For the Best Multinationals, It is a Small World After All

Kim Peters  

Blog - Kim Peters - October 26, 2016

For the Best Multinationals, It is a Small World After All

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Top global companies treat employees equally regardless of what they do, where they’re based or how long they’ve been there.

If you’ve been to Disneyland in California or one of its sister theme parks, you’ve probably visited It’s a Small World at least once - or a what may feel like a thousand times if you’ve got kids.

The boat ride through a fantasyland of cutesy children and clever critters was the height of amusement park innovation when it debuted. But it also speaks to a universal truth - deep down, we’re all the same.

The 2016 25 World’s Best Multinational Workplaces list that we just announced takes that concept to heart, and not in a superficial way. Despite operations that span the globe, employees at this year’s Best Multinationals describe working in a unified corporate culture, one where communications and expectations are clear, and where people feel equal, cared for and supported in their careers and life outside work.

Creating the close-knit atmosphere is no small feat when you consider Google, Daimler Financial Services, Diageo and other companies on this year’s list operate in a dozen countries or more and have workforces that range from 6,000 to more than 200,000.

Despite their size, these organizations have imbued their global operations with that small-world feeling by treating employees the same regardless of position. They also include people in initiatives and celebrations no matter where they’re based or how long they’ve been employees.

For one example, look at Autodesk, Inc., No. 8 on this year’s list. The San Francisco 3D design and engineering company shows its inclusiveness by regularly taking part in that city’s annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride parade, and encourages its global workforce of 8,376 to come along for the ride. For one recent parade, Autodesk decorated a float with employee statements on what pride means to them. Participants’ names were entered in a drawing for round-trip tickets for two to fly to San Francisco for the event, with winners chosen from each region where the company operates. One prize winner from Bucharest, Romania, proposed to his boyfriend on the Golden Gate Bridge the day before the parade.

The Rising Tide of Great Workplaces for All

According to the Trust Index© survey Great Place to Work® uses to measure employees’ levels of trust, pride and camaraderie, 83% of employees at Autodesk and this year’s other top multinational workplaces say their organizations feel like a family or team, and 82% report that “we’re all in this together.” Those feelings help explain why overall Trust Index scores for workplace camaraderie at best global companies have risen from 2011 to 2016.

In addition to camaraderie, employees at the Best Multinational Workplaces have shown higher levels of trust and pride in their employers over the past half dozen years, according to our Trust Index surveys. The overall Trust Index benchmark for the 25 World’s Best has inched up since 2011. It’s a sign that around the world, great workplaces are working to be great for all.

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One U.K. employee at Adobe Systems, Inc. , the global information technology company and No. 22 on this year’s list, sums up how great workplaces are great for all, saying:

“Having worked for 20-plus years for different companies, I was amazed at the difference (in how) this company treats and respects its employees. They have a great balance between working smart, caring for the local community, and allowing employees to enjoy their personal lives. It’s a great company with a true balance across the globe allowing individuals to succeed if they want to do so.”

Taking Steps to Keep Employees Informed, Engaged, and Celebrated

Like other workplaces that are great for all, this year’s best multinationals take deliberate steps to keep employees happy, celebrated and well informed. Managers at the Ireland office of Cadence Design Systems (#15) schedule “stay interviews” with direct reports to identify issues that could prompt them to want to quit. Once a year, employees working at the Swiss office of Google (#1) vote on Citizenship Awards for technical support personnel who maintain infrastructure, deal with emergencies and otherwise labor behind the scenes.

Great global workplaces may cultivate a uniform corporate culture, but not at the expense of employees’ differences. At the Swiss headquarters of staffing and management services conglomerate Adecco Group (#7), employees participate in a Language at Lunchtime program where they can learn or improve language skills, talking with coworkers who hail from 30 countries. SAS Institutes’ Netherlands’ office started an “SAS Einsteins” advisory board so entry-level workers had a way to share opinions and outlooks with management. NetApp (#6) encourages independent thinking by holding twice yearly Outrageous Opinions pitch sessions in its Netherlands office where engineers submit ideas for new products or services. The top eight present in front of an audience, and four winners receive gift certificates and a chance that the company will adopt their innovations.

The best multinational organizations are proof that having a great workplace for everyone isn’t a fantasy or something restricted to specific organizations, parts of the world or types of employees. As these outstanding global employers have shown, it really is a small world after all.

Kim Peters
Kim Peters

Kim Peters leads our Great Place to Work® Certification Program which offers companies the opportunity to measure and build a high-trust workplace culture, get certified and reviewed as a great workplace, and be eligible for all of our Best Workplaces lists, including the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list. Kim previously led the creation of Great Place to Work® Reviews, where she focused on helping job seekers understand companies’ workplace cultures. Kim has over 15 years’ leadership experience in the online recruitment industry.

 

Prior to joining Great Place to Work®, Kim launched and led a number of successful businesses in the recruitment sector including Workopolis.com, Canada’s leading job board, where she was founder and President, and Canwest Mediaworks where she served as Vice President of Online Classifieds and Eluta.ca, a Canadian job search engine combining reviews and job listings.