The most anticipated list of the year has finally arrived. No, it’s not the Triple J Hottest 100, it’s the Great Place to Work list! *Collective cheering, excitable screaming, tears of joy.*
After combing through 163 Australian employers and interviewing over 85,000 employees, Great Place to Work (GPTW) released its 12th annual ‘50 Best Places to Work’ study last month. It highlights the best of the best (according to them) and the data (such as the age, gender and sector breakdown) of top performing organisations.
To make it on this list, organisations had to gain top scores in two separate sections. Firstly, they had to fair favourably in the employee responses to a 58 question survey. This accounts for two thirds of overall weighting – so if you’ve peeved off a whole chunk of your staff with an unpopular policy of late (like forced workplace exercise, YUCK), this would have worked against you. The final third is determined by an evaluation of each company’s policies and procedures across nine specific benchmarks set by GPTW. It’s worth noting that this list isn’t all encompassing. These companies would have put their names forward and likely paid to be involved.
“Enough of this unnecessary filler,” I hear you scream. “Show me what I came here for! I want to read about the top-notch, whiz-bang, crème de la crème of Australian employers for 2019!”
Okay, okay. I hear you. Here’s are the top places to work in 2019 – again, according to GPTW. Assuming you haven’t already scrolled past all this waffle, let’s dive in.
Companies with over 1,000 employees
Background (read: tricking you into more waffle): The average age of staff at top performing companies with over 1,000 staff is 35-40 years old, and the majority of staff are in full-time roles.
Eighty per cent of leaders in these companies are male and 20 per cent are female (no surprises there). The majority (60 per cent) are in the public sector, followed by private companies (30 per cent) and government (10 per cent).
Twenty per cent of leaders in these organisations were founders, 50 per cent were internally promoted and 30 per cent were brought in externally.
Okay, we’re onto the good stuff now. I promise.
Coming in at number one was cloud-based software company Salesforce. Its recognition of its people and its Ohana (family) culture was one of the reasons it held onto the first place title after winning last year. Coming in at second place was Cisco Systems Australia, an information technology company, which was recognised for its mentorship efforts. Hotel chain Hilton took the bronze medal, and the GPTW report also highlighted its recognition efforts.
Interestingly, all top three companies are headquartered in America. Perhaps we should be looking to US companies and emulate their approach? (Then again, maybe not.)
Here are the rest of the top ten:
4) Mecca Brands (retail) Australian HQ
5) MARS Australia (manufacturing and production) US HQ
6) REA Group (Media – radio, television and online) Australian HQ
7) SAP Australia (information technology) German HQ
8) Service NSW (Government agency) Australian HQ
9) Atlassian (information technology/software) Australian HQ
10) Campbell Arnott’s (manufacturing and production) US HQ
Employers with 100-999 staff
Background: The majority of these companies (60 per cent) belong to the private sector. Twenty-five per cent of these company’s leaders were founders and 60 had been internally promoted to leadership roles.
Staff in these organisations are slightly younger on average than the bigger businesses, with the majority of staff sitting between the 26-34 age bracket, and only 5 per cent being over 55.
Healthcare company Stryker took the top spot this year (another US headquartered company). Its employee development programs focusing on female talent, emerging leaders as well as high-potential employees was one of the initiatives that saw it come out on top.
Coming in second was software platform Canva – only one of four Australian headquartered companies in the top five of any list. The company’s creative and fun approach to onboarding, which includes a ‘treasure hunt’ for new staff, saw it take a coveted position on the podium. Yet another information tech/software company, Intuit Australia, took third place, with its progressive approach to employee wellbeing and flexible work highlighted by GPTW.
Here are the rest of the top ten:
4) OMD Australia (Advertising, marketing and communications) US HQ
5) AbbVie (pharmaceutical) US HQ
6) Adobe (information technology/ software) US HQ
7) Envato (online internet service) Australian HQ
8) Optiver (financial services/ banking and finance) Netherlands HQ
9) Nous Group (professional services/consulting and management) Australia HQ
10) Richard Crookes Constructions (construction) Australian HQ
Employers with under 100 staff
Background: Organisations on the smaller end of the scale are overwhelmingly in the private sector (70 per cent), 20 per cent are in the public sector and 10 per cent are partnerships.
Men make up the majority of leaders in these organisations (85 per cent) and, perhaps not surprisingly, 40 per cent of the leaders are also the founders of their business. Again, the average age of staff in these organisations is 26-34 years old.
Queensland-based healthcare business, Avenue Dental’s approach to employee recognition was one of the reasons it was awarded top spot on this list in this category. Two of the more notable features of this: staff who are seen to be exhibiting the company’s values are praised in weekly meetings by everyone giving them finger clicking ‘snaps’ (this sounds like a dumb idea but then my colleague and I discussed it and jokingly did it and it felt kind of good, so know I don’t know what to think) as well as nominating a weekly team player and awarded them a ‘tooth pin’.
Second spot went to LogMeIn Australia, surprise, another information and tech company recognised for, double surprise, another rewards and recognition program! Are you starting to see a pattern? Organisations are making the list for simply thinking of fresh ways to acknowledge staff efforts. For its effective employee feedback approach, IT consultancy Insentra came in third.
And here are the rest of the top ten…
4) Amicus (professional services/ consulting and management) Australian HQ
5) Cobild (construction) Australian HQ
6) SC Johnson & Son (manufacturing and production) US HQ
7) VERSA (advertising, marketing and communications) Australian HQ
8) Atlis Consulting (information technology) Australian HQ
9) Beaumont People (Professional services/ staffing and recruitment) Australia HQ
10) Morgan McKinley (Professional services/ staffing and recruitment) Irish HQ
How you can get on the list
It’s easy to get caught up in thinking your organisation couldn’t grace a list like this – how can you compete with big names like Hilton or Salesforce?
But it’s worth noting that money isn’t the central enabler. This particular list is determined mostly by employee surveys, which means success isn’t about offering some fun perk (or in the case of the tooth pin, a not-that-fun perk). Caring deeply about culture is what makes the best workplaces really stand out. The gimmicks are the visible tip of the iceberg. The huge, less visible efforts are what matter.
Before we go, here are a few previous HRM articles that touch on some of the winning initiatives on this year’s list:
- An innovative approach to mental health
- Incentivising on a budget
- Ten ways to improve your recognition efforts
- Three unique approaches to incentives
- Understanding what motivates your staff
- Create an emotionally agile workforce
- Embrace work/life harmony
- Ideas for making your policies more progressive
- How to take a strengths-based approach to people management
Now you’ve got all the tools you need. We look forward to making a song and dance about your name being on the list this time next year.
If you want to get the full report, you can download it here.