How to Make Fortune’s List of Top Companies to Work For

Happy Employees!Every company should aspire to be a great place to work because it attracts the best talent, boosts morale and increases retention rates. Recently, Fortune Magazine released their 2013 100 Best Companies to Work For list, which is produced by the Great Place to Work Institute and co-authored by Robert Levering and Milton Moskowitz. From their research, it shows that 95 percent of leaders of companies who make the list say that being recognized for their workplace culture positively impacts the bottom line. Intuit came in at number 22 on this year’s list!

During the application process, companies must distribute an employee survey either online or in paper format to a random sample of employees. Two-thirds of the final results are based on the survey, making it extremely important. They do this because your employees make up your culture, and if they aren’t happy, you shouldn’t make the list. The other one-third comes from your HR department, which has to send a list of programs and policies that the company offers. Both of these show how forward thinking the company is and can explain the survey results better.

Here are three things that all of the top companies on the list have in common:

1. They have amazing perks.

Google is ranked number one again this year, which shouldn’t surprise you. They give perks that most people dream about or only get when we go on vacations. For example, Google gave 100,000 hours of subsidized massages in 2012. This year, they added three wellness centers and a seven-acre sports complex, which comes with a roller hockey rink, basketball courts and more. Google uses many of these perks, such as on-site dry cleaning, to keep employees on their campuses working hard and delivering value. Google is their home, and employees are rewarded with free gourmet food everyday. To sweeten the pot even more, they offers free haircuts, on-site medical staff, laundry facilities, and the list goes on.

2. They give you time for “passion projects.”

No one wants to (or should) be confined by their job description. In order to ensure that employees have fulfillment in their careers, smart companies give ample time to focus on passion projects. These projects aren’t just fun and games – they translate into real business value. Intuit allows employees to spend 10% of their time pursuing projects they are interested in. One example was in 2011 when it rewarded its top innovator $1 million in cash and stock for their efforts. These “passion projects” create real innovation at companies, while allowing employees to broaden their horizons and leverage internal assets to become intrapreneurs.

3. They make promises.. and keep them!

I hear employees, many of whom are friends, complain all the time that they were promised a raise, promotion or an extra vacation day. They end up not receiving what they were promised and become frustrated with their job. When employees become frustrated, they immediately start looking elsewhere, which is now a natural part of our economy. Hilcorp Energy Company, which ranks seventh on the list, had a job growth of 47.7 percent and was a newcomer on the list this year. In 2010, Hilcorp promised their staff that if the company doubled its production rate and reserves by 2015, every employees would get a bonus. In the past, they’ve rewarded their employees with a large bonus towards a new car for meeting goals.

Companies that invest in their people retain employees and have happier customers. By changing dated management practices and giving employees perks, even if it’s not monetary, they will appreciate it and look forward to walking into the office everyday.

Dan Schawbel

Dan Schawbel is the managing partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and management consulting firm. His new book, a New York Times best seller, is called Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin's Press) and his previous book, Me 2.0, was a #1 international bestseller.

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