1. It’s fun
Great workplaces make work more like play. Or at least build a lot more play into the work experience than companies overall. Fun is partly about perks, but it’s mostly about culture. About rituals like Nerf gun fights, happy hours, birthday bashes and group volunteer days.
And here’s the kicker: many of the best companies are getting more playful. Between 1998 and 2014, the average Trust Index© score for the statement “this is a fun place to work” has risen by 12 percentage points, to 85 out of 100, at the U.S. FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For. The fun level also has increased at the World’s 25 Best Multinational Workplaces since we began tracking this data in 2011. Great workplaces are working hard at playing hard.
2. It feeds your soul.
Great workplaces excel at providing purposeful work. Even in what might seem to be drab industries, the best companies tie jobs to meaningful missions. Like the way household cleaning products maker SC Johnson frames its work as making “great products that make life better for families.” The best workplaces also emphasize volunteerism and camaraderie—lifelong friendships often develop at these companies. Says an employee at Hyatt Hotels: “My immediate team is not only a team to me, they are my friends and family above all.” What’s more, you can expect personal and professional growth. The best workplaces tend to invest in training. Call it a twist on an old saying: if you’re not working on yourself at work, you’re not working at the right place.
3. It’s good for your health.
Great workplaces promote health and wellbeing. In contrast to toxic workplaces that harm employees, the best workplaces provide key features of healthy environments, such as job autonomy, help with work-life integration and job security. They offer generous health insurance benefits, extended maternity and paternity leaves and, in some cases, unlimited sick and vacation time. Cafeterias with healthy meals and fun, collegial fitness programs also are common at great workplaces. Daimler Financial Services, for example, has running clubs, provides on-site fitness studios and brings in guest trainers to teach after-hours yoga and Pilates classes. A worldwide wellbeing movement is under way, and the best workplaces are embracing it.
4. It’s probably a winner.
Company success is a source of pride, excitement and job security . And great workplaces tend to be successful. Data has been piling up that high-trust work cultures generally crush the competition. For example, a 2013 report from research and consulting firm Interaction Associates found that “companies adept at practices that reinforce strong leadership, trust, and collaboration enjoy better financial performance.” David Goulden, CEO of EMC puts the connection between great, inspiring workplaces and winning companies plainly: “In our competitive, rapidly changing industry, we can’t be successful as a company, we can’t sustain our hard earned industry leadership and continue to serve our customers well, if we don’t have the total commitment, dedication and engagement of our talented workforce of 47,000+ people around the world.” As Goulden and growing mounds of evidence suggest, nice guys finish first.
5. It’s on the cutting edge.
The best workplaces are the forefront of an emerging, hopeful economic age. We call it the Great Workplace Era. In it, all people can expect to work for an organization where they trust their leaders, enjoy their colleagues and take pride in what they do. This era is dawning now, thanks to factors including the rise of balance-minded, meaning-seeking Millennials, increased transparency into organizations, and mounting evidence that high-trust cultures lead to better business results. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, is among the business leaders who agree the Great Workplace Era is at hand: “Yes, more than ever before, today’s top talent is not just looking for great work, they’re looking to create a great life and a better world – and their work is part of how they achieve that.” Already, our data shows the best workplaces are getting better over time. And although much of the news about employee-employer relations today is gloomy, great workplaces are leading the way to a brighter future.
Ed Frauenheim is Content & Curation Specialist at Great Place to Work and Editor at Great Rated!.