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What Makes a Company One of the Best Places to Work?

culture employee engagement leadership Feb 02, 2016

"How are their financials?"

A question I repeatedly get from investors, landlords and owners of commercial real estate portfolios, as they look to assess the strength of my client’s company.

Strong financial performance has always been the primary indicator of solid companies.

Of course, a company's financial health is vitally important, but what makes a company GREAT?  What makes it one of the best places to work?

These questions continually fascinate me.

A company’s “makeup” is crucial to their success as people are drawn to organizations that bring out the best in them as humans. Employees care more about the mission and purpose of an organization than they do about the overall financial health of the company.

Great leaders obsess over their people, their culture, and the overall well-being of their companies because if they get it right, strong results usually follow.

So what are these humanlike characteristics?

Here are 4 traits of what makes a company a great place to work.

Download a PDF version if you'd like a copy with all the following referenced articles, along with my highlights.

They are Authentic


Every organization has its core essence. It emerges during its first few years, out of the chaos of millions of micro-interactions between teammates and between the organization and its market environment. It’s rare that organizations understand their own essence, and align every person, every process, every product decision, every customer support interaction to that essence. Doing so is extremely difficult. But it’s necessary to achieve the level of coherence required to do great things together. Which helps explain why true greatness is rare."

Read More from this article and follow Justin Rosenstein, creator of Asana.

They offer Challenge


One way for managers to apply the lessons of flow is by deliberately looking for ways to challenge employees and by assigning them projects that are just beyond their current skill level. Sure, doing the same tasks over and over might make your employee more efficient. But that’s not the same thing as keeping them engaged. Flow comes through growth, not stagnation."

See More from this LinkedIn Post and follow, Ron Friedman, author of The Best Place To Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace

They are Culturally Distinctive

Leaders and HR managers can borrow the principles of good marketing to create a culture that’s more distinctive—one that will attract and retain the right people. Leaders should start by identifying the specific cultural dynamics that will produce the results they desire, and then clearly articulate and actively cultivate them. By doing so, they create a powerful edge in the war for talent—one that’s often more powerful than pay, and one that directly drives performance. People thrive in a culture that fits them, creating a self-reinforcing upward cycle."

Read the full Article and follow Denise Lee Yohn, author of What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest

They contribute to Society

Social Conscious

In other words, I think they are more human by being more socially and environmentally conscious.  That is my interpretation from a quote from Jack Welch's post, "Six Ways to Tell if you Work for a Really Great Company."

Great companies understand that what is good for society is also good for business. Gender, race, and nationality are never limitations; everyone’s ideas matter. Preferred employers are diverse and global in their outlook and environmentally sensitive in their practices. They offer flexibility in work schedules to those who earn it with performance. In a word, great companies are enlightened. "


Download a PDF version if you'd like a copy with all the above referenced articles, along with my highlights.

If you are leading a great company, let me know if you agree with these characteristics above or what other trait you would add.  If you think your organization is one of the best places to work, let me know your thoughts.

Feel free to comment below or contact me on LinkedIn.