How to Make Your Company a Best Place to Work

They’re an annual event with as much fanfare as the Oscars or the Grammys—the vaunted Best Places to Work lists.

Want to make your company a best place to work? Of course you do. The winners of regional or national honors are quick to cite the fact in all of their recruiting campaigns, and those awards definitely help attract and keep employees.

If you’re already hitting all the fundamentals like communicating well with employees and taking good care of their compensation, congratulations!

But if you really want to wow your team enough to hang a Best Place to Work banner in the lobby, check out this list. These are some of the innovative steps companies often take while racking up years of honors and helping their employees fall in love with their workplaces.

1. Company Lunches

Who doesn’t love free food? Throw a monthly or quarterly lunch to show your team appreciation. You wouldn’t believe how many relationships are started and memories made in this way.

2. Company Staff Meeting

Yes, you already have plenty of meetings. But how often do you gather with everyone in your company in the same place? Massive feelings of unity and recognition can spread when you invite the whole team to meet up. Depending on the size of your organization, a weekly or monthly staff meeting will go a long way in fostering communication, visibility and enthusiasm across the organization. Use the time to share wins, cast your vision, and celebrate what’s happening around the company. Even if you can do so only once a month, everyone will appreciate the effort to communicate what’s going on.

3. Community Service Time

Everyone likes their vacation time, but here’s another perk that can be even more rewarding. When you give employees time off to volunteer with a nonprofit or ministry, you demonstrate your commitment to investing in their development as well as the community where you do business.

4. Talent Showcases

From battles of the bands to lip sync contests, you have a lot of ways to let your workers show off their talents and compete. Stage these during lunch hours and provide your whole company with an entertaining show.

5. Off-site Gatherings

Sometimes the members of a team or committee need a change of venue to get a new perspective on a project. If they have the option of leaving the office for a day’s work, they’ll know how much you trust and value their abilities and talents. Providing a meal to fuel their work can make an off-site even more productive and memorable.

6. Celebrate Company Goals

You can’t assume everyone who works for you is aware of your company’s latest best-seller or marketing homerun. Draw attention to your wins with intranet posts, internal newsletters or in a regular staff meeting.

7. Handshakes and High Fives

They say you can live for months on a single compliment. People love knowing someone noticed their work and that it’s appreciated. This is a simple principle that’s too often overlooked. When someone’s done a great job, acknowledge it quickly in an email, face to face or even with a spontaneous cash gift.

8. Positive Reviews

Obviously you’ll need to correct employees from time to time. But don’t wait to do so until their annual evaluation time. Instead, keep those yearly check-ins super upbeat. This is not the time to surprise an employee with bad news. If you’re diligent to correct issues as they arise, you’ll be able to look forward to showering team members with an hour of praise when it’s evaluation time.

9. Celebrate Work Anniversaries

And speaking of annual check-ins, the praise shouldn’t be limited to a small meeting in your office. When an employee completes another year of service, make a big deal about it! After all, they’ve made a big contribution to your company. And they’ll love seeing a “Happy Anniversary” sign or balloons on their desk when they get to work.

10. Increase Employee Check-Ins

This corresponds with the practice of keeping annual reviews positive. Course correction should never be a surprise, and your employees would rather hear as soon as possible that they’re falling short of expectations. Be intentional about meeting one on one more than just once a year with those reporting to you. The more often the better—some companies have a 90-day or even monthly one-on-one check-in to touch base outside of the annual review.

11. Weekly Surveys

You can use any of several online survey services to conduct short and simple weekly surveys of your team. These are great for measuring mood, stress, work volume and morale. Be sure to include a comments box where employees who wish to do so can provide more details on how things are going in their world.

12. Incentivize Your Benefits

Sure the benefits are valuable in themselves, but there’s nothing like a “Biggest Loser” contest, walk-a-thon championship or carpool club to spur participation in wellness. The prospect of a prize will drive engagement.

13. Photo Directory

If you’re small, a bulletin board of actual photos works great. If you’re larger, photograph team members during onboarding and post them online so team members can easily identify each other.

14. Free Coffee and Snacks

Again, free food is an easy and obvious perk. A full and caffeinated team is a busy and happy one.

15. Company-Wide Publication or Newsletter

It’s an easy way to provide everyone with quick updates on what’s happening around the company in terms of sales, products and employee wins.

Chances are you already follow some of these practices with your team. See how many more you can fit into your company’s framework. These are the kinds of activities and milestones that will have employees raving for years about your excellent company culture. Then get ready to unfurl that Best Places banner.

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