Championing a New Era of Great Workplaces FOR ALL
Our world is changing at breakneck speed, and what we considered great, innovative, and groundbreaking 20 years ago no longer holds true. This is the case not only for our technological devices and everyday consumer goods, but for our workplaces, too.
This year’s World’s Best Workplaces represent companies that are leading the charge in a new era of inclusive cultures with strong leaders who motivate, inspire, and reward people for growing themselves and directly impacting business outcomes. These 25 organizations continue to stay ahead of the curve and keep evolving their cultures to meet the demands of the future.
Innovating Client Experiences and Empowering Employees at All Levels
Adobe is well-known for its design-centered approach to its products, supporting people around the globe in creating beautiful work. It does this in no small part due to its tireless commitment to looking at things from its customers’ point of view. That’s why the company created its new Experience-athon events. In each Experience-athon, a product team brings a new or updated product to a group of employees for them to try out. The product team monitors employee reactions, gathers their feedback, and then makes changes to the product or feature to address any concerns. For employees, this experience helps them understand user behaviors for the end user and become better critical thinkers about how to solve customer problems.
One employee shares the value and impact of these events, saying, "Our Experience-athon had three key benefits: For employees, we helped them develop greater customer empathy. For the [product], we surfaced browser-specific bugs and feature requests. And for our next gen business, we generated internal awareness and advocacy. You can't put a price on that.”
Adobe employees are inspired to create experiences that matter.
Adobe encourages innovation at all levels and in all ways, not just during specific events. For example, it supports its interns in exploring their passions and giving them the resources to develop, grow, and make a meaningful contribution to the business. That’s what happened for TJ Rhodes, who started off as an intern and is now the first Hardware Research Engineer on the Adobe Research team—all because he was empowered to try new ideas. From intern to research engineer, TJ has been exploring his passion since he started with Adobe.
Leaders Look to the Future and Inspire Their People
Strong leadership with a clear view of the future and how to get there is a hallmark of a lasting best company. One such leader is Cadence CEO Lip-Bu Tan. Employees at the company reference his inclusive, engaging, and inspiring leadership style as one of the reasons they love working for the company. Challenging projects and rewarding impact go hand in hand with that, because Lip-Bu clearly connects employees’ day-to-day efforts with the company’s overall success.
Proud Cadence employees celebrate its award-winning culture.
Lip-Bu and his Executive Management Team (EMT) share the business strategy and provide regular updates on progress to their people during Cadence Quarterly meetings. When the company launched its new High-Performance Culture framework and its goal to shift to System Design Enablement, senior leaders took great care to ensure strategic cohesion and every level and align every employee to its goals.
This approach has been met with praise from employees, like one team member who shares, “High-Performance Culture really resonated, and I liked how each leader brought it up and connected it back to the business. Very transparent. Well done!”
Newer employees to the culture saw this approach as a breath of fresh air, “I have recently joined Cadence and the quarterly was a wonderful change to my last company's. Thanking and applauding key groups, making an effort to explain the operating results, putting the effort into giving the meeting a theme and giving anecdotes to inspire and motivate. This is highly refreshing to me. Great job!” says one person.
Intentionally Inclusive Cultures Boost Performance
EY is well-known for its efforts around diversity and inclusion, both within and outside the company. It says this about the criticality of diversity and inclusion in fostering a high-performance global culture:
Diversity is about differences, the factors that make each of us unique. Inclusiveness is about leveraging these differences as part an environment where all of our people are valued and can contribute their personal best in every encounter. Our purpose of building a better working world isn’t focused on one industry, one group of people or one geography, and —in our offices across the US and the globe —we seek out and cultivate the future leaders who can collectively turn our vision into reality.
It has been a proud supporter of LGBT rights, advocates for women professionals across disciplines and around the world, and sponsors events like the Paralympic Games. EY is also sponsoring research by the Center for Talent Innovation to examine how race impacts the engagement and retention of people of color at work, particularly Black Americans; whether a lack of communication between management and employees affects trust, commitment and team dynamics; and whether a failure to speak out against discrimination outside the workplace undermines business success.
Inclusion in Action at EY.
One of its programs that promotes an inclusive learning environment where people can learn from each other’s differences is its reverse mentoring program led by its AccessAbilities employee network. Pairs were strategically chosen to optimize learning for the mentees, as well as build valuable career connections for the mentors. A manager who is a wheelchair user, for example, mentored the Toronto Managing Partner so he could better appreciate facilities-accessibility issues as that office plans a major redesign. These partnerships helped participants to understand perspectives other than their own and helped shift behaviors in a positive direction.
Strong Values Help Cultures Thrive
Family-owned Mars has a set of Five Principles (Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency, and Freedom) that form the foundation of everything it does, from business strategy to recognition practices and performance management. These principles form the fabric of the organization and all associates are expected to be carriers and champions of the culture.
One associate shares how the Five Principles have impacted her experience at Mars and her desire to grow with the organization:
When I was looking for a job after college... I wanted to walk into the door of an office and get the same feeling that I got when I walked onto my college campus for the first time –the feeling that I knew I belonged there. Everything in my interview was based on The Five Principles. Coming into the interview, I wasn’t very aware that these Principles could play such a strong role in a single office, let alone a whole company.... It quickly became apparent in the interview how important of a role these Principles played in making sure I was a strong candidate that would eat, sleep and breathe the Five Principles. While on the office tour, I had that feeling of belonging–I envisioned myself here not just for the short term, but for the long haul--with the potential to develop and grow.
People (and pups!) at Mars live by the Five Principles.
One of Mars’ most celebrated programs that captures the essence of its Five Principles is the Make the Difference (MTD) Awards program. MTD celebrates individuals and teams that bring exceptional innovation and initiative to the business in ways that reflect its foundational principles. It reinforces the belief that one person, one idea –no matter how small and no matter what function or segment of the business –can have an important impact on the entire organization and the communities the company serves.
Numbers actually go up when you focus on the people
Around 1999 Marcos Galperin founded Mercado Libre in Buenos Aires, Argentina. At that time, the founding team had one KEY goal: people first always. During the early years the People team, led by Sebastián Fernández Silva, who's still leading the same team although much larger, worked with Great Place to Work to make sure their people were having the experience they had targeted, and results showed, they were one of the top companies in Argentina’s Best Workplaces List.
After that experience they targeted to expand throughout the region, and the business effort and people focus has paid off: they are the number one online trade tool in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. The next goal for them was to be part of NASDAQ, and the same year they became #1 listed company in Argentina where their HQ is, they also entered the NASDAQ100.
It All Comes Down to Trust
For 30 years, we’ve analyzed company cultures all across the world, and no matter the industry, size, or country, an essential element of great workplaces comes down to this: trust. When people trust their leaders and colleagues, innovation soars and financial success endures.
DHL knows that building trust is a two-way street and strives to empower employees to do their best work while maintaining transparency and accessibility at the leadership level. One employee in the UAE notes, “This is a company that really empowers their employees from all levels. Employee voices are 101% being heard. People at the top are very approachable, open to suggestions and 101% willing to help you anytime you need them.”
DHL employees raising the bar for trust.
Trust is so important to this year’s #1 company, Salesforce, that it’s one of their core values. These values aren’t just words or posters on the wall, they are lived day in and day out, modeled by senior leaders and shared by all employees. One team member in the U.S. articulates how the values permeate the business, “Our core values are Trust, Growth, Innovation and Equality. There is a tremendous focus on each and it starts with senior leadership's belief that each employee is a member of the family or as we say 'Ohana' which is a Hawaiian concept for inclusive family (more than just blood relations). All are welcome at Salesforce.”
The World’s Best Keep Bending the Curve, Now and for the Future
Congratulations to the 25 extraordinary companies that made the 2018 World’s Best Workplaces list. These organizations inspire us all to do better for our people, better for our businesses, and better for the world.