What makes a workplace outstanding? What are the characteristics of a company that motivates, retains, and energizes its workers? For the second year in a row, Winning Workplaces and The Wall Street Journal examine that issue as they name the winners in the 2008 Top Small Workplaces competition. You can read about each of the top 15 companies and view a brief video and slide show to learn about the characteristics and practices that led to their selection. The winning companies were selected from more than 400 entries. Eligible companies included North American firms with less than $200 million in annual revenue, with less than 500 employees, and at least five year track record in business. Companies were scored on such factors as growth in revenue and numbers of employees; the rate of employee tenure and turnover; investment in employees in areas of benefits, training and leadership development; the stability of the work culture as characterized by employee engagement, commitment and innovation; and the level of employee participation in business decisions and in the rewards of financial success.
While the individual profiles are instructive, we call your attention to the collective profile of the companies and the report on benchmarking and best practices that helped to earn the companies a spot on this list. The article is an excellent primer for how to become an outstanding workplace and might serve as a good platform for discussion at your next management meeting. Here’s a brief summary of some of the shared characteristics of the winning companies:

  • They take a long view of their business
  • It’s not just about profits…these firms intend to change society
  • Open communication helps weather the good times and the bad
  • Teamwork — it’s how the work gets done
  • Employee development assures quality execution
  • Workspace matters
  • Employees share in the risks and rewards
  • A focus on well-being, prevention and health builds endurance
  • Through their employees, these firms compete on quality and service

If after reading the article, you think your company has what it takes to be a winner, you can submit a nomination for 2009.


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