The September issue of Prairie Business magazine includes the results of our Best Places to Work contest.
We’re also sharing some of the insights we’ve learned throughout the survey process regarding what it takes to make a workplace great. From flexible workdays to in-house fitness centers and paid time off for service missions, the 50 companies you’re going to read about represent a diverse number of ways businesses can boost their employee recruitment and retention strategies. In an area with extremely low unemployment and rapid economic growth, we’re happy to share some of their stories with you and recognize them for making employee happiness and well-being a priority.
Having never conducted a contest of this type before, we weren’t sure what to expect but we were blown away by the outpouring of responses we received. Nearly 2,000 surveys were submitted and more than 100 companies received nominations. We sincerely thank every employee who took time to participate and share with us why they like their workplace. We look forward to making this contest an annual event and hope to expand it in future years to include nonprofit groups and other niche categories.
Creating a successful culture is certainly worthy of recognition. As Tonya Stende, president of Dale Carnegie Business Group of North Dakota, points out, creating and implementing a truly successful culture initiative is a lifetime commitment for management. It’s also a financial commitment on behalf of the company. But, if done right, good company culture more than pays for itself in the long-run. Studies have proven that satisfied employees are more productive and more likely to stick with their employer.
Many of the comments on surveys we received confirmed what leadership experts have been preaching for years — salary is not the most important aspect of a job. While pay increases are certainly always appreciated, higher pay rarely topped employees’ wish lists when asked what improvements could be made to make their jobs better. They were much more likely to cite issues that culture initiatives could address, such as relationships with their managers, belief in leadership and pride in their workplace. Contributing writer Rob Swenson covered the employee perspective in his article, “What Employees Really Want,” and reported on several of the issues commonly mentioned in survey responses. Some, such as workforce shortages, are regional issues and not quickly solvable by companies. Others, such as recognition for good performance and input in company decisions, can be resolved fairly easily by making those items part of the company culture.
As you read this issue, I hope that you will think about your company culture and perhaps implement a few tweaks to the initiative if you recognize a need, or pat yourself on the back if you recognize your company in the comments about what makes a workplace great. We all spend a great deal of time at our workplace. Let’s enjoy it.