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Is Your Company Among the Top Workplaces of 2017?

Why it’s important to be considered on a list of great places to work. And what to do if you weren’t.

Columbus CEO magazine released its list of Top Workplaces for 2017. Seventy Central Ohio companies made the list. Did yours? If not, why not? Columbus CEO partnered with WorkplaceDynamics to compile the list. Out of 1,000+ companies invited to participate, 113 organizations—and the 26,834 people employed by them—were surveyed. The responses to those surveys were compiled to reveal 70 Columbus-area employers that scored high enough to earn “Top Workplaces” honors.

While being a great place to work should be the ultimate goal for every employer, rankings and ratings like Top Workplaces can be a valuable component of your company’s talent strategy. If you didn’t participate, why not?

We Didn’t Want to Fill Out the Paperwork.

Yeah, I get that. It’s a hassle. And who needs more work? On the contrary, the Top Workplaces survey is administered and analyzed by an independent third party; but the data collected provides a treasure trove of information for bosses and leaders—which makes it well worth the “hassle factor” of being involved. The surveys are designed for employees to show their level of agreement with statements like:

  • I believe the company is going in the right direction

  • My job makes me feel like I am part of something meaningful

  • My manager helps me learn and grow

When your employees answer questions like these, you know exactly where you stand. And you know where you need to focus your attention to improve how your employees experience working for you. Best of all, when you participate in a survey like Columbus CEO’s Top Workplaces, you don’t do the heavy lifting. You get someone else, someone who is expert in the field, to do the work.

Even if you missed participating in the Top Workplaces survey this year, you can get a quick snapshot of your “people practices” without having to survey your employees. Just answers these 10 Key Questions about your workforce and talent to know how you’re doing.

We Don’t Have Time to Do Necessary Survey Follow-up

Yes, you’re right. If you survey your employees but you do nothing with the information, you shouldn’t have bothered to survey them in the first place. Not only does it waste people’s time, but a lack of survey follow-up can sow resentment. The very act of asking the questions implies you care about the answers and that you intend to do something about it. If you have no intention of following through, you’re best to not ask in the first place. But, do you really want to be the kind of employer who doesn’t care about the opinions of its employees? That’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy right there.

We’re Afraid of What We’ll Learn

Yep. This is a big one. If you’re afraid of the feedback—like a gut feeling of impending doom if you ask the questions—that right there suggests you know you’ve got some things to work on. If you survey your people or you don’t survey your people, the issues still exist. You must do something about your “people practices” to make sure you’re getting the most out of your people. Otherwise, by ignoring obvious problems or overlooking gaping holes, you risk [further] alienating your people. Alienated workers become disengaged workers. Just like apples, one disenchanted worker can quickly spoil the whole bunch. That costs you time. That costs you productivity. That costs you customers. You’d best be proactive toward meaningfully addressing your workforce issues.

It’s Just a Popularity Contest

Exactly! While companies don’t pay to be on the list, and there is rigor and research behind the scores, it is a popularity contest. By that I mean you either ARE or ARE NOT identified—in this case—as one of the Top Workplaces in Columbus. Sitting on the sidelines doesn’t confer moral superiority on you. It only means you are absent from the conversation. It’s like not showing up on the first page of a Google search or getting a two-star product rating on Amazon. People pick the top listing. People pick the highest rating. And people—candidates, consumers, whomever—pick the best. If you’re absent, you’re just absent. You are doing nothing but taking a stand against attracting and retaining the people who matter.

You Want to But You Don’t Know Where to Start

While being on a list like Top Workplaces is valuable, actually being a great place to work is an imperative if you are to attract, retain and engage your workforce. Set out to be a great workplace and you’ll reap the benefits of being a great workplace. Implement the “people practices” that make for a great place to work and you can’t help but engage your employees. Engaged employees are more productive employees. Engaged employees are more appealing to customers. All the sudden, you’re an attraction magnet. It’s like doing 10 pushups every day. Eventually, you will be stronger and you will look fitter than you do today. The practice results in the outcome. As WorkplaceDynamics CEO Doug Claffey says, “Fundamentally, we believe engaged employees drive productivity and results.” Effective talent strategies lead to being a viewed as great place to work by your employees. And this leads to a direct and positive impact on your company’s bottom line. Everybody wins!

Andrea J. Applegate is a talent strategist who consults with clients on transforming their workforce into their competitive advantage. Applegate has nearly 20 years of experience in workforce and talent in the Columbus region and has expertise working with both businesses and nonprofit organizations.

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