YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – What makes a company or organization a “Great Place to Work?” There is no one answer, no officially recognized stamp of approval.
In fact, just about any company can be “certified” as a great place to work by going to GreatPlaceToWork.com and contracting with this California company of the same name.
This company’s process begins with its trademarked TrustIndex – essentially an employee survey of working conditions and culture – and leads to its “Great Place to Work Certification,” also a trademarked term that includes an array of PR graphics and tools the customer can employ. According to the company’s website its “vision is for all people to be working at a Great Place to Work – Certified FOR ALL workplaces by 2030.”
Our mission is not as grandiose. We offer no certificates, no impartial testing process such as those employed by Fortune, LinkedIn, trade journals and the countless others in the “best-of” ranking business. Our due diligence amounted to asking our readers to nominate Great Places to Work.
And so they did.
Some employees of local companies used the opportunity to submit short stories and photographs. You’ll see a sampling in the pages that follow. We will publish more of these stories in the next three editions. All nominations are posted online. Go to BusinessJournalDaily.com/category/great-places-to-work.
Many of the nominations consisted of just a few sentences:
“The three owners of Patriot Homecare are each military veterans who have made it their mission to build a company that provides five-star health care here in the Valley,” writes Kevin Root, vice president of the Warren-based company. “This dedication to quality care spills over to the employees and how well they treat each of us. Employees are treated with respect and more importantly, like family.”
“A wonderful family” are the words that Maureen Stenglein, SBA lender at Valley Economic Development Partners, chose to describe the nonprofit agency where she works.
“We are afforded great flexibility, such as the ability to work from home if and when needed. There is wonderful work/life balance, meaning that I can take time needed to tend to my family and still can put in my hours after a normal workday would end.
“We do team building, whether it be having our meetings at a local restaurant on the company or volunteering together. We truly care for and respect each other. And you can’t find that just anywhere,” Stenglein writes.
Common themes emerged from the nearly 50 Great Places to Work nominations we had received at press time: flexibility, work/life balance, a respectful company culture.
Essentially, what employees of local companies told us mirror national trends.
Fortune.com recently reported the results of the Harris Poll, which asked employees how important certain benefits were when considering a new job versus remaining in their current roles. The top five benefits were schedule flexibility, employer retirement contributions, mental health coverage, health and wellness stipends and remote work options.
Another benefit that many employees desire is free snacks and coffee in the office, the poll found. It’s a simple concept and a minimal investment that yields tremendous results.
USA Today reports that providing free food to employees coincides with a nearly 67% job satisfaction rate. Free lunches are considered a “major perk” by millennials in particular, according to the USA Today poll.
As cited by the Society for Human Resource Management, SHRM, nearly 80% of employees leave their jobs because they don’t feel appreciated.
Of course, monetary compensation can make employees feel appreciated. But as SHRM advises, verbal appreciation is as effective as financial rewards in conveying appreciation in the workplace.
Managers, peers, or whole teams showing mutual appreciation contributes to an excellent, welcoming company culture where people feel valued.
That’s a great place to work.