The Heart of 100 Best Companies

There’s not a lot of detail in the roster callouts of the 100 Best Companies in this year’s Fortune coverage. Each company’s relevance is presented via  a thumbnail of factors that landed him on this year’s list; the criteria to be listed are highlighted in four categories: paid sabbaticals, compressed work weeks, job-sharing, and on-site child care.


The compilation each year is done by Great Places to Work ). There you see what must be a robust consulting enterprise to help organizations improve their culture. They qualify that those companies listed are there because of “how” their policies, practices and programs are implemented by leadership… and that “how” has more to do with the level of employee appreciation than “what”. I think “why” is important as well. The reason is that the meaning behind the programs, policies and priorities points to the leader’s heart… their True North I call it.

Here’s a sampling of the 100 list quadrant companies and the listing of selected perks (from 3P’s: programs, policies, practices)


#1 Google: CEO Larry Page to employees: “be audacious especially in philanthropy”; the company donates $50 for every five hour volunteer block of time.

# 25 Atlantic Health System: multiple channels of leadership validation

# 50 FactSet Research Systems: 100% healthcare coverage; free breakfast and lunch

#75 Publix Super Markets: 100% employee owned; CEO Ed Crenshaw: “having skin in the game is the bedrock of our company’s success”.


Timeout for little “kindergarten” Maslow analysis (inspired by Robert Fulghum’s wisdom) that will reveal the key to culture inspiration:


Company “perks” Human Need Fulfilled
#1 Google Community outreach Purpose / meaning
#25 Atlantic Health Leadership validation Belonging ( to achievement )
#50 FactSet Research 100% health coverage Belonging ( to family )
#75 Publix Super Markets 100% employee owned Ownership / contribution


Best Places succinctly documents the value (ROI) of a “best place” culture; over the duration of benchmarking best places (1997 – 2013) stock returns are 11.8% for Best Places vs. 6.41% for Russell 3000 and 6.04% for S&P 500


So, in summary, Best Places are intentional about fulfilling the human needs for purpose, belonging and ownership/contribution. That’s inspiring- hence a more fulfilling workplace and, duh, a more robust bottom line.

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