Great Workplaces Work Better

Every year now since 1980 Fortune magazine has published a 100 Best Companies to Work for. The secret to making the list was published back in 1980, “The key to creating a great workplace, is not a prescriptive set of employee benefits, programs and practices, but the building of high-quality relationships.

Every Business is a “Relationship Business”

As knowledge is becoming nearly completely commoditized, the most valuable people today are increasingly “relationship workers.” It just makes sense that when a company also creates systems, operations and a culture that also supports those relationships they more often succeed. Furthermore, the employees then follow that lead in their relationships with each other, and most importantly, reflect that back to their clients. It’s a win, win, win.

Personal—Not Perkonal

It’s relationship-based, not transaction-based that matters most. Reaching people at a level that goes well beyond corporate benefits and cool offices leads to strong relationships, cohesive teams and great work. Astoundingly, many employers still don’t get that.

Thinkers and creators are what’s valued most in this marketplace. Knowledge is commoditized. Team building, collaboration and cultural sensitivity are most important. The most effective teams don’t have the highest IQs, but members who are most sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others.

Reputation Matters

Money magazine’s survey noted that “having a reputation as a great place to work” was the most important factor to professionals when considering a new employer. Remember that today your reputation is splattered all over the Web for all to search and see. Every post, every interaction is part of your image, so make sure you uphold it.

Be Engaged

Once they are there, how do you keep employees fully engaged? Be small to start with. Employee engagement is highest in the smallest companies:

42% are engaged with only 5% actively disengaged in companies size 1-10 employees

Only 29% are engaged and 20% actively disengaged in companies size 5,000+

People Really Are the Greatest Asset

The age-old trend that human capital is growing more valuable in every business, is no longer a trend. It is an ongoing state of the workforce. Fortune’s article states, “Intangible assets, mostly derived from human capital, have rocketed from 17% of the S&P 500’s market value in 1975 to 84% in 2015, says the advisory firm Ocean Tomo. Even a manufacturer like Stryker gets 70% of its value from intangibles; it makes replacement knees, hips, and other joints loaded with intellectual capital.”

The Net Net

This all adds up to the companies with the best workers win. Not only is everyone happy, but they’re more profitable also. Fortune’s 100 Best really do outperform other companies as investments. Fortune states that, “analysis of the publicly traded firms in the rankings from 1984 through 2009 by Wharton’s Alex Edmans found that a portfolio of 100 Best Companies exceeded its expected risk-adjusted return by 3.5% a year. That’s what Wall Street calls alpha, and 3.5% annually over 25 years is a stupendous performance.”