The Great Workplace Era Has Arrived

April 01, 2015

The Great Workplace Era Has Arrived

The Great Place to Work Institute has officially declared the arrival of the Great Workplace Era. Their research director, Ed Frauenheim, wrote about it in Workforce and I’m all ears if it is true. As they see it, “Increasingly, workplaces will make the world better by making people’s lives better.” They should know I guess. The Great Place to Work Institute features the best places to work every year in Fortune and if anyone should know the trends surrounding the changing work place, they should. They cite various indicators such as more people trusting their leaders, liking their colleagues and being proud of what they do. They quote the new CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nardella, as saying, “More than ever before, today’s top talent is not just looking for great work, they’re looking to create a great life and a better world — and their work is part of how they achieve that.”  Despite all this optimism, Gallup has provided evidence that only 13% of employees are engaged at work or our own research which found that only 30% of employees around the world are “deeply engaged” in their jobs. We also found that close to 60% of employees have had to defend their employers from criticism from friends and family. So as rosy as it may seem, we have a lot further to go.

Despite some of these pessimistic signs, the Institute’s report on the new workplace shows how workplace trust has risen in many of the countries where they regularly measure work satisfaction and trust. You can’t argue with that rising tide. They also provide evidence as to why the Institute believes we have finally arrived at the great workplace in the sky. Here are several that call out to me:

  1. CEOs care. I wholeheartedly agree that CEOs now view the workplace as their most competitive asset. When I talk to CEOs, they all realize that their culture is what will deliver their bottom line and help them realize their goals. It is palpable. Reputations are increasingly being built on being a best place to work.
  2. Good workplaces deliver good results. Higher satisfaction cultures lead to higher stock market performance. In the U.S. Best Companies to Work for List, the winners just about doubled their stock market value from 1997.
  3. Millennials care a great deal. Universum’s excellent reporting on this age cohort found that companies with good work-life balance and attention to a greater social good are what matters and where they will seek employment. Today, good workplaces are driving corporate reputations like I’ve never seen before. This generational tide will yield better workplaces for all generations in the near future. If it matters to Millennials, it now matters to us all.
  4. Transparency will keep us all honest. Due to social media and how there is no such thing as a secret anymore, companies have to be transparent. They cannot fool around with poor labor relations and weak environmental impacts. Today’s scrutiny on company practices will only produce better companies for everyone. There is no getting away with bad practices.
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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of reputations.

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