How Great Place To Work Catapulted Trek onto the Fortune 100 Best Companies List

 How Great Place To Work Catapulted Trek onto the Fortune 100 Best Companies List

How Certification breathed life back into Trek’s culture and landed them a spot on the Fortune 100 list.

Without ... Great Place To Work ... we would not be where we are at. Every key manager at Trek every single year has a Great Place To Work objective as part of their OKRs. It forces managers to have conversations with their team on how we can make Trek a great place to work.” John Burke, Trek CEO

Leveraging Great Place To Work®'s Trust Index™ Survey and Certification™ was a game-changer for Trek Bicycles. It transformed the way the company understood and applied employee feedback, fostering a culture of trust and continuous improvement. This approach didn’t just enhance their workplace environment, it was instrumental in tripling the company size and significantly boosting profitability over a decade. Great Place To Work didn’t just help Trek benchmark against the best – it propelled them into the ranks of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®.

Based in Waterloo, Wisconsin, Trek designs, manufactures, and distributes premium bicycles, cycling apparel, parts, and accessories to retailers worldwide. Here’s how Great Place To Work Certification helped Trek reinvigorate its company culture and breathe life into its mission of changing the world through bicycles.

The challenge:

“How do we breathe life into our mission?”

Their people managers understood that creating an awesome culture for employees was the linchpin for bringing their mission to life.

However, with a dispersed global workforce of approximately 6,500 employees in 27 different countries, the challenge for Trek was finding a comprehensive and reliable method to measure employee satisfaction and gather actionable insights.

John Burke, CEO of Trek, didn’t initially see the value of partnering with Great Place To Work. Luckily, he and Mark Joslyn, Trek’s VP of human resources & information technology, agreed to take to meeting with Great Place To Work over 10 years ago – and that meeting changed Burke’s mind. “Right at the end of the meeting [the Great Place To Work account manager] says, ‘There’s one thing I can tell you, Great Place To Work scores are in perfect correlation with your profitability.’ That got my attention,” explains Burke. “Sign us up. We’re in.”

The solution:

“Scale company culture and employee feedback with the Great Place To Work Trust Index”

Trek began its partnership with Great Place To Work in 2013 and first became Certified as a great workplace in 2015. The company chose Great Place To Work Certification because of the development and integrity of the Trust Index Survey questions and access to rich historical data, which allowed Trek to measure itself against the best companies. Unique to Great Place To Work, the Trust Model is proven to improve culture and business performance.

Trek was able to gather consistent and comparable feedback from their global units, which provided the granular look they needed to really get under the hood of their culture. “The Trust Index Survey is the tool, but what we do with the survey, I believe, is the magic,” explains Joslyn.

The results:

“Trek employees were now invested in improving company culture – going beyond HR initiatives”

Trek made use of their employee survey data by breaking it down to a granular level. This helped foster a sense of ownership among its leaders and they felt encouraged to take accountability for their team’s satisfaction and performance.

The data was instrumental in guiding improvements year over year. Through benchmarking data from similar divisions, Trek created learning opportunities and shared best practices across its teams, something they call the Montgomery Principle, named after a leader who had weekly meetings with his team to discuss survey results and gather ideas.

Joslyn explains that once other managers saw these results, they became interested in how they could be better listeners and apply the same practice. Now leaders from different parts of the organization were connecting with each other. People managers also unpacked feedback in regular team meetings and invited people to offer solutions. The result was everyone had ownership over improving company culture. And that ownership led to increased scores on the Great Place To Work Trust Index Survey.


increase in positive responses to statement: Manager keeps me informed about important issues & changes

Source: Great Place To Work Trust Index Scores 2018 - 2023

The takeaway:

“Great Place To Work Certification was a critical factor in Trek’s transformation.”

While leadership was making strides in facilitating organizational change with employee feedback, Trek wanted to take its culture and business impact from good to great. Trek leveraged Great Place To Work’s unique data to compare its company culture to the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For.

“We were immediately trying to benchmark ourselves to the Best 100,” explains Joslyn. “But over time we understood it not only took time to build trust, but also for us to see what were those best practices that we could apply.”

Employees now want to survey twice a year so they can get ahead of feedback and gain even more headwind year over year. “People are willing to be part of the solutions,” says Joslyn “They will give the gift of feedback, but they also believe that something will be done with it. There’s a level of trust and expectation,” he adds.

The company’s high employee engagement paid off. Trek achieved a goal response rate of 93 percent in the 2023 employee survey, indicating a strong commitment among its staff. Benchmarking against the Best Companies also led to informed and effective practices.

“Today the company is three times bigger than it was 10 years ago, and I would say the profitability is greater than that!” John Burke, Trek CEO

Burke is also delighted because he has seen the impact of these results on the growth of the business – something Great Place To Work had promised in that very first meeting.

Best of all, for the first time Trek earned a spot on the prestigious Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For List—a testament to the power of Great Place To Work’s tools in driving tangible business growth and cultural excellence.

Raven Trice