The top 50 Best Places to Work in Australia list for 2015 is out and reveals some familiar names alongside some new entrants into the top five places. The BRW list is divided into two groups: companies comprised of more than 100 employees and companies with fewer. Atlassian nabbed pole position for the second year running in the first category.
The software development company has grown rapidly in Australia from around 100 employees to more than 600, and it boasts a company culture that routinely rewards and recognises its staff with ‘kudos’ cards for a job well done and embodying company values. HR is responsible for sending out a gift and these handwritten kudos cards. Around 11 per cent of staff are rewarded, according to the company.
Women are in a minority at Atlassian, however, making up only 14 per cent of the workforce, whereas at retailer Mecca Brands, in second place on the list, they comprise 96 per cent of the workforce with 95 per cent in supervisory or senior management roles. Staff are given independence and authority to be responsive, to treat the store like it was their own and make decisions that “break the rules” if it achieves a positive outcome for their customers.
At the top of the list of best places to work with less than 100 employees is advertising and media company Um. Interestingly, their CEO Mat Baxter declared to their board that it was one of his goals to achieve this title when he took over in 2010. Every year since then the company has climbed up the chart, which shows what can be achieved when leadership is committed to improving workplace culture.
Among their initiatives are fortnightly all-staff meetings, a ‘wall of excellence’, an annual superstar award to a top employee, free vouchers for local cafes and bars and “Goodness Days” where teams take a day out every quarter to deliver something positive to the local community. Based in NSW, Um scores well on gender diversity as well. “It’s very rare now for somebody to get poached by a competitor,” Baxter told BRW.
The only recruitment company to feature in the top 50 is Wavelength International. With 67 employees, Wavelength is Australia’s largest and most successful medical recruitment agency. A generous remuneration and commission scheme and paid parental leave as well as a commitment to work-life balance, flexibility around weddings and overseas trips, and an internal mentoring program have all helped ensure loyalty among Wavelength’s employees.
According to Zrinka Lovrencic, MD of Great Place to Work Australia, it’s no coincidence that top placed organisations are also extremely profitable and successful. “Research by our firm definitively shows that the best places to work outperform their competitors. There is an absolute ROI when companies invest in creating a high-trust workplace culture,” she says.