Giving Thanks for a Great Workplace

Giving Thanks for a Great Workplace

 

This Thanksgiving, millions of Americans taking a break from their jobs will have much to be grateful for—about work itself.

I’m talking about the 4.4 million employees of Great Place to Work-Certified organizations. These Americans enjoy a daily diet of excellent experiences even when it isn’t turkey day.

Here’s what one employee of Great Place to Work-Certified Plante Moran told us about working at the professional services firm:

“I am thrilled, humbled and grateful to be a part of the Plante Moran family and to be granted the opportunity to work here,” the employee said. “With our firm culture, which holistically embraces the Golden Rule and values integrity in all that we do, to our human capital which represents the brightest minds in the industry and encourages a healthy work/life balance for all - I could not imagine, after 20 years in the financial services industry, a better place to work than Plante Moran.”

What Plante Moran and other Great Place to Work-Certified organizations have in common is a culture of trust. Staffers at these companies—which span almost every industry, region and size—feel their leaders are respectful, credible and fair. People at these organizations also enjoy their coworkers, take pride in what they do and typically have chances to innovate on the job.

The numbers show as much. At certified Great Places to Work:

  •         85 percent of employees say their leaders are competent at running the business
  •         83 percent say their leaders are approachable and easy to talk to
  •         91 percent say people are treated fairly regardless of their sex
  •         Nearly 8 in 10 say you can count on people to cooperate
  •         80 percent say they have some or a lot of meaningful opportunities to innovate

Part of the reason people at these companies are having a good experience is they enjoy a measure of economic security. Their companies have found that doing right by employees goes hand in hand with doing well as a business. Publicly traded Certified great workplaces have outpaced peers in terms of stock performance. And this fact is part of a growing mound of evidence that high-trust organizations race ahead of rivals—as employees at great workplaces bring their best to the job day in and day out.

A common Thanksgiving ritual is to be mindful of those less fortunate. And unfortunately, there are a lot of Americans who don’t have much to be thankful for when it comes to work.

A recent survey of the U.S. workforce commissioned by Great Place to Work discovered:

  •         Just 54 percent of U.S. employees say their leaders are competent at running the business
  •         54 percent say their leaders are approachable and easy to talk to
  •         59 percent say people are treated fairly regardless of their sex
  •         54 percent say you can count on people to cooperate
  •         Only about half say they have some or a lot of meaningful opportunities to innovate

Overall, we discovered that less than half of American employees—49 percent—give their organization positive reviews. That compares to nearly 8 in 10 people at Great Place to Work-Certified companies.

Today, the vast majority of Americans do not work at great workplaces. For them, Thanksgiving is a respite from workdays that are often full of slights, frustration, and anxiety. These conditions not only crush the soul, but also take a toll on their health. Research from Stanford and Harvard Business Schools shows health problems stemming from job stress, like hypertension and decreased mental health, can lead to fatal conditions that end up killing about 120,000 people each year.

But there’s hope. As we document in our recent book, economic, technology and social trends point to a future where all organizations will need high-trust cultures to succeed. We see more and more interest by business leaders in certifying their organizations as great workplaces. We hear that more and more executives across industries are inspired by the very best Certified great workplaces—those that earn a place on the best workplace lists we publish, like the annual Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For.

Those best-of-the-best are building what we call Great Places to Work For All. They are creating cultures that are excellent for everyone, no matter who they are or what they do for the organization. These are the cultures that are innovating fastest, that are better for business results, better for the people who work there and better for the world.

Our mission is to help all organizations across the globe become Great Places to Work For All by 2030. It’s a tall order, we know. But we can see it happening.

We can imagine a day—not too long from now—when every American worker can sit down to Thanksgiving dinner and feel grateful for their workplace.

 

Ed Frauenheim is Senior Director of Content at Great Place to Work. He is co-author of A Great Place to Work For All.

 


Ed Frauenheim