What Makes a Company a Great Place To Work: 15 Things

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What Makes a Company a Great Place To Work: 15 Things

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated June 22, 2022 | Published January 22, 2021

Updated June 22, 2022

Published January 22, 2021

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A group of four employees chats in an office while sitting and standing.

A good employer makes going to work each day fun, rewarding and challenging. When searching for jobs, look for companies with happy employees, good benefits and a positive company culture. These are signs of a great place to work.

In this article, we list 15 things that make a company a great place to work so you can identify them during your job search.

What makes a company a great place to work?

A great place to work cares about and supports its employees while also challenging them to grow with the company. At these companies, managers and their employees trust and respect each other and have a shared commitment to both individual and company success. Great companies try to meet their employees’ financial, mental, physical and emotional needs. As a result, employees are often more productive, satisfied and willing to stay at the company long term.

Related: Top 100 Remote Work Companies to Watch in 2022

15 characteristics of a great company to work for

When researching a potential employer or interviewing for a job, ask questions about company culture, and look for signs the organization is a great place to work. Great companies to work for often share these 15 characteristics:

1. Competitive compensation

A company that cares about its employees provides them with appropriate salaries and benefits. They pay wages that allow employees to live comfortably based on the cost of living in that area. The company might offer creative benefits in addition to traditional health insurance and retirement savings, including:

  • Profit-sharing

  • Bonuses

  • Stock options

  • Free meals

  • Wellness programs and free gym memberships

  • Free counseling

Competitive compensation not only attracts talented employees but helps companies keep them.

Related: A Complete Guide to Competitive Pay

2. Company culture

Company culture is an organization and its employee’s shared values, attitudes and behaviors. A company’s core values might include honesty, self-improvement or communication. Factors that contribute to a company’s culture include:

  • Work hours

  • Location

  • Communication

  • Management style

  • Benefits

  • Traditions

  • Transparency

  • Workplace rules and procedures

When you work for a company with a positive company culture or values and attitudes you share, you might be more engaged, satisfied and productive.

Related: Guide To Company Culture

3. Community

Great companies form a community around their employees, with a common vision and support for everyone’s goals. Companies with community atmospheres might do things like:

  • Celebrate milestones and special events.

  • Offer profit sharing or performance-based bonuses.

  • Avoid laying off employees.

  • Changing an employee’s role to better fit their skills.

When employees work as a community, they share in the good times as well as the challenging ones.

4. Trust

In healthy work environments, managers trust their employees to work hard and make good decisions, employees trust business leaders to support and guide them, and colleagues trust each other to work toward shared goals. Signs of a company whose employees and leaders trust each other include:

  • Flexible work hours

  • Remote work options

  • Unlimited paid time off

  • Transparent financials

A trustworthy team is motivated to work hard and is engaged and satisfied with their jobs.

Related: Why Trust Matters in the Workplace (Plus Tips for Building It)

5. Fairness

In a fair workplace, employees feel like they receive adequate compensation and have the same opportunities as their colleagues. Employees are also less likely to encounter politics, bias and favoritism in a company that practices fairness. Signs of fairness in the workplace include:

  • Unbiased promotions

  • Equal recognition and rewards

  • Equal distribution of tasks

  • Regular and open feedback

  • Two-way performance reviews

Employees are more likely to work as a team if a company treats everyone equally and fairly.

Related: 16 Examples of Important Workplace Policies

6. Communication

Open communication creates trust in the workplace and prevents misunderstandings. Signs of effective and transparent communication include:

  • Employee engagement surveys

  • Conversations between managers and employees

  • Company or financial status updates

  • Managers and employees who regularly ask for feedback

  • Approachable leadership

Look for a company that encourages constant communication and considers employee feedback when making decisions.

Related: Communication Skills for Career Success

7. Innovation

Companies that are constantly creating new products, strategies and workflows can be exciting places to work. Innovative companies encourage employees to take risks, share ideas and make suggestions. As a result, employees are motivated and proud of their work, and the company has more opportunities to grow and succeed. Look for a company that is a leader in its field and where employees feel safe sharing their ideas with management.

Related: 7 Steps for Becoming More Innovative at Work

8. Professional development

A company that invests in its employees helps them grow professionally. A great place to work might offer employees professional development opportunities such as:

  • Time off or money toward pursuing a new degree

  • Membership in professional organizations

  • Free continuing education opportunities such as seminars, conferences and classes

  • Skills or management training

These benefits give employees ways to learn, grow and advance their careers.

9. Engagement

Great companies often have engaging workplaces where employees are invested and interested in the outcome of their work. They believe in the company’s mission and work to achieve shared goals beyond sales or profits. Further, company leadership is involved and engaged with the organization’s daily operations and responsive to questions and ideas.

Related: 10 Employee Engagement Ideas for 2022 (With Examples)

10. Caring

Great companies to work for care about their employees and show it. Ways companies care for their employees include:

  • Providing generous maternity and paternity leave.

  • Hosting stress-relieving activities such as yoga classes or meditation sessions.

  • Sending messages of encouragement to employees during difficult times.

  • Creating safe and comfortable workspaces.

  • Supporting healthy habits such as nutritious diets and regular exercise.

  • Giving employees time and space to take breaks during work.

A caring work environment improves morale and motivation and makes employees feel appreciated and valued.

11. Desirable employer

If working for a particular organization is a dream job for most people in your industry, then that company is likely a great place to work. Look for companies that are competitive and trusted brands. Research whether an organization has won awards for best workplace in your industry or region. Great companies are highly attractive to talented employees, and people typically stay there long term.

12. Transparency

Companies that are transparent in their challenges, successes and daily operations can earn their employees’ trust and commitment to solving problems and achieving goals. Signs of a transparent organization include:

  • Regular meetings or updates on the company’s problems and successes

  • An open-book management style in which the company’s leaders share financial and other important information with all employees

  • Leadership that asks for employee feedback or ideas when overcoming financial, operational or strategic challenges

  • Approachable and accessible management

In a transparent work environment, everyone’s opinion has value, and everyone shares in the company’s status.

Related: How To Be Transparent in the Workplace

13. Honorable mission

Employees typically take pride in working for companies that offer value or make a difference in the community. Companies with honorable missions might include:

  • Nonprofits

  • Products or services that add value to the world

  • Organizations with goals beyond earning money

  • Businesses that give a certain amount of employee time or company profits to a meaningful cause

People often feel good about the company they work for if they believe their work has meaning.

14. Leadership

Employees generally enjoy working with confident, effective and fair leaders. Good leadership not only helps companies succeed financially but also keeps employees engaged, motivated and goal-driven. Effective managers treat their employees like adults, encouraging them to make decisions and work independently. They also respect their employees, ask for feedback and recognize people for quality work and positive contributions.

15. Diversity

Great places to work generally embrace employees of all experience levels, backgrounds and beliefs. They understand the value of a diverse team and make efforts to hire a variety of people. A workforce with many perspectives is more likely to produce exciting ideas and creative solutions. A diverse workplace is also welcoming to new hires and supportive of its people.