No Surprise: Fortune’s “Best Companies To Work For” Also Some of the Most Successful

Fortune magazine and Great Place to Work just released their 18th annual “100 Best Companies To Work For.”

One trend to emerge from the survey was that more businesses are seeing a positive workplace culture as a strong competitive tool. The numbers bear this out. The survey shows that a positive work environment increases employee retention rates, and a more friendly work environment helps significantly increase employee productivity.

For small businesses that do not have the resources of large companies like Google to reward employees with big pay increases and generous benefits, here are suggestions to boost employee morale at little or no cost:

–Catch your employees in the act of doing something right—acknowledging your employees when they do something right is a far more successful than only commenting with them when they do something wrong.

–Your employees are only as good as you are—your employees will show up on time, have a good attitude, approach problems early and pitch in when needed if you encourage and support this behavior. Like attracts like.

–Keep employees on track and happy with clear direction – communicate employee duties and responsibilities clearly so they know what is expected of them.

–Right resources, right results – make sure your employees have the tools, training and sufficient time to accomplish their tasks and meet company goals.

–Fix the problem, note the blame – success does not come without bloopers and failures. When an error occurs, set your employees up for success by valuing their efforts to do better, not berating them for the failure.

–Increase employee success with regular, targeted feedback – an employee should never be surprised by a year-end review.

–All work and no play makes for unhappy workers—create an open, informal work environment, where work is not taken too seriously all the time.

The survey noted that since it began in 1998, the top 100 companies have outperformed the S&P 500 Index by a nearly 2 to 1 ratio and the 12 companies that have made the list every years since the survey was first published have created 341,567 new jobs.

The companies come from all industries—tech, retail biotechnology, financial services, real estate, energy, food services, manufacturing, healthcare and hospitality. This proves that the formula of treating employees with respect and appreciation and giving them the right tools to succeed cuts across all types of businesses. There is absolutely no excuse for a business to not use this model.

The survey asked employees about pay and benefits as well as workplace culture issues such as hiring practices, internal communications, training opportunities, recognition programs and diversity efforts. Google holds the top position for 2015 survey–for the sixth time in eight years.

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