Tabitha Russell -
May 18, 2017
If you’re interested in being named a Fortune 100 Best Company to Work For® next year, you probably already know about a key step of our evaluation process: The Culture Audit.
One of the most common questions we get from 100 Best Companies list applicants is: “How do I write a great Culture Audit?”
The Culture Audit asks questions about your people practices, policies, and other data related to how both HR and leadership alike work to build a strong culture. Sometimes knowing exactly what to include is challenging for newcomers. You might wonder:
When writing about your company’s programs, what we’re looking for is an understanding of what it is, how frequently it’s practiced, who it serves, how it benefits employees, and why your company thinks the practice is important.You don’t need to take up too much space describing your philosophy behind every practice/program – just summarize your overall approach.
What helps us get clear insight into your workplace?
This is a competition – and many wonder how they can get ahead of the pack. What exactly is Great Place to Work looking for in your responses?
We have a methodology that allows us to score your responses. The best applications will show us that your company’s philosophy and people practices have the following qualities:
Great applications will show us how your company and your programs possess all of these characteristics.
While we love enthusiasm, we don’t award extra points for a novel-length Culture Audit. The best Culture Audits are usually concise and focused on substance over fluff, but still convey warmth.
The maximum page length of a Culture Audit is now 225 pages (approximately 15 single-spaced pages per Culture Audit open-ended question). But some of the best we’ve seen range between 50-100 pages.
There’s no minimum length for a Culture Audit, but we do recommend you provide enough information so that we clearly understand what it’s like to work at your company and why your practices are unique. Keep in mind that this is a competition: a very short, bulleted list of programs with no context is not very helpful to us, and might make your workplace practices sound uninspired.
Some space-saving tips:
Keep in mind that there’s a person on the other end of your application reading through your entire Culture Audit. A clear narrative will help us easily see how your workplace practices are integrated, without having to search through your application.
How can you structure your application to be more easily read?
Sometimes, you might feel your written response doesn’t do your company’s unique program justice. You might consider uploading or linking to supplemental materials that accompany your application and provide more detail that can’t easily be captured in your text responses.
Many companies choose to submit photos, videos, and samples of materials that will aid our evaluators in getting a feel for your unique company culture. Some additional examples include:
Some companies create websites to house this information. If it’s well-organized, it can be helpful, but it’s absolutely not required and doesn’t mean you’ll get a better score.Providing an overabundance of supplemental materials will also not increase your score. Use materials when necessary: avoid submitting hundreds of photos or hours of videos.Please note that Great Place to Work is no longer accepting physical supplemental materials.
Stay focused on writing thoughtful responses that reflect the “flavor” of your company. Write like you’re trying to convince your friend or family member that they should work there. Avoid sending too much information so your message isn’t lost on us, but enough information that Great Place to Work knows exactly WHY your workplace is better than the rest.
We’re looking forward to seeing your application for the 2018 Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For List. Good luck!
Tabitha is the Certification Program Manager at Great Place to Work, where she produces and analyzes Best Workplaces lists, and oversees the 100 Best Companies to Work For® list evaluation process.
As a daily watcher of CNBC’s morning show, Squawk Box, I was thrilled to see the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For© list highlighted this morning. And as someone who works with companies everyday who are either on the list, or aspire to be on the list, I felt compelled to share some insights about what I’ve learned about these companies and the list itself.
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