Ten Great-Place-to-Work Conference Takeaways

I’m still relatively new to this blogging business but regular readers will have already figured out my dual (and not unrelated) professional commitments:

  • writing that communicates in the most powerful and effective way possible and
  • organizations that are fabulous places to work.

Today’s brief post centers on the latter. Here are ten  things I took away from last week’s “Great Place to Work” conference (sponsored by the Great Place to Work Institute, of course) in Atlanta. (The company presenting  each tidbit is credited in parenthesis):

  • Work is the fifth most important thing in employees’ lives, after (in order) their roles as parents, as spouses, as friends and as members of their religious communities. (Bright Horizons,  apparently based on research by Peggy Thoits.)
  • Storytelling is a critical element of culture and it works best when it’s plastered across your walls (or better yet, scrawled there by employees.) (Kahler Slater)
  • An organization’s mission matters most when every single employee recognizes his or her role in it—like the woman on the Mayo Clinic’s housekeeping staff, whose job includes disinfecting surfaces in patient rooms. She told a television reporter (apparently without prompting) that her job was  “saving lives.” (Mayo Clinic)
  • Companies can put together some pretty darn impressive videos.  (Corollary: I can never pack too much Kleenex.)
  • A successful business doesn’t get there by cajoling and coercing people to get things done. It gets there by hiring great people, then stepping out of their way. (W.L. Gore) 
  • Organizational values are just words on paper. Defining the behavior that represents the value is what makes it come to life—even for engineers. (Novozymes) 
  • The folks at DreamWorks get free breakfast, lunch and dinner. And they get to work at Dreamworks. (DreamWorks) 
  • It’s much better to share too much information with employees than too little. (Whole Foods) 
  • Employees get a kick out of managers who are willing to make fools of themselves. (CarMax) 
  • Breakfast sandwiches are better when eaten hot. (Robin Hardman Communications)

How are things at your workplace?

I’m lucky: my boss (here at Robin Hardman Communications) is letting me take next week off to visit some colleges with my son. The following week, I’ll be in Phoenix for the Alliance for Work-Life Progress (AWLP)’s “un-conference.”

It being the twenty-first century, I’ll have my various electronic devices with me during these trips. So don’t be afraid to contact me if you have questions or need anything at all. It may be a few weeks until my next blog post, though.  If you want to be notified when the next one arrives, just click on the “follow” button in the column to the right.


One thought on “Ten Great-Place-to-Work Conference Takeaways

  1. Great takeaways Robin. I’m interested in the importance of being connected to the mission or purpose of the organization. It makes an enormous difference in employee outcomes, and yet so many organizations don’t have good mission statements that are communicated to the workforce!

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