Yesterday, BRW announced their “Top 50 Best Places to Work” for 2012. Working together with the Great Place To Work Institute, they surveyed 291 companies and 68,005 employees to discover which employers have tapped in to the secrets of a great working environment and culture.
The top 5:
NetApp (Data Management)
E-Web Marketing (IT/Marketing)
Altis Consulting (IT)
Other Top 50 employers include Optiver (22), who offer a “winter pack” compromising of a flu shot, and vouchers for warm clothes, as well as an in-house barista who makes over 600 coffees a week. Salesforce.com (6) who have their own mascot, Saasy, who makes star appearances at conferences; and Quicksilver (41) who provides surfboards for employees to use at lunch time.
Does it have to be expensive to be a Top 50 workplace? Not necessarily, and big pay-packets are not what makes an employer more appealing. It is about something else entirely – it is more about trust levels, flexible annual leave, paid parental leave, job sharing, regular communication and cultivating inspiration; which all businesses should be able find a way to implement something along these lines. BRW Deputy Editor, Michael Bailey says, “It’s got to be genuine… The financial inducements have actually come down a little bit… You don’t have to spend a lot of money.”
Creating a “family feel” and a high level of trust in employees featured high on the list of the Top 50‘s ethics and the IT industry is the most commonly featured in the Top 50, but what if you’re a retail or hospitality SME with fewer than 35 employees? While you may not have the right criteria for the BRW list, you don’t need a big budget and a global team to achieve similar Top 50 status.
Here are ways in which you can transform your workplace…
Non-traditional performance reviews; meaningful and on-going conversations rather than an annual sit-down is an approach taken by many in the Top 50. There is a link between happy employees and great workplaces, and continual feedback gives a great sense of purpose, so why wait a year before discussing performance with your team? Committing to transparency through regular communication will build on trust levels, something which took OBS from number 7 last year to number 1 this year.
Birthday days off and well-being programs that promote health and happiness, these serve to encourage the vital work-life balance that ranks so high for employees, encouraging physical activity and socialising outside of the workplace will also give you happy, healthy employees.
Mike Cannon (co-founder of Atlassian), gets it right when he says, “People go to extraordinary lengths to take our staff but we put a lot of work in to make them stay.” Take a leaf out of the Top 50s’ books and make the necessary steps to make your workplace an inspiring place to be (and stay).