Nor-Cal vs. So-Cal: When it Comes to Great Workplaces, Which Comes Out on Top?

 How do the 2017 Best Workplaces in Southern California compare to their Northern California competitors?
The 2017 Best Workplaces in Southern California outperformed their rivals in New York, Chicago, and Texas. How do they stack up against Northern California competition?
The Best Workplaces in Southern California stand head and shoulders above their competitors in the region. But how do they stack up to the leading employers in other parts of the country competing for talent?

California takes the lead

When Great Place To Work compared employer rankings around the U.S., the Best Workplaces in Southern California outperformed all of the locations we’ve studied outside the state:
  • Employees at winning companies in Southern California report an even more positive experience of the workplace than their counterparts in New York City, Chicago and Texas.
  • Nearly 80 percent of employees said the Southern California organizations offered them a fair share of profits. That’s 11 percent higher than companies on the New York list and 6 percent higher than those on the Chicago list.
  • The Southern California winners also earned better marks for camaraderie. For example, as compared to employees at the leading New York companies, team members at the Best Workplaces in Southern California were more likely to say their organizations have a “family” feeling and that “we’re all in this together.”

Southern California vs. the Bay Area

Within the Golden State, though, scores from the top Southern California workplaces trailed those in the Bay Area in some important areas.

Employees’ overall experience in the workplace, as measured by more than 50 questions in our Trust Index survey, was the same among winners in both locations. Where they differed was mostly in questions related to agility and innovation. For example, 95 percent of employees at the winning Bay Area companies agreed co-workers “quickly adapt to changes needed for our organization’s success,” compared to 89 percent at the Southern California employers. There was a similar split between the two regions on the statement, “We celebrate people who try new and better ways of doing things, regardless of the outcome.”

This difference could be explained by the dominance of the San Francisco-region’s tech industry, which accounted for more than half of its leading employers. In Southern California, information and technology accounted for 24 percent of the Best Workplaces, followed by professional services (20 percent) and construction and real estate (14 percent).

What makes a great workplace

Regardless of location, the most admired companies share a handful of essential strengths. They all offer inspiring environments where people feel at home and managers earn employees’ trust. At the Best Workplaces in Southern California, 95 percent of team members said they’re proud to tell others where they work; and even more said they have friendly colleagues. A similar percentage also confirmed their leaders are ethical, competent and entrust their people with a lot of responsibility.

One employee at the #1 large workplace in Southern California explained it this way: “Ultimate Software is without a doubt the most people-orientated company I have ever worked for. Not only do they care about our health and work-life balance, they provide us with opportunities of growth in our careers, excellent training and the equipment we need to perform our duties. Most important, they treat each employee like family. There is no politics, drama or gossiping, only helping each other to be successful and having a great time doing it.”

Kim Peters