5 Elements of a Great Workplace

5 Elements of a Great Workplace

That Any Leader Can Bring to Life

It's that time of year again! No, I am not talking about March Madness or spring break.

It’s almost time for the release of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list, produced by Great Place to Work® Institute. Each year, I look forward to this publication.

As an employee, I love to read about the latest and greatest workplace perks: free food, flexible work schedules, concierge services, on-site fitness centers—sign me up!

However, as an HR researcher I know that being a top workplace isn’t about offering top perks. Perusing the annual list of top workplaces, the researcher in me wants to know: What are the essential building blocks of a great workplace?

In search of these deeper insights, I checked out the Great Place to Work white paper: Lessons for Leaders as they Build a Great Workplace. Here is what I learned:

5 Elements of a Great Workplace— That Any Leader Can Bring to Life

  1. A Healthy Work Environment—Act on the belief that employee health, workforce productivity, and HR costs all hinge on providing a health atmosphere for employee.
  2. Shared Values and Trust, Not Absolute Rules and Micromanagement—Empower employees to decide, act, and innovate in a coordinated way.
  3. A Positive Daily Work Experience— Involve, inform, develop, and reward employees.
  4. Active and Accountable Leadership—Hold yourself and others leaders accountable for fostering a great workplace.
  5. Personal, Not Transactional Relationships—Treat employees as you want them to treat the company.

These five elements are a great start, but how do you put these concepts into practice at your organization? What do these elements look like within the different companies on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list?

We at APQC want to know. That is why we will be taking part in another great thing that takes place only at this time of year—the Great Place to Work Conference. This event will highlight trends, best practices and innovations in positive workplace culture through dynamic speakers, panel conversations, and opportunities to connect with these leaders and other peers working to improve their own workplace cultures. We’re looking forward to hearing:

  • Bright Horizons Family Solutions’ David Lissy, CEO and Danroy Henry Sr., Chief HR Officer share the business case for building and maintaining a culture of honesty, respect and accountability, and demonstrate how supporting employee well-being is a critical element of that strategy.
  • Scripps Health’s Victor V. Buzachero, Corporate Senior Vice President for Innovation, Human Resources and Performance Management and Cara Williams, MBA, FACHE, PHR - Corporate Senior Director of Human Resources talk about using change agents in the form of leadership and employee groups to lead and communicate culture change. They will describe how as the culture changed, Scripps continuously gathered feedback from employees of different generations and added more work-life programs leading to double-digit increases in employee engagement scores, higher retention rates and reduced time-to-fill.
  • Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants’ Steve Pinetti, Senior Vice President, Inspiration & Creativity make the case for the power of personal, unscripted interactions between employees and customers. He’ll share Kimpton’s approach to surprising and delighting guests on an emotional level, so they become rabid brand advocates. And he’ll explain how at the heart of it all are empowered, passionate employees, who use their individuality, creativity and instincts to make a lasting impression on customers.

We hope to see you in Dallas!

Elissa Tucker is a research program manager at APQC, a nonprofit benchmarking and best practices organization. Elissa is responsible for developing and executing APQC’s human capital management research agenda. She has written and been featured in numerous HR industry publications including and is a regular speaker on HR industry webinars and at HR conferences. Elissa has more than 15 years of HR research, writing, and advising experience. Prior to joining APQC, Elissa worked as a senior research consultant at HR consultancy, Hewitt Associates (now AonHewitt). Elissa co-edited and contributed to the book: Workforce Wake-Up Call: Your Workforce Is Changing, Are You?, John Wiley & Sons, 2006.

APQC is a member-based nonprofit and one of the leading proponents of benchmarking and best practice business research. Working with more than 500 organizations worldwide in all industries, APQC focuses on providing organizations with the information they need to work smarter, faster, and with confidence. Every day we uncover the processes and practices that push organizations from good to great. Visit us at www.apqc.org and learn how you can make best practices your practices.