoted on a company's career website, more health care organizations are realizing the importance of sharing what their workplaces offer online. As they do so, spreading the word about the best aspects of their culture can illustrate the value of their brands for job seekers and patients alike.

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Eager to show off what makes your workplace great? Register here for a free, interactive webinar with Great Rated! CEO Kim Peters and Great Place to Work’s Chris Culkin sharing best practices examples of how employers are promoting their Great Rated! reviews.

Tips for Addressing Entitlement and Other Employee Issues

Managing people can be a rewarding job, but it can be difficult when you are faced with issues such as motivating part-time employees, encouraging employees who have a sense of entitlement, and rallying dysfunctional teams you didn’t have the luxury of choosing. When the issue you face is a people challenge, the best path to greatness is to reexamine your approach and then look for creative ways to build trust and healthy relationships.

Understanding Employee Behavior

There are many forces that drive employee behavior, from job roles and responsibilities, to family and life situations. When an employee does something once, it’s an anomaly; twice is a coincidence; and three times is a pattern. Understanding why a pattern of behavior is developing, whether good or bad, is critical to creating a great workplace.

However, take care not to assign motivation to a pattern of behavior without first sitting down and asking the employee why he or she is doing something. Once you understand why an employee is behaving a certain way, then you can set realistic goals to manage that behavior.

Defining and Addressing Psychological Contracts

Included under the umbrella of entitlement issues are psychological contracts, which are the unspoken beliefs employees have about what is required and what is expected. For example, if a new hire is told there is flexibility, they will assume there is a degree of latitude in terms of their schedule and workflow that is not explicitly stated in the employee handbook. However, when employees’ psychological contracts are not in line with actual workplace culture and goals, they may expect more than what is provided, resulting in morale issues.

To ensure employee psychological contracts are in line with the company mission, vision and culture, consider the nature of your work and its meaning to employees and answer these questions:

  • What are the basic beliefs that motivate and engage employees?

  • How do these employee beliefs shape our organization’s values?

  • What policies, practices and programs can we address or implement to align employees’ beliefs with the actual company values?

Ways to Engage Part-Time Employees

Some of the ways you can motivate part-time employees to run with the vision of your organization include:
  • Convey to them how their work is making a difference in the company.

  • Include them in safety, accountability and company culture initiatives.

  • Solicit their feedback and involve them in the life of your business.

  • Set an example by treating them with respect in front of full-time workers.

  • Make sure they are equipped with the training and resources needed to do their job.

Download the No Excuses! Whitepaper to learn more about how any manager can overcome the most common challenges to building a great workplace.

Jennifer Robin, Ph.D., is a Research Fellow, former Senior Consultant with Great Place to Work® Institute, and co-author of No Excuses: How You Can Turn Any Workplace Into a Great One and The Great Workplace:  How to Build It, How to Keep It, and Why It Matters.

Even at the mall, where stiff competition between storefronts is a fact of life, Build-a-Bear Workshop offers proof that supportive employers can see real returns on the investment they make in their people.

This publicly traded company not only made our recent list of the best workplaces in retail, employee surveys have also placed it among Fortune Magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For in America six years running, as rated by Great Place to Work.

Build-a-Bear These accolades aren't just about bragging rights: Build-a-Bear Workshop's standing as an exceptional employer also helps create a positive cycle that enhances its brand. Thanks to its reputation as a stand-out workplace, scores of job seekers turn to the company's Great Rated review each month to learn what it's really like to work there. About 10,000 of those people accessed Build-a-Bear Workshop's review through a graphic honoring its Fortune-list status on the company's career website, and the award is also mentioned proudly on its Web page for investors. The review itself integrates live updates from the company via integrated feeds from Twitter and Facebook. What's more, Great Rated!'s trusted, independent information backs up Build-a-Bear Workshop's own recruitment material, lending further credibility to the way the company describes its culture, values and benefits. For example, 92 percent of the team members we anonymously surveyed confirm they are proud to tell others where they work, while nine in ten also describe Build-a-Bear Workshop as fun and cooperative.

Build-a-Bear This rapport with job seekers matters. Not only do experienced team members provide better service, some researchers have even make the case that retailers can make substantially more money by offering attractive workplaces. Then there's the company's reputation among consumers. Even for customers with zero interest in picking up a job application, there's a good feeling in knowing that they're patronizing a business that treats its people well.

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Eager to show off what makes your workplace great? Register here for a free, interactive webinar with Great Rated! CEO Kim Peters and Great Place to Work’s Chris Culkin sharing best practices examples of how employers are promoting their Great Rated! reviews.

12 days of great rated Yes, Google has killer perks—like nap pods, on-site physicians, free legal advice and free food. But these flashy benefits are less important to the tech company’s success as a talent magnet and in the marketplace than the underlying culture of the place.

CEO Larry Page and other Google leaders have created a powerhouse workplace by blending make-the-world-better aims, exciting technological challenges, high expectations of people and a sense of family at work.

Employees, in turn, have bought into Google’s compelling vision, feel cared for personally and professionally and are happy to give 100 percent or more.

Trust Index© survey of Google employees" href="http://us.greatrated.com/review/google-inc2014" target="_blank">Our Trust Index© survey of Google employees found that a striking 94 percent say they get the training they need to further themselves professionally. Eighty-five percent feel their leaders show a sincere interest in them as a person, not just an employee. Ninety-six percent are proud to tell others they work at the company. And 96 percent of Googlers report that “people here are willing to give extra to get the job done.”

Says one employee: "Working here can make you feel that you've made it into the technical equivalent of Major League Baseball or the NFL - you're at the top of your field."

Employee comments like that, along with sky-high survey scores and practices that build a culture of trust are why Google has been the reigning #1 organization for the last three consecutive years on the "100 Best Companies to Work For in America" list we generate for FORTUNE. Great Rated! and Fortune.com also have recognized the company as a Great Workplace in Technology and as a Great Workplace for Millennials.

It’s not a coincidence that Larry Page was just honored by FORTUNE as Businessperson of the Year. Page has outlined stirring goals for the company such as producing cleaner energy via high-altitude wind turbines, increasing Internet bandwidth through stratospheric balloons and improving health through ingestible nanoparticles—all in addition to maintaining a leadership position in Internet search, mobile devices and social media.

Page sets a tone of demanding but kind leadership. Google researcher Andy Conrad said this to FORTUNE about discussing ideas with Page: “You feel terrified, inspired, and nurtured at the same time.”

Here’s Page himself on Google’s culture: “It’s important that the company be a family, that people feel that they’re part of the company, and that the company is like a family to them. When you treat people that way, you get better productivity.”

The company is very conscious of the value of its culture in attracting top candidates and advancing the Google way. The “Life at Google” section of the firm’s careers site prominently mentions earning the top spot on the 2014 FORTUNE list as validation of its workplace.

But Google isn’t just about trumpeting accolades to candidates—it also wants to inform them. Google has one of the country’s most visible employer brands – but potential employees and Google itself still want to make sure that the culture is a match for new hires, so communicating the specifics of what their culture is like – beyond the perks – is critical to accessing the right talent

When prospective Google employees click on Google’s “100 Best” award, they have the chance not only to see Google’s ranking on FORTUNE’s site, but also to drill down into the details of what Google’s employees say about what they value most at the company, via Google’s Great Rated! review

That review talks some about funky and generous benefits at Google. But it’s mostly about the deeper workplace spirit that has helped make Google a world-changing company. In others words, it’s not about killer perks. It’s a killer culture that keeps Google vital.

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Eager to show off what makes your workplace great? Register here for a free, interactive webinar with Great Rated! CEO Kim Peters and Great Place to Work’s Chris Culkin sharing best practices examples of how employers are promoting their Great Rated! reviews.

The Korn Ferry Institute recently released a report that looks at the leadership traits of “best-in-class” executives, and the important relationship between Chief Executive Officers and Chief Human Resources Officers. The report “CEOs and CHROs: Crucial Allies and Potential Successors” confirms that for C-suite roles technical skills are just a fraction of what makes for successful leadership, and that executives in the top 10% of pay for their function tend to have leadership styles that motivate employees, develop future leaders, and create appropriate cultures. The workplace today is shifting to place greater value and more intently evaluate leaders on such areas as how they treat people, foster the right work environment, and encourage future leaders. As Korn Ferry’s report asserts, this type of evaluation is warranted because “well-managed talent, leadership, and culture are what enable sustainable customer, operational, and financial results.” After analysis, Korn Ferry found that across functions, best-in-class leaders have greater levels of emotional awareness and competence in six key areas:

  • Tolerance of ambiguity
  • Empathy
  • Confidence
  • Composure
  • Energy
  • Adaptability

These best-in-class leaders are “change champions” who are comfortable not having all the answers as well as being around a diverse group of people, enabling them to see from perspectives different than their own. They are empathetic towards others and quick to read a room, have the confidence to take risks and make decisions, remain composed in high-pressure situations, are energetic and enthusiastic, and are adaptable and easily able to accommodate others methods.

Korn Ferry emphasizes the importance of CEOs having allies that will tell them more than “what they already know” and allow them to leverage deep insights on culture, leadership, and talent. CHROs are uniquely positioned to fill this ally role because in many organizations, a great deal of expertise on the importance of leadership, culture, and integration is concentrated in HR. CEOs are increasingly seeking broader insight from their CHROs. This touches on the expanding or redefined role of HR in today’s workplace. In recent years, HR has moved away from being solely an administrative function that defined terms and conditions of work. HR practices now often help to implement strategy at the organization level, and as organizations seek to match their brands with their organizational culture, CHROs find themselves in an expanded role uniquely suited to support their top executives.

After looking at research from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and the RBL Group, Korn Ferry determined that high performing CHROs master six competency domains that are also essential to CEO success:

  • Strategic positioner
  • Credible activist
  • Capability Builder
  • Change Champion
  • HR innovator and integrator
  • Technology (information) proponent

These HR professionals “go beyond knowing the business to helping CEOs focus strategic direction and align choices that create value for investors and customers and respond to changing external conditions.” They are able to build trusting relationships with key stakeholders like customers and investors, initiate and sustain change, recognize the importance of culture and foster theirs, innovate and integrate HR and people practices, and use workforce analytics and technology to enhance HR practices and make informed decisions.

Over the last several decades, Korn Ferry has profiled leadership styles of thousands of senior executives, including CEOs, CHROs, CFOs, CMOs, and CIOs. Their assessments gauge how much importance an individual places on 14 attributes that have been sorted into three categories: leadership style, thinking style, and emotional competencies. While the graphs below show that most best-in-class executives have a similar leadership profile, it’s clear that CEOs and CHROs are very much “cut from the same cloth”.

thinking styles chart

leadership styles chart

emotional competencies chart

When Korn Ferry calculated the Euclidean Distance from the profile of the best-in-class

CEO (in which a lower number indicates more similarity), they found that overall, best-in-class CHROs (distance .735) are closer to CEOs across 14 traits than are CFOs (.82), CMOs (1.039), and CIOs (1.031).

The similarity in profiles between CEOs and CHROs helps to support the earlier explanations as to why CEOs may turn to CHROs as a main strategy ally and leadership/talent coach. Korn Ferry proposes, too, that as we continue to see these more rounded and fluid HR roles, CEO successors may come from HR in addition to more traditional areas like finance, marketing, operations and IT. As CEOs increasingly manage organizational challenges as well as customers, products, and financial concerns, CHROs may offer unique skills as a successor that others do not. Already we see that CHROs match CEOs’ leadership profiles as well or more than any other executive:

Score Difference by Executive chart

Korn Ferry points out that of course, CHROs will not be considered for succession without experience in business operations. With this foundation though, top CHROs could excel as CEOs, bringing specific desired attributes such as: deep insights about their organization, high self-awareness, excellent people managing skills, and the knowledge of how to serve external stakeholders through internal actions. In short, don’t be surprised if savvy, best-in-class Gen X CHROs start replacing the aging Baby Boomer CEOs.

How Managers Can Build Trust Amidst Uncertainty

Leadership changes, mergers, layoffs and other disruptive events bring big changes to the workplace, but they also bring big opportunities. And while it’s true that people need time to adapt to changes in the workplace, research has shown that when leaders take the time to build high-trust relationships with employees, it enables employees to embrace changes faster.

In fact, if a disruptive event has created a culture of uncertainty, making an effort to build trust during this time is one of the smartest strategies you can implement.

Now Is Always a Good Time.

The problem with change is that it brings a level of uncertainty, and uncertainty creates a perfect atmosphere for fear, rumors and negativity. The good news is that there is an antidote to fear and its byproducts: Trust. Since change is inevitable and disruptive events will always occur, it’s wise to plan ahead by implementing practices today that build trust, pride and camaraderie. Even if you are in the midst of a major disruptive event, you can help restore calm and dismantle the power of fear by engaging employees in trust-building activities.

What Do Employees Need During Change?

Managers can reduce stress on employees during times of change by:

  • Creating a sense of community by promoting the idea that everyone is facing change together.
  • Ensuring employees are prepared to adapt by supplying them with all information available
  • Outlining next steps, so employees can maintain purpose and direction
  • Continuing to promote a sense of safety and support throughout the process

Stay Strong.

The best companies know their strengths and build on them in response to disruptive events. The next time a disruptive event occurs, begin by examining what your people do best and how those advantages can be applied to the current circumstances. When you focus on strengths, it enables everyone in the organization to find their footing faster and manage change with less fear and more trust in their company, coworkers and abilities.

Download the No Excuses! Whitepaper to learn more about how any manager can overcome the most common challenges to building a great workplace.

Jennifer Robin, Ph.D., is a Research Fellow, former Senior Consultant with Great Place to Work® Institute, and co-author of No Excuses: How You Can Turn Any Workplace Into a Great One and The Great Workplace:  How to Build It, hHow to Keep It, and Why It Matters.

Three Trust-Building Tips for Time-Crunched Managers

All great workplaces are characterized by strong trust-based relationships between employees and their managers. However, relationship building takes time, and many managers see time as an obstacle to building a workplace that is truly great.

The truth is, the difference between a manager who builds trust and one who doesn’t is not necessarily the quantity of interactions they have with employees—it’s the quality of those same interactions. If you believe you do not have the time that’s needed to foster a great workplace, take a second look at the practices and behaviors that you already engage in. Chances are, much of what is currently on your agenda as a manager can be modified for a greater trust-building impact.

Here are three ways you can improve the quality of your workplace relationships without investing a significant amount of additional time:

  1. Leverage Systems You Already Have in Place
    Many powerful workplace changes can be implemented simply by infusing existing systems (such as meetings) and behaviors (such as eating lunch) with habits that will deepen your relationship with employees. Here are a few you can try now:
    • Increase Approachability: Dedicate one day a week to eating lunch with someone in your work group—or even your full team—so you get to know each other as people.
    • Enhance Collaboration: Reserve the first 10 minutes of every staff meeting to have an open discussion about a specific topic, client challenge or process improvement.
    • Encourage Positivity: Thank employees for good work in meetings and as you see them doing something well.
    • Inspire a Sense of Meaning: Choose words wisely when referring to work environments, job titles, or even in general communications. For example, Marriott employees who work behind the scenes are said to work in the “heart of the house,” not the “back of the house.”


  2. Leverage Your Strengths
    The skills you use to lead are the same ones you can use to build trust. In fact, leaders who adopt a hodgepodge of best practices (instead of using their own strengths to impact their environment) won’t build trust among employees, because people recognize and reject inauthenticity.

    To build trust using your own strengths, start small and set achievable goals. For example, if you are not a great public speaker, but prefer to communicate in writing, try sharing your thoughts and insights with employees through a regular blog or newsletter. If you are a task-driven leader, adopt the mindset that the task isn’t complete until accomplishments are celebrated.

 

  1. Adopt a Trust-Building Lens
    Every interaction with employees is an opportunity to build or break trust. Trust is built over time, through many actions—both large and small (and conversely, can be broken in an instant!). By adopting this lens as a filter to your daily interactions, you can equip yourself to engage with employees in a way that will bolster your relationship with them. From thoughtfully communicating the details of a difficult organizational issue to simply saying “hello” in the hallway, making the choice to build trust at every juncture possible will lead to greatness in the long term.

Download the No Excuses! Whitepaper to learn more about how any manager can overcome the most common challenges to building a great workplace.

Jennifer Robin, Ph.D., is a Research Fellow, former Senior Consultant with Great Place to Work® Institute, and co-author of No Excuses: How You Can Turn Any Workplace Into a Great One and The Great Workplace:  How to Build It, How to Keep It, and Why It Matters.

What motivates employees? It is money? Feeling valued at work? Connecting with a company’s social mission? All these are good answers, but a new study from TINYpulse that analyzed over 200,000 employee responses relating to organizational culture found that peers and camaraderie are the #1 reason employees go the extra mile. While peer recognition and camaraderie might seem like two aspects of company culture that happen (or need to happen) organically, there are ways organizations can promote a culture that fosters peer recognition and camaraderie. As a potentially overlooked area of focus for organizations, peer recognition is a valuable way to foster a positive culture and create one where employees regularly “go the extra mile.” 44% of employees surveyed report that when they are provided a simple tool to do so, they will provide peer recognition on an ongoing basis. The happier the employee, the bigger the praise: 58% of “happy” employees report giving regular peer recognition, compared to 18% of the least happy employees. As TINYpulse states, “Professional happiness encourages 3X more recognition!”

Nov 18 2014 Happiness

Thinking that money motivates employees seems an antiquated line of thought when looking at TINYpulse’s data. In fact, money isn’t even among the top 5 factors that motivate employees to go the extra mile. Out of 10, “money and benefits” ranks #8. The top 3 motivators for employees to go the extra mile are:

  • Camaraderie/peer motivation
  • Intrinsic desire to do a good job, and
  • Feeling encouraged and recognized

Motivation Chart

Feeling encouraged and recognized at work can stem from a number of different sources, but regardless of where recognition most often occurs, TINYpulse’s data show that employees feel significantly undervalued overall. On a 1-10 scale, just 21% of all employees gave a score of nine or ten for feeling valued at work, meaning that 79% of employees feel undervalued, or not valued at all.

Value Chart

Camaraderie and recognition have broader implications than just creating a more motivated workforce. Workplace cultures that embrace these are no longer expected to be just the few and far between: job seekers expect this of organizations, and they are ways to not only attract talent, but to retain it. Millennials especially (as I’ve discussed in past posts) place a high value on camaraderie and actively seek out such work environments. TINYpulse sites a recent report by Bersin and Associates, which found that employee engagement, productivity, and customer service, are about 14% better in organizations where recognition occurs.

Consider how your organization recognizes its employees – how do you recognize peers? Do employees at your organization feel valued – do you? Maybe it’s time to institute some formal recognition programs, which we here at Great Place to Work consistently see as best practices at organizations on the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For list. “Ramping up” recognition programs doesn’t need to mean excessive time or investment either. It could be as simple as instituting a gold star program, installing a white board in the break room for “biggest save of the week” comments, or having an employee mentor another for an hour on a specific skill. Our advice is to start small, and build on positive outcomes.

But by all means, provide formal and informal ways for your employees to recognize the contributions of their peers – that is, if you’d like more of your employees to go the extra mile for your customers!

U.S Employees are taking less vacation time today than at any point in the last four decades. In fact, in 2013 employees with available Paid Time Off (PTO) took an average of 16 days of vacation, compared to an average of 20 days in 2000. This is data from a recent report by the U.S Travel Association, conducted by Oxford Economics, which analyzes the impact of forfeited time off. The report’s analysis is based on the Monthly Current Population Survey results reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and a June 2014 survey of 1,303 American workers conducted by GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications in conjunction with Oxford Economics. Why are Americans increasingly taking less vacation time, and what’s the impact? Let’s explore…

Annual Vacation Days

While missing a few paid vacation days in a year may seem insignificant, Oxford Economics’ report puts such choices into a different perspective. In 2013, Americans used a total of 77% of their PTO, and among employees with PTO an average of five days went unused. With 1.6 of those days being permanently lost, across the workforce, employees ultimately volunteered 169 million days of work. “Volunteered,” sounds even more pleasant that the alternative description, that these employees worked for free. 169 days of forfeited work equates to roughly $52.4 billion in lost benefits. Oxford Economics also points out that taking offered PTO can have significant economic impact. If U.S employees returned to average vacation patterns experienced from 1976-2000 (20.3 days of vacation) annual vacation days taken would increase by 27% and would equate to 768 million additional days of vacation. Using those 768 million days of vacation would result in $284 billion of economic impact (including $118 billion in direct travel spending). While full-week vacations have declined over the last 35 years, the impact of such a decline has been offset by an increase in the amount of partial-week vacations taken through the mid 1990’s. However, since then, the amount of partial-vacations has steadied out while the amount of full-week vacations taken has continued to decline.

Decline of Full-Week Vacations Graph

PTO offered to employees in the U.S. is typically between 11-25 days. Just under 60% of employees earn between 11-25 days of PTO per year, and nearly 25% earn between 11-15 days of PTO annually.

PTO Taken Graph

Of employees who have PTO, at least 56% can bank or rollover unused PTO days for later use. But almost a quarter of employees (23.4%) report losing unused PTO days at the end of the year. Employees who can bank or rollover PTO are often faced with caps or expiration dates. For example, 29.7% report that they can only bank or rollover 5 days of PTO or less.

Typically, the higher the income earned, the greater the number of PTO days, but higher income earners also report leaving more PTO days unused. Oxford Economics’ report found that on average in 2013, U.S. employees lost more than 1/3 of their unused PTO and high-income earners lost more than ½ of unused PTO days. Based on total annual income and an assumed 260 workdays, the value of a forgone PTO day was estimated by income group, with this result:

Estimated Value of a Forgone PTO Day Graph

On average, U.S employees give $504 in paid time off to their employers via free work and, overall, give 1.1% of their salary back to their employer each year in the form of free work.

While all this data provides some serious food for thought, and a valuable perspective towards the implications of unused PTO, the most compelling piece of data Oxford Economics report may be this: employees who give up PTO days do not receive bonuses or raises at any faster rate than those employees who choose to utilize all of their PTO. Employees who used most of their earned PTO were just as likely to find themselves with a raise or promotion as those who left PTO unused and they reported being significantly less stressed.

Stressed at Work Graph

The bottom line is that taking earned PTO is important. Not only can doing so reduce stress and help employees create better work/life integration, but taking earned PTO has broader economic implications and holds significant influence on the perception of the U.S workforce’s culture. Check in at your organization, and make sure the culture there is one that encourages employees to take PTO, and, moreover, expects it of them!

Attract talent by making your company’s culture a selling point.

Never underestimate the power of your company’s culture to attract and retain great people. Think of the culture of your company like the personality of a person—the ones that inspire, engage, motivate and genuinely care will always draw crowds of like-minded people.

Greatness Begets Greatness

As iron sharpens iron, a great culture challenges people to become their best. It gives them the opportunity to grow their talents and to make lifelong friends of the people who share their passion, talents and skills. If your company has worked hard to create a culture you know great people would love to be a part of, don’t be shy; showcase it shamelessly at every opportunity and you may just find the employees you are seeking will actually come searching for you.

Spread the Love

Some of the ways that the 50 Best Small & Medium Workplaces share their culture with others include:

  • Regularly posting photos of fun company events and community service projects on their main website and intranet, as well as in publications such as newsletters, emails, local papers, trade magazines, and more.
  • Posting short and engaging videos of employees candidly sharing why they enjoy working for their company and how the culture has impacted their lives, both personally and professionally.
  • Taking a creative approach to the traditional mission, vision and values statements posted on the main website and crafting culture-centric manifestos that inspire and resonate with potential employees.
  • Leveraging social media outlets such as Facebook, YouTube and Instagram to build relationships with potential candidates and clients alike, while sharing latest adventures and successes through photos and blurbs about current events.

Double Duty

Aside from telling the story of your culture in an engaging way, these practices will also serve you well as a screening tool. Now prospective hires can get a sneak preview of what it’s like to work at your company, and know if it’s a fit for them long before they ever send you a resume, much less set a foot in the door.

Download our latest Attracting Talent Whitepaper for more great practices and tips for attracting and retaining talent.

Lesser-known brands can attract talent by using creative recruiting tactics

If your company has a brand name that few have heard of, that’s no reason to worry; however, it is a reason to get creative. Investing not just time and money, but true ingenuity into your recruiting strategy is a smart practice with a tangible ROI.

Recruitment Foot Soldiers

If birds of a feather flock together, then your next great hire may very well be a close friend or acquaintance of your last great hire. Finding great people that are a good match for your company culture is easier when you have the eyes and ears of your people helping you look. One way to ensure this strategy is successful is to offer current employees the incentive of a referral bonus for candidates that become new hires.

Get Schooled

If you’re looking to attract the freshest talent on the market, it’s wise to partner up with colleges and universities. After all, they are preparing the next generation for career success and you have the positions their go-getters need to fulfill those aspirations. Establishing an internship program is a great way to recruit eager new talents that have the potential to turn into great hires.

Creativity in Action: Atlassian’s Recruiting Road Show

Atlassian, a recognized Best Medium-Sized Workplace from the IT industry, was faced with a talent shortage of developers in their local market. Leaders decided to get creative and take their recruiting show on the road. They kitted out a bus and began a road trip, conducting interviews and hosting informational evenings at local coffee shops and pubs—all with the purpose of luring highly skilled developers back to their headquarters for a job at Atlassian.

Their goal was to travel to four major metropolitan areas and hire 15 phenomenal developers in 15 days with the promise of an awesome job and an all-expenses-paid relocation package. The result of their quest? They received over 1,000 applications for their 15 positions in just four weeks, which was more than five times the volume of qualified candidates they normally attract.

Recruiting Stats of the 50 Best Small & Medium Workplaces (25-999 employees) 

  • 36% of last year’s new hires at the 50 Best who were referred by employees
  • 39 of the 50 Best offer a referral bonus
  • $3,378: Average max employee referral bonus
  • $20,000: Highest referral bonus given for a successful referral
  • 14% of employees were gained from college campus recruiting efforts
  • 36 of the 50 Best actively recruit on college campuses

Download our latest Attracting Talent Whitepaper for more great practices and tips for attracting and retaining talent.

The Working Mother Research Institute (WMRI), in partnership with Ernst & Young, recently released a report aimed at better understanding “how men are navigating the flexible work and home terrain.” Data from How Men Flex, The Working Mother Report is the result of survey responses from 2,000 men and women (evenly split) with questions aimed at understanding the impact of flexible work arrangements on their lives. While the impression may be that flexible work arrangements are greater utilized by female employees, WMRI’s data indicates that flexibility in the work environment is both used and desired by men and women equally. 77% of men report having flexible schedules and 79% state that they feel comfortable using such flexibility. Additionally, 62% of men state that their employers can and do support flexible scheduling. What’s also clear from WMRI’s data is that working mothers aren’t the only people struggling to with balancing work and family. 26% of men report that their employers could encourage flexible scheduling but don’t. WMRI notes that in recent studies both working mothers and working fathers, have almost equally agreed that they feel stressed about meeting their responsibilities in both their work and home environments. Studies have also shown that men are increasingly involved in the balancing act of family and work, something that’s often seen exclusively as a working mother’s issue. WMRI highlights a 2011 report, which showed that fathers spent 7 hours a week on childcare and 10 hours a week on housework, a significant increase from a 1965 study that reported fathers spent 2.5 hours a week on childcare and 4 hours on house work.

Breadwinning Mom Graph

The above graph highlights changing perceptions when it comes to work and family; 88% of men report that mothers and fathers should share equally in caring for their children and 83% report that household work should be shared equally as well. Organizations should make sure there is an inclusive focus on flexible scheduling not only because family management is a shared responsibility but also because flexible scheduling benefits employers in several ways. The data show that men with access to flexible scheduling are more likely to say they are happy, productive, have high have morale, good relationships with co-workers, and are overall more satisfied with their job than men without access to flexible scheduling.

Satisfaction Graph

Employers who do not provide flexible scheduling lose a valuable tool for attracting talent and could be increasing their risk of losing valuable talent they do have. Right out the door, 54% of working fathers and 47% of men without kids state that they would reject a job with frequent travel due to obligations at home.

What flex options should employers provide? While that depends largely on each organization’s professional needs (and their employees’ personal needs) men surveyed for WMRI’s report state that two days of telecommuting each week work best for them. These respondents report higher levels of satisfaction on almost all fronts compared to those who never work from home. Men who commute two days a week also report higher levels of satisfaction than those who work from home three to five days a week.

Working From Home Graph

WMRI’s report also finds that 6 in 10 working dads would work part-time if they could still enjoy a satisfying career; however, 36% of working dads say part-time work is looked down upon at their organizations. Working fathers, like working mothers, also report difficulty in managing boundaries around work, with 46% reporting that their job bleeds into their personal time, compared to 32% of men without children.

The data here suggest that flexible scheduling options are just as valuable for men as they are for women, and, moreover, are an area that many organizations are unintentionally neglecting to make as accessible to male employees. Organizations should make sure to engage all employees in conversations around flex time, and to publicize that flex programs are available and their use is encouraged by all.

Downsides Graph

Ensure Pay is Fair and Benefits are Enticing

Creating a rewarding work environment for potential employees is not just about providing a healthy paycheck. Rewards can also include having meaningful opportunities for recognition, the feeling of making a difference in the world, being a part of a successful team, and more.

All of that said, it is still critical that people are compensated fairly for their work, and receive benefits and perks that are both competitive and yes, even enticing, as a part of their experience with your company.

Benefits and Perks

At small companies in particular, you may not be able to provide expensive perks such as on-site daycares and gourmet cafeterias. However, with a little creativity, any company can bring a lot to the table by offering benefits that prospective employees will still find competitive.

Below are some perks and benefits that are highly valued by employees, and might be well within your company's reach:

  • Foster productivity by allowing employees to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).
  • Encourage employees to give back via employer-paid volunteer days.
  • Promote work/life balance through flexible work arrangements.
  • Give tenured employees the gift of time with sabbaticals every few years.
  • Support a family-friendly atmosphere by subsidizing childcare.
  • Promote a healthier workforce by subsidizing gym memberships and stocking the lunch room with healthy snacks.

Key Benefits at the 2014 Best Small & Medium Workplaces (25-999 employees)

  • 85%: Average paid healthcare coverage for employees
  • 68%: Average paid healthcare coverage for dependents of employees
  • 17: Average number of days off given to employees after one year of employment (includes holiday, vacation, PTO, and sick days)
  • 36 of the 50 Best offer flexible schedule options

The Question of Pay

One of the criteria for being considered a great workplace is a commonly-held belief among employees that they are paid fairly for the work they do. And while it is important for pay to be fair and within industry norms, this year compensation at the 50 Best Small & Medium Workplaces—who are, as a group, attracting talent at 12x the rate of the average U.S. company—hovers closer to the mid-range than to the top of the range in their respective industries.

Of the 50 Best Small & Medium Workplaces who reported their industry compensation band this year:

  • 5% pay in the 25-49 percentile
  • 43% pay in the 50-74 percentile
  • 14% pay in the 75+ percentile
  • 38% do not track pay according to the industry compensation band

Work It

Make your investment in fair pay and enticing benefits packages work for you by showcasing them to job-seekers. Consider Centro, one of the Best Workplaces this year, who is experiencing tremendous growth. Centro features their total rewards package publically on their website, which includes noteworthy offers such as competitive base pay, free onsite yoga, 10 "Ferris Bueller" personal days, monthly happy hours, tuition reimbursement, and much, much more.

So, don't be shy to show the world what you have to offer. It just may be what brings your next great candidate calling.

Download our latest Attracting Talent Whitepaper for more great practices and tips for attracting and retaining talent.

Attract Talent: Leverage your interview process to make a phenomenal first impression

When it comes to good impressions, job applicants are already aware of their need to make one in order to land a job with your company. However, it’s also equally important for employers to make a great impression on the best candidates. Truth be told, when it comes to top talent, it’s often a matter of them choosing you—not the other way around.

Pull Out All the Stops

When highly qualified candidates come calling, give them every reason to say yes to success at yourcompany by treating them as the valuable individualsthey are. Many of the 50 Best Workplaces are known for going to great lengths to provide outstanding treatment topotential job candidates from the first interaction theyhave.

This is a smart practice because:

  • People within industries talk and your red-carpet treatment will bolster your good reputation with peers and prospects alike.
  • Potential employees who experience good treatment during the interview process will find it easier to believe your company really is the best choice.
  • Even if this opportunity does not pan out, having a good relationship with strong candidates will help easily bring them back.

Here are some simple ideas for creating a great first impression of your company during the interview process:

  • Be prompt and clear in your communications with job applicants.
  • Be as hospitable as possible, both leading up to and during the interview.
  • Equip interviewees with helpful information before they arrive, including directions, parking/ transportation recommendations, timing, agenda for the day, dress code, etc.

And, don’t forget to demonstrate respect for candidates with timely communication after the interview, even if it doesn’t work out. After all, you never know when a position that’s perfect for them will open in the future; and many of the 50 Best stay in touch with strong candidates for this very reason.

Download our latest Attracting Talent Whitepaper for more great practices and tips for attracting and retaining talent.

Accenture’s 2014 College Graduate Employment Survey compares the expectations and perceptions of 2014’s university graduates with the realities of the working world according to both 2012 and 2013 graduates. This comparison casts a focused and specific lens on the issue of entry-level talent development, and gives us some insightful data. Accenture’s survey underlines that at the end of the day, many organizations are not effectively developing their entry-level talent. When we consider that 69% of 2014 graduates state that more training or post-graduate education will be necessary for them to get their desired job, we see that organizations are likely facing a major talent supply problem. New graduates and entry level talent’s perceive that their organizations will provide them with career development training: 80% of 2014 graduates expect that their employer will provide the kind of formal training programs necessary for them to advance their careers. Despite this, the percentage of graduates that actually receive such training is low, creating a significant discrepancy between expectation and reality.

Expectation vs Reality

Another concern when it comes to recent college graduates is that 46% (nearly half) of 2012/2013 graduates working today report that they are significantly underemployed (i.e. their jobs do not really depend on their college degrees). This statistic was at only 41% a year ago.

Entry Level Underemployed

Accenture’s survey found that 84% of 2014 graduates believe they will find employment in their chosen field post graduation, and 61% expect that job to be full time. Again, we find a stark contrast between expectation and reality, with just 46% of 2012/2013 grads reporting holding a full-time job – 13% percent have been unemployed since graduation. How long do recent graduates stay at the jobs they do have? More than half (56%) of 2012/2013/2014 graduates have already left their first job or expect to be gone within one or two years. Is this be a reflection on the lack of development for entry-level talent? It seems more than plausible…

Recent graduates are also finding discrepancies between expectations and realities when it comes to income and job prospects. Of the 13% of 2012/2013 grads who have been unemployed since graduation, 41% believe their job prospects would have been enhanced had they chosen a different major (72% expect to go back to school within the next five years). Among Accenture’s 2014 survey respondents, 43% expect to earn more than $40,000 at their first job, however, just a minimal 21% of the 2012/2013 graduates that are in the workforce are actually earning at that level. 26% of these graduates report making less that $19,000, a concerning figure when roughly 28% of 2014’s graduates will finish school with debt of more than $30,000.

Accenture’s study does point to some silver linings, however. Increasingly, college students are turning an eye towards what they can do to be more market relevant. 75% of those who graduated this year took into account the availability of jobs in their field before selecting their major, compared to 70% of 2013 graduates and 65% of those in the class of 2012. Another positive is that 72% of 2014 graduates agree or strongly agree that their education prepared them for a career (compared to 66% of 2012/2013 grads) and 78% feel passionately about their area of study. 63% of 2014 graduates stated that their university was effective in helping them find employment opportunities, an increase from 51% among their recently graduated peers. Recent graduates are also increasing their chances of employment by being geographically flexible. 74% of 2014 graduates said they would be willing to relocate to another state to find work and 40% of those would be willing to move 1,000 miles or more to land a job.

Accenture’s study does, however, put into question many of the highly publicized reports that point to human capital/talent acquisition issues as a #1 concern in the C-Suite. If talent is the #1 issues, where is the attention to entry-level talent? Is the attention being placed exclusively on development for upper-level positions? It’s clear that there are multiple factors influencing graduates’ struggles for acceptable employment, including the rise of part-time and contingent work, but training and development is an important part of any entry-level position. The survey points to six areas in which organizations can focus on to help meet talent supply challenges:

  1. Reassess hiring and retention strategies
  2. Hire based on potential, not just immediate qualifications
  3. Use talent development as a hiring differentiator
  4. Remember that tangibles matter, even to Millennials
  5. Cast the net more widely
  6. Use talent development and other benefits as part of a total rewards and attraction approach

These are logical conclusions. But perhaps the biggest logical conclusion is that organizations are just paying lip service to the so-called war for talent and aren’t convinced that the there is, in fact, a shortage of talent. Am I wrong?