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How to land on a ‘Best Companies to Work For’ list

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

Issue: Various groups publish lists touting the best organizations to work for in the country, region or industry.

Benefit: Landing on such lists can work wonders for your employee-recruitment efforts.

Action: Seek out such "best company" sources, review the top three qualities of companies on the most prestigious list and start implementing the requisite practices.

To attract top-quality applicants, you want to make your organization a desirable employer. One key way to do this: Earn your place on one of the many "Best Companies to Work For" lists, which are published by various groups.

The leader: The Great Places to Work Institute, which compiles Fortune magazine's well-known annual "Best Companies" list and recently unveiled its inaugural "Best Small & Medium Companies to Work For" list. (See

But landing on these lists isn't magic; you must run through a nomination process and pay an application fee. The "Great Places" fee, for example, runs about $1,000.

You don't need to win selection on a big national list. Here are other options:

Business groups. Professional associations, chambers of commerce and local business journals often tout the best places to work for in an industry or region. For example, the American Psychological Association recently handed out awards for the best "psychologically healthy" workplaces.

State and federal agencies. For example, Utah's work force department selected the 10 most family-friendly workplaces. And the federal government recognizes the "Best Workplaces for Commuters" in various cities (

Learning from the winners. So why do some organizations make these lists and others don't? Robert Levering, co-author of Fortune's list, says it all boils down to one word: trust. Employees must trust the people they work for. His three components of trust:

1. Credibility. Employers must keep their promises, provide good two-way communication and promote vision and optimism.

2. Respect. Employers show constant appreciation, seek employee collaboration, provide the right tools and accept honest mistakes as learning experience.

3. Fairness. Rewards are shared equitably. Decisions are made based on goals, not politics.

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