Industry-Specific Strategies of Winning Companies. An Analysis by Great Place to Work

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Industry-Specific Strategies

of Winning Companies

An Analysis by


This year, the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® list comprises a variety of industries—fourteen to

be exact—each facing their own challenges as they strive to build a great workplace. For example, there are manufacturing magnates who overcame their widely dispersed locations, roles and 24/7 rotating shifts to create wholly united workforces. There are healthcare leaders that navigated the compliance chaos and changes to structure and funding created by the Affordable Care Act, and emerged with happier and healthier employees. And, there are financial services gurus who not only survived the public’s perennial negative perceptions of the industry’s trustworthiness, but actually thrived.

Inside this whitepaper, we’ll take a deeper look into the six industries that have dominated the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list every year since its inception in 1998:

• Information Technology (p. 3 - 4) • Healthcare (p. 5 - 6)

• Financial Services & Insurance (p. 7 - 8) • Manufacturing & Production (p. 9 - 10) • Professional Services (p. 11 - 12) • Retail (p. 13 - 14)

Our aim is to help you overcome your industry issues by exploring how these winners faced their challenges in building a great workplace and prioritized their efforts for the coming year. We’ll also examine elements of the collective employee experiences within each industry, as well as some of their policies and management practices.

Different, But Similar

Across industries (and even within), there are vastly different strategic and tactical challenges to overcome in building a great workplace. Yet, all one hundred companies on the list view a positive employee workplace experience as a non-negotiable component of their success; a driving force that unites, mobilizes and guides employees in a way that is cohesive and inspiring. These companies’ results from the Great Place to Work Trust Index© Employee Survey, which reveals employees’ experiences of the workplace, have uncovered a number of

other unwavering commitments across the Best Companies. A few that stand out are:

1. A commitment to a consistently great employee experience. Ninety percent of all people employed by the 100 Best report that “taking everything into account, I would say this is a great place to work,” with little variation from industry to industry.

2. A commitment to volunteering and philanthropy. Ninety-three percent of employees across all 100 Best Companies report feeling good about the ways their company contributes to the community, and volunteerism was consistently one of the top-ranked practice areas that we assessed across industries. 3. A commitment to treating employees fairly regardless of personal characteristics. Across the

100 Best Companies, 94% of employees on average report that people at their company are treated fairly regardless of gender, race, age and sexual orientation.

4. A commitment to a favorable physical work environment. Fully 97% of employees across the 100 Best report theirs is a safe workplace–the highest rating of any survey statement–and 91% believe their facilities contribute to a good working environment.

5. A commitment to a caring, welcoming and friendly workplace. Ninety-four percent of employees across the 100 Best report theirs is a “friendly” place to work, and that new employees are made to feel welcome. Further, 90% report that “people care about each other” at their company.

Success Breeds Success

The companies you will learn about in the upcoming pages met their industry challenges head-on and created workplaces where employees trust their leaders, have pride in the work they do, and enjoy the people they work with, which is the very definition of a great workplace. Their hard work has resulted in their being able to attract and retain employees far more effectively than their industry peers, as noted throughout this report. The companies on our list also tend to outperform their peers in the market—year after year. Best of all, they employed approaches you can adapt and apply to your workplace as you pursue greatness in your company and industry.


Industry Breakdown

Representation Across Fourteen Industries

This year, fourteen different industries are represented on the list. Across all industries, leaders at these companies recognize that a strong connection between a positive employee experience and improved business outcomes exists. Whether the outcome is outstanding customer service, attracting and retaining the industry’s top talent, creating superior products, or increasing patient satisfaction scores, efforts to become a great workplace are invariably perceived as closely tied to these business goals.

Professional Services (20)

Financial Services & Insurance (14)

Information Technology (14) Healthcare (13)

Retail (13) Manufacturing & Production (8)

Hospitality (5) Construction & Real Estate (4)

Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals (3) Media (2) Education & Training (1)

Electronics (1) Engineering (1) Transportation (1)


Adobe Systems




Hyland Software









World Wide


Information Technology

Information Technology Strengths

Of the six industries reviewed in this whitepaper, information technology (IT) employees report the most consistently positive workplace experience. Aside from offering notoriously “fun” environments with engaging perks and competitive paychecks, these companies empower employees to feel they are part of something new and exciting by focusing on promoting innovation, developing employee ideas, and getting those ideas to market. These practices foster a sense of pride, which is essential to becoming a great workplace.

Can’t Wait for Monday

Eighty-nine percent of employees who work for the Best IT Companies

say they “look forward to coming to work.” This is five points higher

than the benchmark set by the 100 Best Companies in this area.


Information Technology Challenges

In a world that continuously clamors for the latest and greatest technology, IT is obviously an exciting and growing field. Yet, the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that regardless of whether CIOs were seeking employees with “hard” or “soft” skills, the number of unfilled IT jobs grew a staggering 19% last year.2 Revolving solely around talent, and the lack thereof, IT’s

current challenges include:

• Attracting, retaining and competing for top talent

• Training employees to stay on top of a rapidly changing industry

Key Stats


On average, among the 100 Best Information Technology Companies: • Voluntary Turnover is 9% (U.S. Average is 18%)4

• Employees are offered:

- 16 Paid Days Off after 1 Year Employment

- 31 Paid Days Off after 5 Years Employment

- 31 Volunteer Hours per year (max)

- 168 Training Hours per year (FT Hourly) - 197 Training Hours per year (FT Salaried)

• 27% of Execs & Sr. Managers are Female

• 18% of Execs & Sr. Managers are Minorities

• 50% offer Flexible Schedules

• 100% offer Telecommuting Options

• 21% offer Formal Job Sharing

• 29% offer a Compressed Workweek

• 7% offer Phased Retirement

• Applicants per Job Opening: 67

1Source: Great Place to Work® 2015 Fortune List Trust Index© Employee Survey Data 2

3Source: Great Place to Work® 2015 Fortune List Culture Audit© Data 4Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


Strategies for Success at the Best Information Technology Organizations

Information technology organizations among the 2015 100 Best Companies: 1. Provide ongoing professional development.

In the realm of IT, the landscape is ever-evolving, which means keeping employees abreast of new developments is a top priority. As such, it is no surprise that the best IT companies offer more hours of training than any other industry. The average number of training hours given to full-time salaried IT employees is 197 hours per year, while their hourly coworkers log an average of 168 hours per year.

According to one Best Company, VMware, “The kinds of people that will fuel our next transformation are people that are driven to VMware because it is more than ‘just a job.’ They want to be part of what is next in IT and are looking for careers with meaning, impact and real time growth and learning. It is therefore a priority for us to build a culture where people at all levels of our company know that they can learn and grow fluidly, and easily pursue new opportunities internally, rather than looking elsewhere.”

Best Practice: VMware offers an extensive range of classes throughout the year. Through a Learning Management System, employees can leverage a catalog of courses with immediate access to content. In addition, instructor-led sessions are offered on a regular basis at headquarters and include popular courses on VMware Products, Programming Languages, Agile/Scrum Methodologies, Security and Productivity. In 2013, over 1,613 employees completed over 3,587 hours of instructor-led classroom training, including 123 classroom instructor-led sessions and 54 virtual sessions.

2. Allow innovation to thrive.

A trust-based culture and innovation go hand-in-hand. In an environment where innovation is valued, employees feel empowered to share ideas openly, take risks, and adopt an entrepreneurial spirit, which is ultimately beneficial to the company on many levels. Nowhere is this atmosphere more critical right now than in the ever-changing IT industry. Companies like Google, Twitter, and are all known for their innovative products, and for being innovative workplaces.

Best Practice: launched “Salesforce Labs” as a way for employees around the world to publish free and open-source applications on Salesforce’s cloud-computing marketplace, the AppExchange. “Labs” was initiated largely in response to the wellspring of ideas introduced by employees looking to better serve customers. The AppExchange team is always available to help app makers bring their great idea to Salesforce customers. Since its launch in 2006, Salesforce Labs has generated more than a dozen patents for the company.

3. Realize that pay and perks are important—but they are not everything.

Among the 100 Best IT Companies, 84% of employees believe people are paid fairly for the work they do, which is

five points above the 100 Best Benchmark, and the highest of any of the six industry averages in this area. While an important part of a tech company’s Employee Value Proposition is a competitive salary and benefits package (among the 100 Best, most pay their software engineers in the 50th to 75th percentile or higher) these employers wisely realize that such offerings are only part of what drives an employee’s long-term happiness.

According to one long-time 100 Best IT Company: “The technology industry is full of companies that offer outlandish perks to their employees. That’s not our style. We choose to sell candidates on our fantastic, entrepreneurial culture and let our track record speak for itself.”

“They hire the brightest and the best here and it’s enjoyable to come to work every

day and surround [my]self with and learn from these people. In terms of adding value

to my career, Twitter is bar none the best organization that has done so.”


Healthcare Strengths

Among the healthcare organizations on the list, employees’ sense of pride in their work— an essential component of a great workplace—consistently ranks highest amongst survey participants. In healthcare, employees regularly see the tangible, positive and immediate impact their work has in the lives of others, making it easy to see how pride has become healthcare’s greatest strength.

Taking Pride

Of all six industries, employees in healthcare are most likely

to report, “My work has special meaning; this is not ‘just a job.’”


Healthcare Challenges

While pride is a wonderful and difficult attribute to achieve in any industry, even the best healthcare companies are not immune from the headaches and challenges facing modern healthcare. As headlines regularly remind us, complexity and change is the name of the game in this industry. Healthcare organizations are up against a variety of forces beyond their control, including:

• Implementation of the Affordable Care Act • Increases in healthcare costs

• Competition for talent

• Having to do “more with less”

Key Stats


On average, among the 100 Best Healthcare Companies: • Voluntary Turnover is 7% (U.S. Average is 18%)3

• Employees are offered:

- 9 Paid Days Off after 1 Year Employment

- 32 Paid Days Off after 5 Years Employment

- 8 Volunteer Hours per year (max)

- 53 Training Hours per year (FT Hourly) - 111 Training Hours per year (FT Salaried)

• 45% of Execs & Sr. Managers are Female

• 10% of Execs & Sr. Managers are Minorities

• 92% offer Flexible Schedules

• 100% offer Telecommuting Options

• 69% offer Formal Job Sharing

• 100% offer a Compressed Workweek

• 62% offer Phased Retirement

• Applicants per Job Opening: 254

1Source: Great Place to Work® 2015 Fortune List Trust Index© Employee Survey Data 2Source: Great Place to Work® 2015 Fortune List Culture Audit© Data

3Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Atlantic Health


Baptist Health

South Florida


Healthcare of


Houston Methodist

Mayo Clinic

Meridian Health


Roche Diagnostics

Scripps Health

Southern Ohio

Medical Center

St. Jude Children’s

Research Hospital

Texas Health


WellStar Health




Strategies for Success at the Best Healthcare Organizations

Healthcare organizations among the 2015 100 Best Companies: 1. Foster communication and transparency.

One of the keys to maintaining healthy relationships—especially in an environment characterized by massive change— is to communicate updates, goals, and other critical information regularly. Creating an atmosphere where employees engage in dialogue with leaders (rather than a top-down monologue approach) is a great way to foster teamwork and unite people to achieve goals.

Best Practice: Scripps’ “Charting the Course to Excellence All Around You” visual communications map is an engagement tool that helps managers and staff participate in meaningful conversations about important system-wide issues. The map was developed with a consulting group in response to staff requests for more input into decisions and a better understanding of how and why Scripps is changing to meet the new challenges of the healthcare industry. The interactive map incorporates guided discussions, imagery and more to illustrate Scripps’ past, present and desired future state.

2. Promote employee health and wellness.

For many healthcare organizations on the list, the focus on health does not stop with the patient. These companies acknowledge that healthcare is a physically demanding and stressful profession, and so they go to great lengths to support their employees’ health.

Best Practice: At OhioHealth, it is a shared belief that associates must be healthy role models for the patients they serve. As such, programs and resources are designed to offer associates a path to total wellness – physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and financial. By taking a “Total Wellness” approach to work-life balance, every aspect of improving health is addressed, including the four top health and wellness issues: inactivity, obesity, stress and smoking. OhioHealth reports that these efforts have had a positive impact on the well-being of associates and, subsequently, the patient experience, associate engagement and retention, productivity, and financial performance. 3. Include employees in cost-cutting and change measures.

Collaboration is a highly effective way of making relevant and effective changes take hold. By involving front-line employees, who have first-hand knowledge of the day-to-day inner-workings of the hospital, leaders can gain a fresh perspective.

Best Practice: Southern Ohio Medical Center includes all employees in company discussions about financial challenges, a practice that has enabled them to gain invaluable insights and innovative ideas on ways to curb expenses and generate revenue.

4. Connect people to purpose.

In an emotionally and physically challenging career, such as healthcare, keeping employees in touch with the purpose of their work is a great way to inspire people to keep going when times are tough.

Best Practice: Atlantic Health System (AHS) empowers employees to see how their contributions make a difference by regularly sharing quality and patient satisfaction data with them. AHS also makes a point of recognizing and thanking employees for hard work. In return, employees respond by doing everything they can to push quality and satisfaction scores higher each week.

“Scripps is unique in how the leadership is transparent with their

employees about their circumstances, financial status and goals and overall

strategic plans. There is such an effort to educate, share knowledge and empower

employees to work together to help our organization to thrive.”


Financial Services Strengths

Trust is one of the most important attributes members of the financial services industry must possess in order to become (and remain) successful, primarily because people must trust the institutions managing their hard-earned money. Not surprisingly, the financial services and insurance companies that made the 100 Best list this year are characterized by high levels of trust—especially employees’ unwavering belief in the credibility of their leaders. This accomplishment is worthy of note because the financial crisis of 2008 and the ensuing aftermath have seen this industry fight an uphill battle to regain trust in the public eye.

Achieving New Heights

Ninety-two percent of employees who work for the financial services and

insurance companies on the 2015 100 Best Companies list believe that:

“Management is honest and ethical in its business practices.” Note: This

is one point higher than the 100 Best benchmark.


Financial Services Challenges

As if a globally publicized industry crisis weren’t enough, the highly acclaimed Edelman Trust Barometer recently reported that the Financial Services industry—which includes banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, and financial advisory/asset management companies—is the world’s least trusted industry.2 Ouch. Generally speaking, this industry has several other tough

challenges, including:

• Providing a sense of autonomy to employees in a highly regulated industry • Dealing with the unpredictability and volatility of the global market

Key Stats


On average, among the 100 Best Financial Services & Insurance Companies: • Voluntary Turnover is 8% (U.S. Average is 12%)4

• Employees are offered:

- 18 Paid Days Off after 1 Year Employment

- 37 Paid Days Off after 5 Years Employment

- 9 Volunteer Hours per year (max)

- 70 Training Hours (FT Hourly) - 71 Training Hours (FT Salaried)

• 30% of Execs & Sr. Managers are Female

• 12% of Execs & Sr. Managers are Minorities

• 100% offer Flexible Schedules

• 100% offer Telecommuting Options

• 64% offer Formal Job Sharing

• 93% offer a Compressed Workweek

• 43% offer Phased Retirement

• Applicants per Job Opening: 45

1Source: Great Place to Work® 2015 Fortune List Trust Index© Employee Survey Data 3Source: Great Place to Work® 2015 Fortune List Culture Audit© Data

4Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Financial Services & Insurance



Allianz Life


Company of

North America

American Express


Capital One



Credit Acceptance

Edward Jones

FactSet Research


Goldman Sachs


Mutual Insurance


Navy Federal

Credit Union

Quicken Loans



“I’m convinced that we continually strive both individually

and as a firm to put our clients first. I’ve never done anything

like this before, and I don’t intend to go anywhere.”

— Employee, Edward Jones

Strategies for Success at the Best

Financial Services & Insurance Organizations

Financial services and insurance organizations among the 2015 100 Best Companies: 1. Keep the lines of communication open.

Open communication is the cornerstone of trust, and in an industry where trust is paramount, communication is one of the top strengths among companies in this industry. Eighty-four percent of employees believe “management keeps me informed of important issues and changes,” and 83% believe “management genuinely seeks and responds to suggestions and ideas.”

Best Practice: Capital One leaders across the company hold town halls or “all-hands” meetings to share successes and business strategies. Here, all associates, from full-time employees to hourly call center agents, are able to hear and understand how their work impacts company success. An important trust-building practice, employees appreciate having senior leaders visit in person to discuss organizational goals and the game plan to achieve them. 2. Ensure leaders share their vision for the future with employees.

Among the 100 Best companies in this industry, 87% of employees believe “management has a clear view of where the organization is going and how to get there.” By sharing their vision, leaders empower employees to align their daily actions with the long-term goals of the company.

Best Practice: ACUITY employees enjoy regular small group lunches with officers and leaders of the company, which ensures everyone is on the same page and knows the role they play in achieving the vision. The lunches also foster trust-based relationships essential to a great workplace. And the company maintains an open door policy ensuring that any employee can drop in and talk to a member of management at any time about anything.

3. Offer employees ample opportunities for training and development.

One of the top areas of strategic focus among the 100 Best in this industry is employee development. Opportunities for professional growth are a smart way to drive employee engagement since it enables people to pursue a more meaningful career.

Best Practice: Edward Jones provides new associates with a two-month training course designed to help them pass the General Securities Registered Representative Examination and the uniform Combined State Law Examination. Afterward, employees enjoy an abundance of ongoing long-term development opportunities that build their financial knowledge via highly ranked programs that provide training, mentoring and evaluations.


Manufacturing & Production Strengths

Manufacturing & Production is a highly competitive industry with a direct impact on local, national and global economies. It’s also an industry with a long and storied history of struggle; however, modern manufacturers are writing new and exciting chapters. Gone is the ancient past where clock-punching workers were just doing a job. Today’s best manufacturers have created work environments where employees find pride, purpose, and fair pay and profit sharing practices. Manufacturers who made the 100 Best list are leading the charge, and what their employees have to say is impressive:

• 92% believe: “When I look at what we accomplish, I feel a sense of pride.” • 89% believe: “I feel I make a difference here.”

• 93% believe: “I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.” • 86% believe: “My work has special meaning: this is not just a job.”1

Manufacturing & Production Challenges

While great strides have been made in the manufacturing industry, it is not without its challenges—many of which are brought on by the large size and decentralized structure that typically characterize these organizations. And while there is strength in numbers, uniting hundreds and even thousands of employees, who fill a diverse array of roles in the organization, and work in various locations across the globe, is no easy task. Among manufacturing’s top challenges are:

Fostering a cohesive experience among employees regardless of their shift, role, or location

• Creating a sense of fairness despite the many different roles employees serve

Key Stats


On average, among the 100 Best Manufacturing & Production Companies: • Voluntary Turnover is 5% (U.S. Average is 11%)3

• Employees are offered:

- 20 Paid Days Off after 1 Year Employment

- 57 Paid Days Off after 5 Years Employment

- 15 Volunteer Hours per year (max) - 58 Training Hours (FT Hourly) - 52 Training Hours (FT Salaried)

• 21% of Execs & Sr. Managers are Female

• 11% of Execs & Sr. Managers are Minorities

• 88% offer Flexible Schedules

• 75% offer Telecommuting Options

• 25% offer Formal Job Sharing

• 75% offer a Compressed Workweek

• 25% offer Phased Retirement

• Applicants per Job Opening: 63

1Source: Great Place to Work® 2015 Fortune List Trust Index© Employee Survey Data 2Source: Great Place to Work® 2015 Fortune List Culture Audit© Data

3Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Manufacturing & Production


Devon Energy

General Mills


JM Family


Mars, Incorporated



W. L. Gore &



“JM Family has a culture unlike anywhere else I’ve ever worked.

I truly enjoy coming to work every day where I feel valued for the work

I do and being around others who clearly enjoy their jobs here as well.

Management makes every associate feel just as important no matter

where you fall on the totem pole here.”

— Employee, JM Family Enterprises

Strategies for Success at the Best

Manufacturing & Production Organizations

Manufacturing and production organizations among the 2015 100 Best Companies: 1. Connect employees via a shared culture, values and purpose.

When employees are spread across locations, shifts and a wide variety of roles, it’s more important than ever to have a strong sense of connection, meaning and purpose to drive consistency and cohesion throughout the company.

Best Practice: Mars unites its 70,000 employees across 73 countries through a variety of creative and engaging ways. All employees are trained at Mars University in the company’s five primary values and how they apply to every employee and every job. As a company that loves to celebrate, every employee enterprise-wide participates in Associate Appreciation Weeks.

2. Communicate regularly with all employees regardless of location or shift.

To ensure all employees, from foremen and technicians to maintenance and shift workers, understand company objectives, the manufacturing companies on our list make regular communication a top priority.

Best Practice: At Stryker, question and answer sessions at the end of quarterly meetings are common, and interaction with leaders doesn’t stop there. To promote open, honest communication within and between teams, managers provide many opportunities for employees to ask questions: during “huddles” on the production floor, where employees in the manufacturing environment gather for a quick 5-10 minute meeting to discuss priorities; in regularly scheduled staff meetings between employees and managers; and at joint meetings between groups that work together closely. This open approach ensures that managers at all levels are available to answer questions as they arise, and to resolve issues quickly and fairly.

3. Establish equity through fair and transparent pay and profit sharing practices.

Collectively, manufacturing and production has the strongest practices any of the six industries in the area of “promoting a sense of fairness.” Further, 77% of employees believe they “receive a fair share of profits,” which is four points higher than the 100 Best benchmark.

Best Practice: At General Mills, annual incentive payments extend to all nonunion employees, from production workers in the plants to senior management. Employees receive an Annual Performance and Rewards Statement that shows exactly how the payment was calculated. Because incentive payments rely on individual performance ratings, the ratings go through a rigorous calibration process with HR and business or function leadership meeting to ensure they truly reflect performance and that they are applied consistently across the organization.


Professional Services Strengths

When it comes to professional services, the “product” offered to clients is employee knowledge. Thus, most of these companies understand that when you invest in your people, you invest in your product, company and future. Perhaps that is why professional services companies dominated 2015’s 100 Best list with a full 20 companies on the list—more so than in any other year of the list’s history.

Stay Strong

Among the list of strengths that employees at the 100 Best professional services companies reported1


> Strong sense of respect for employees as professionals. > Excellent training and development opportunities. > A belief that leaders are competent, honest, ethical

and communicate a clear vision. > Strong sense of teamwork.

Professional Services Challenges

The 100 Best Companies from the professional services industry have many advantages in that they are naturally predisposed to recognize the value of their people. However, they are up against many of the same challenges faced by others in their industry, including:

• Continually attracting, retaining and developing top talent to create a superior client experience.

• Fostering a work/life balance in a demanding job that often involves travel. • Creating a sense of unity and connection between employees who are in-house

and those who work remotely or travel often.

Key Stats


On average, among the 100 Best Professional Services Companies: • Voluntary Turnover is 11% (U.S. Average is 31%)3

• Employees are offered:

- 18 Paid Days Off after 1 Year Employment

- 33 Paid Days Off after 5 Years Employment

- 15 Volunteer Hours per year (max)

- 56 Training Hours (FT Hourly) - 69 Training Hours (FT Salaried)

• 28% of Execs & Sr. Managers are Female

• 11% of Execs & Sr. Managers are Minorities

• 20% of Partners are Female (for Partnerships)

• 9% of Partners are Minorities (for Partnerships)

• 95% offer Flexible Schedules

• 100% offer Telecommuting Options

• 65% offer Formal Job Sharing

• 90% offer a Compressed Workweek

• 60% offer Phased Retirement

• Applicants per Job Opening: 73

1Source: Great Place to Work® 2015 Fortune List Trust Index© Employee Survey Data 2Source: Great Place to Work® 2015 Fortune List Culture Audit© Data

3Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Professional Services


Alston & Bird LLP

ARI, Automotive



Arnold & Porter LLP

Baker Donelson


Consulting Group

CHG Healthcare


Cooley LLP

Deloitte LLP

Ernst & Young LLP


Kimley-Horn and



O. C. Tanner


Perkins Coie LLP

Plante Moran,



Coopers LLP


Ryan LLC



“My team is like my family, and my superiors are trusted mentors who act with the utmost integrity and honesty. I’ve been offered more money to move to another company, and I vehemently declined. The compensation is more than fair at CHG and the culture and rewarding work makes this career unbeatable.”

— Employee, CHG Healthcare Services

Strategies for Success at the Best Professional Services Organizations

Professional services organizations among the 2015 100 Best Companies:

1. Build a strong shared vision, culture and sense of teamwork across the organization.

Since professional employees are highly autonomous and often work on-the-go, from home and at client sites, creating a sense of teamwork and unity can be challenging. However, the companies that pursue this critical aspect of a great workplace soon find it is a worthy goal that fosters an engaged workforce.

Best Practice: Protiviti keeps employees across their enterprise well-connected via a company intranet that features instant messaging, real-time newsfeeds, social media and client/project sites. Teamwork is fostered by gathering all employees together for regularly scheduled “Day-in-the-Office” (DITO) meetings, fun company events and community service activities.

2. Connect excellent employee experiences to excellent client experiences.

A top priority that many of the professional services firms on the list reported this year is a renewed focus on the client experience, and a positive employee experience was seen as critical to achieving that goal. Whether through providing outstanding training for employees to further their knowledge and expertise, connecting employees more deeply to the purpose of their work with clients, or building on cultural strengths to improve client service, best company leaders in this industry see and nurture this connection.

Best Practice: KPMG recently launched its “Higher Purpose Initiative”—a broad-based campaign that brings the meaning of what KPMG does as it relates to its people, clients and communities to life for associates. In the first week of the campaign, associates submitted more than 5,000 stories demonstrating how, through their work at KPMG, they have made a positive difference in the world. These compelling stories have been shared using a wide variety of media, including electronic, print, video, and social media. The initiative is considered one of the most impactful the

firm has ever undertaken to strengthen people’s feelings of pride in their work. 3. Strive to help employees achieve a healthy work-life balance.

Recognizing that the stressful nature of client work and travel schedules can take a toll on employees, great professional services firms have led the pack in crafting creative solutions to help professionals achieve a healthy work-life balance. According to Great Place to Work® Consultant David Shanklin, “The secret sauce is in working with

managers, frontline staff, and clients to find optimal solutions for balance. Best Companies start with the attitude that ‘this can be done,’ instead of assuming that balance isn’t achievable based on the demands of the industry.”

Best Practice: At Accenture, to reduce traveling employees’ time away from their home cities, the Location Strategy is designed to provide more opportunities for employees to work in the cities where they live. Business benefits include better and longer-lasting client relationships, lower cost to serve, and reduced environmental impacts. From an employee perspective, this strategy helps improve work/life balance and increase retention. Additionally, all client accounts are strongly encouraged to allow traveling resources to work virtually at least one to two weeks per month. 4. Provide high quality employee development opportunities.

Another priority for professional services firms on our list is a commitment to employee development through a variety of means, such as leadership development programs, online training, certifications, mentorships, and more. By investing in the academic and leadership aspirations of employees, these companies add value to their reputation, to their bottom line, and to their clients’ experiences.

Best Practice: PricewaterhouseCoopers offers employees a robust and award-winning in-house training and development program called Genesis Park. The program focuses on developing global leaders and includes mentorships with company leaders, peer coaching, team coaching, and more.


Retail Strengths

Retail is an industry in which sales can be driven as much by the quality of the product as they are by the quality of experience customers have with employees. The retailers on the 100 Best list understand this principle and make it a priority to empower employees to deliver extraordinary customer service. According to Robert Levering, Great Place to Work® Institute Co-Founder and the Co-Author of the 100 Best list: “The relationship between customer service and how employees are treated is clearer in the minds of companies who are recognized as great places to work. They do not treat employees as though they are expendable. These companies are winners in the industry, and other retailers are beginning to notice.”

By working hard to equip and empower employees, retailers on the 100 Best list have been rewarded with employees reporting a number of relative strengths1, including:

• A strong sense of camaraderie with leaders and coworkers.

• A belief that leaders are approachable, accessible and value employees. • Ample opportunities for rewards and recognition.

Management’s Got My Back

Retail employees at the 100 Best are not likely to believe they are

expendable. Eighty-six percent of employees in the retail 100 Best

believe “management would lay people off only as a last resort.”

Retail Challenges

Years of tough economic times and well-publicized customer security breaches are just a few of the external challenges the retail industry has had to fight. However, according to many of the 100 Best Companies in retail, among the greatest challenges in building a great workplace are:

• Creating a sense of connection among employees and consistency in culture across a

vast number of locations.

• Engaging the hearts and minds of part-time employees.

Key Stats


• Voluntary Turnover is 21% (U.S. Average is 32%)3

• Employees are offered:

- 12 Paid Days Off after 1 Year Employment - 27 Paid Days Off after 5 Years Employment - 16 Volunteer Hours per year (max)

- 76 Training Hours (FT Hourly) - 72 Training Hours (FT Salaried)

• 39% of Execs & Sr. Managers are Female • 12% of Execs & Sr. Managers are Minorities • 85% offer Flexible Schedules

• 69% offer Telecommuting Options • 46% offer Formal Job Sharing • 77% offer a Compressed Workweek • 15% offer Phased Retirement • Applicants per Job Opening: 46

1Source: Great Place to Work® 2015 Fortune List Trust Index© Employee Survey Data 2Source: Great Place to Work® 2015 Fortune List Culture Audit© Data





CustomInk, LLC



Nugget Market

Publix Super




Equipment, Inc.


The Container


Wegmans Food


Whole Foods



Strategies for Success at the Best Retail Organizations

Retail organizations among the 2015 100 Best Companies:

1. Invest in store-level managers as key organizational leaders.

A top priority among many of the retailers on our list is to invest in store-level leaders through a comprehensive approach to selection and training. By identifying and developing leaders, and equipping them with the skills to communicate the company vision to coworkers, companies foster unity and place themselves in a position to grow exponentially. In a highly decentralized setting, this attention fosters consistency and keeps the company’s strategic goals, as well as the culture, alive and well in each individual store.

Best Practice: Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) has a variable workforce, with many part-time and seasonal workers spread across more than 30 states. As such, a top priority for leaders is to ensure all employees see how their work impacts the greater whole, and how they fit in. To that end, store management teams are seen as critical to keeping their teams tied to the co-op’s mission, and managers and employees alike are strongly supported through thoughtful and direct communication. Leaders also expect and seek out employees’ voice and give them multiple ways to be heard.

2. Inspire a sense of purpose among employees.

If employees believe they are simply pushing goods over a counter, they will not be inspired to deliver the kind of customer experience that drives sales, stock shares and brand loyalty to new heights. Great workplaces connect employees across stores to a sense of purpose, including the company’s overarching mission and foundational values, as well as its shared goals and vision for the future.

Best Practice: In October 2013, roughly 200 members of Whole Foods Market leadership, Team Members, customers, suppliers and shareholders came together for four intense days of visioning, dreaming, and co-creating goals at “Future Search 2018.” The idea was to get the participants in the mindset of what the world would be like in 2018 and what Whole Foods Market could and would have accomplished by that time by showcasing futuristic-yet-plausible consumer products, and future headlines and magazine covers lauding the good works and achievements of Whole Foods Market in 2018. During this time, participants narrowed down hundreds of ideas and potential future goals for the company into seven major themes, with specific goals attached, which were later reviewed and finalized by the Whole Foods Leadership Network.

3. Recognize and reward employees for their work.

In an industry where profit margins can be fairly low, paying retail employees a high salary is often not feasible. However, there are many creative ways to show employees that their hard work is valued, and the retail companies on our list are masters at recognizing employees for jobs well done. Companies that recognize and reward employees create an environment where people feel appreciated and believe they make a difference.

Best Practice: Publix Super Markets recognizes employees throughout the year for jobs well done. Managers are empowered to reward good attendance, safety, work performance and successful completion of projects. Store and department managers generate excitement and enthusiasm in creative ways. Prizes include plaques, ribbons, t-shirts, and even steak dinners served by Publix executives. Many stores create newsletters to recognize new associates, birthdays, births, marriages and other important occasions

“Management isn’t afraid to let the ‘worker-bees’ know that they are

vital to the organization’s success–that feels really great to hear! We are

gathered and taught every aspect of the company, both good and not so

good. There is total transparency always. L.L. Bean rocks!!”


Your Industry Rocks

Regardless of the challenges your industry faces, YOU have what it takes to foster a great workplace, as long as you are willing to pursue greatness with passion and patience. If your industry is included in this whitepaper, take a moment to review the strengths and practices of the winners and identify areas in your company where you can apply their wisdom.

If your industry was not covered, not to worry, simply make a list of your industry’s strengths and weakness-es and identify areas where you could implement some of the practicweakness-es of the 100 Bweakness-est. You can also give Great Place to Work® Institute consultants a call anytime. We welcome the opportunity to help you develop

a strategy to achieve greatness. After all, companies that become great are not just happy places to work, they are companies that collectively outperform the rest of the market in profitability year after year – a great achievement, if we do say so ourselves.

Practice Makes Greatness

After gleaning some of the practices that the 100 Best employ to achieve greatness, we hope you are inspired to adapt a few (or all) of these powerful practices to fit your culture. To help you get started, try our top seven listed below:

1. Build a strong shared vision, culture and sense of teamwork across the organization. 2. Connect employees to the impact their work has on your company, clients and community. 3. Be transparent. Include employees in cost-cutting and change measures.

4. Promote a sense of work/life balance through creative ideas that fit your culture. 5. Recognize and reward employees for their hard work.

6. Provide professional growth, training and development opportunities.

7. Establish a sense of equity through fair and transparent pay and profit sharing practices.

Pursue Greatness

As a research-driven organization that is highly invested in understanding how ordinary businesses become extraordinary, the Great Place to Work® Institute is always eager to talk to you about your unique

best practices and the results you have achieved. We also have a team of consultants who are ever-ready to help you understand the steps you can take now to transform your workplace into a great one.


1. Google — Information Technology

2. The Boston Consulting Group — Professional Services 3. ACUITY — Financial Services & Insurance

4. SAS — Information Technology

5. Robert W. Baird & Co. — Financial Services & Insurance 6. Edward Jones — Financial Services & Insurance

7. Wegmans Food Markets — Retail

8. — Information Technology 9. Genentech — Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals 10. Camden Property Trust — Construction & Real Estate 11. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants — Hospitality

12. Quicken Loans — Financial Services & Insurance 13. Riot Games — Media

14. David Weekley Homes — Construction & Real Estate 15. Burns & McDonnell — Engineering

16. CHG Healthcare Services — Professional Services 17. W. L. Gore & Associates — Manufacturing & Production 18. NuStar Energy — Transportation

19. Stryker Corporation — Manufacturing & Production 20. Hilcorp — Manufacturing & Production

21. Ultimate Software — Information Technology 22. Workday — Information Technology

23. Baptist Health South Florida — Healthcare 24. Twitter — Information Technology

25. Kimley-Horn and Associates — Professional Services 26. Nugget Market — Retail

27. The Container Store — Retail

28. World Wide Technology — Information Technology 29. Plante Moran, PLLC — Professional Services 30. Baker Donelson — Professional Services 31. Intuit — Information Technology

32. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — Healthcare 33. USAA — Financial Services & Insurance

34. JM Family Enterprises — Manufacturing & Production 35. NetApp — Information Technology

36. ARI, Automotive Resources International — Professional Services 37. Credit Acceptance — Financial Services & Insurance

38. Devon Energy — Manufacturing & Production 39. Atlantic Health System — Healthcare

40. O.C. Tanner Company — Professional Services 41. Alston & Bird LLP — Professional Services 42. Cooley LLP — Professional Services 43. TEKsystems — Professional Services

44. Southern Ohio Medical Center — Healthcare 45. OhioHealth — Healthcare

46. Perkins Coie LLP — Professional Services 47. Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts — Hospitality

48. FactSet Research Systems — Financial Services & Insurance 49. Aflac — Financial Services & Insurance

50. The Goldman Sachs Group — Financial Services & Insurance


51. American Express — Financial Services & Insurance 52. Autodesk — Information Technology

53. Marriott International — Hospitality 54. QuikTrip — Retail

55. Whole Foods Market — Retail 56. L.L.Bean — Retail

57. Houston Methodist — Healthcare

58. Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) — Retail 59. Build-A-Bear Workshop — Retail

60. Scripps Health — Healthcare

61. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta — Healthcare 62. CustomInk, LLC — Retail

63. KPMG LLP — Professional Services 64. CarMax — Retail

65. VMware — Information Technology

66. Novo Nordisk — Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals 67. PCL Construction — Construction & Real Estate

68. Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America — Financial Services & Insurance 69. Texas Health Resources — Healthcare

70. Cisco — Information Technology 71. Cadence — Electronics

72. Navy Federal Credit Union — Financial Services & Insurance 73. Mayo Clinic — Healthcare

74. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP — Professional Services 75. Arnold & Porter LLP — Professional Services

76. Hyland Software — Information Technology 77. Roche Diagnostics — Healthcare

78. Hyatt Hotels Corporation — Hospitality 79. Ernst & Young LLP — Professional Services 80. General Mills — Manufacturing & Production 81. Publix Super Markets — Retail

82. Bright Horizons Family Solutions — Education & Training 83. TDIndustries — Construction & Real Estate

84. Meridian Health — Healthcare

85. Mars, Incorporated — Manufacturing & Production 86. — Retail

87. WellStar Health System — Healthcare 88. The Cheesecake Factory — Hospitality 89. Hilti — Professional Services

90. Adobe Systems — Information Technology

91. Capital One Financial Corporation — Financial Services & Insurance 92. Ryan, LLC — Professional Services

93. Nordstrom — Retail

94. Arthrex — Manufacturing & Production

95. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company — Financial Services & Insurance 96. Activision Blizzard — Media

97. Deloitte — Professional Services 98. Accenture — Professional Services

99. Regeneron — Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals 100. Protiviti — Professional Services


Great Place to Work


is the global authority on trust,

high-performance workplace cultures. Through proprietary assessment tools,

advisory services, and employer branding programs, including Best

Companies lists and workplace reviews, Great Place to Work



the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain,

and recognize outstanding workplace cultures.

In the United States, Great Place to Work


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Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For


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For over 25 years we’ve studied and identified great workplaces—from small startups to some of the best-known multinational companies. A global research and consulting firm operating in 43 countries around the world, Great Place to Work® has surveyed millions of employees and helps create

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