Want greatness? Listen up

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Articles - March 2011
Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Our 100 Best Companies project turns 18 this year, quite a milestone not only for the magazine but for the many companies and employees who have participated in the survey. In just the past eight years, 190,000 employees from 936 companies have taken the free, anonymous survey that ranks their satisfaction with their workplaces.

That is an enormous wellspring of information about what it takes to be a great place to work. Last year overall scores were down, largely because of diminished benefits. But this year the overall scores climbed back up a bit.

What were the most important workplace practices for the employees who took the survey this year? At the top of the list was treatment by their direct supervisor. After that came compensation (pay, benefits, bonuses, paid time off); trust in top management to make ethical business decisions; trust between managers and employees; and pride and belief in the company.
Four out of five of the workplace qualities that are most important to employees have nothing to do with financial rewards. That is a powerful insight. A great company is built on great leadership and management. Admittedly, that’s a lot harder to do than just offering good health insurance. But if you think you don’t have a chance to be ranked as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon because you don’t offer swanky perks or pay top dollar, you’re wrong. Employees overwhelmingly care more about being treated with respect and trust, and working for a company that they feel good about when they walk through the doors every day.

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In this issue we look inside a handful of these successful companies to see what that leadership looks like for those businesses. Places such as Stumptown Coffee, which offers free tattoos at its Christmas parties, or Ruby Receptionist, which provides yoga to help relieve the stress of the workday. Throughout the stories you will find inspiration, and some practical advice if you’re looking for ways to make your company better. (And how much more practical than free tattoos do you need?)

We believe so deeply in the importance of best practices for business success that we created two new 100 Best projects. In June we announce the third annual 100 Best Green Companies to Work For, based on sustainability questions that were asked in this year’s 100 Best Companies and last year’s 100 Best Nonprofits surveys. In October, we announce our third annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon.

If you didn’t participate this year, I hope you do next year. There is much to learn from the 100 Best. But more importantly, there is much to learn from the people who make your company possible. Are you prepared to listen?

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Robin Doussard

 

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