You’ve probably seen businesses in your community that have earned the coveted “Best Place
to Work” award. Even better, perhaps your company has earned this highly regarded distinction!
What makes this award notably prestigious is that it’s based on employee surveys of their own
Over the years, I’ve had numerous clients that have received this award. Using five categories,
here’s a list of initiatives, programs, and ideas that contribute to becoming a Best Place to Work.
1. Support of good health and well-being. Studies have shown that employees who are both
physically and emotionally fit are happier. These employees have fewer absences, produce higher
quality work, and contribute to positive morale.
Some examples of employer funded (or partially funded) initiatives that can generate
improved health and well being: complimentary healthy food in the break room, on site fitness
programs or access to a local health club, work breaks to use fitness facilities, quiet room for
meditation and recharging, and flexible work schedules to accommodate family and personal needs.
Top employers recognize the employee family’s influence in creating a positive work
environment. Special attention is given to including and thanking the family. Activities can include
family picnics and holiday parties, office trick or treating, bring your little tyke to work day, company
newsletters that are mailed to the home, celebration of life’s happy occasions at the office, and
sending restaurant gift cards home as a family thank you. One company owner assists with financial
well being. He offers his staff a complimentary meeting with a financial advisor to learn about
retirement plans, college saving plans, budgeting, and eliminating debt. In addition, he gives his
employees a personal subscription to the Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine.
2. Continuous learning and career development. What employees learn on the job is theirs to
keep forever. That’s why top performers are passionate about furthering their knowledge to advance
their earning potential and careers. Establish a company university. Each employee should be asked
to create a personalized education curriculum. Employers have many options of what to offer
employees. Self-study, in-house training, classes offered by industry associations, complimentary
vendor programs, co-worker instruction, and formal mentor programs should be part of your inhouse
university offerings. Best place to work businesses encourage employee participation outside
the office in Toastmasters, Dale Carnegie programs, and Fred Pryor and Skillpath seminars. Spend
time working with each employee to create a development plan that benefits the individual, your
company, and your clients.
3. Personalized workstations. While standards and procedures need to be consistent
to ensure quality work and outstanding service, individuals have unique preferences that suit
their best thinking, creativity, physical comfort, and productivity. Ergonomic experts can help by
recommending an appropriate office set up. Stand up workstations are becoming very popular.
Choice of chair, desk height, position of keyboard and monitors, and foot stools are just a few things
that can make a huge difference in avoiding discomfort and injury. Personalization can go one step
further. Award-winning workplaces give office-based employees the option to work from home one
or more times a week. Working from home also supports good health and well-being.
4. Commitment to a cause. Participating in something for the greater good improves morale
and encourages teamwork. Some popular volunteer activities include tutoring children, meals on
wheels, senior care centers, Habitat for Humanity, and fund-raising walkathons. Please consider
offering each employee four hours a month to volunteer as they choose.
5. Do fun and silly things. I have several clients who excel in this. Pool and ping-pong tables
that double as meeting tables make for spirited Friday afternoon competitions. A well-equipped
kitchen can be used by employees to make meals together or have cooking classes. Put an oversized
crossword puzzle on the wall for all to work on. Have a table designated for jigsaw puzzles. Host a
talent contest. Start seasonal traditions such as an Easter egg hunt, a Halloween costume contest, or a
chili competition. Ask employees for their ideas for fun and amusing activities and you’ll get dozens
If you’d like your office to become a best place to work, start by implementing one idea from
each of the categories. Once you hear an employee exclaim, “This is a great place to work!” you’ll
know that you’re making a positive difference in the personal and professional lives of your team.
Emily Huling, CIC, CMC, helps the insurance industry create top-performing sales, service, and
leadership organizations. She is the author of Selling from the Inside, Great Service Sells and the
audio program Service Selling Supercharge. Contact Emily at 888-309-8802, www.sellingstrategies.
com or firstname.lastname@example.org.