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How to Build a Great Place to Work

great place to workMany organizations are wrangling for "great place to work" status these days.  Organizations that achieve this public distinction are rewarded with deeper talent pipelines and, assuming their hype is well earned, higher employee retention as well.  In fact, the number one source of visits to Kronos' careers page is the multiple best place to work lists we've landed on around the world.

I recently had a conversation with two of my fellow Workforce Institute board members about what it takes to create a “best place to work”.   I was joined by Dan Schawbel, bestselling author and founder of, a research and advisory membership service for HR professionals. Our trio was complete with  Sharlyn Lauby, whose official title is President of the training and HR consulting firm ITM Group, also known as The HR Bartender.

You can't make one of these lists without first having a great culture - after all, it's the employee surveys that ultimately determine if your company's name will appear on a list. So what's the secret ingredient for building an award-winning culture?  You can listen in to our podcast below to hear our panelists responses to these and other questions:

  1. Peter Drucker famously said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” What do you think about Drucker's assessment that culture is more important than strategy; and is there data that backs up his claim?
  2. Sites like Glassdoor have made it nearly impossible for organizations to hide their cultural identity, for better or for worse. And the rise in best places to work competitions have certainly made an impact on the job-seeker's mindset. How can companies ensure they are featured favorably on these listings?
  3. Human Resources and Public Relations departments have bought into the importance of landing their company on these culture award lists. But good PR aside, has the C-suite bought into the concept of actually creating a great place to work?
  4. If a company is leveraging social media as part of their communications strategy, it's typically overseen by the PR or marketing team. But how can HR departments harness social media to mobilize their engaged employees to spread pride about where they work?
  5. When people hear that a company is a “Great Place to Work” they may have visions of ping pong tables, dogs in the office, beer service at 5 o'clock, and so on.  What are the important elements of a Great Place to Work strategy that resonate across the ENTIRE employee base regardless of industry, age, sex, religion, et cetera?
  6.  If there is ONE thing organizations can focus on that will increase their engagement scores and Glassdoor rating, what would it be?

Click on the podcast link below to hear our conversation.  And add your comments - what makes your workplace a great place to work (or not?)


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