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5 People and Culture Lessons from the World’s Best Workplaces

Posted by Devika Hastak

May 17, 2024

Explore what the best workplaces are doing differently and how your business can benefit from their teachings.

On average, we spend 90,000 hours at work throughout our lifetime—nearly one-third of our lives spent at the workplace. It’s no wonder, then, that we place such high value on workplace culture. An entire methodology is used to determine a new list of the 100 best companies to work for each year. But why does a good workplace culture matter, and what exactly defines ‘good’?

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Great Place to Work, the leading experts in workplace culture, define a great workplace as ‘one where employees trust the people they work for, have pride in what they do and enjoy the people they work with.’ Data shows that companies with the best workplace cultures perform four times better than the market. A strong company culture attracts top talent to your organization, keeps employees engaged and satisfied, aligns everyone towards a common goal, and improves business outcomes. On the other hand, poor workplace culture can impact a person’s well-being, significantly affecting their performance, the company’s bottom line, and retention rates.

So, let’s explore what some of the best workplaces in the world are doing differently and the lessons we can learn from them. Hint: everything goes back to building a foundation of trust.

Some of The Best Workplaces in The World

Each year, Great Place to Work surveys over 7 million employees from companies in the United States on their workplace experiences. They use their trademarked Trust Index survey to gather data on behaviors that drive trust in leadership, connection with colleagues, and loyalty to the company. Based on over 1 million survey results as well as detailed culture briefs from each company, they curate a list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For, which, in 2024, includes:

  • Hilton
  • Salesforce
  • American Express
  • Walmart
  • Edward Jones
  • Deloitte
  • Comcast NBCUniversal
  • Adobe Systems Incorporated
  • Accenture

Read on to learn what makes the culture at these companies so special. With support from experts in HR services for SaaS companies, venture capital firms, and consumer brands, you can also adopt HR best practices that help enhance work culture and employee experience.

5 Workplace Culture Lessons We Should Learn

When you go down the list of the best workplaces in the world, you notice a common theme across all of them. Each of them strives to create an environment that fosters trust and prioritizes their most valuable assets, their employees, above all else. Explore these five essential lessons from these coveted employers and determine ways to utilize them in your company.

     1. Build a Foundation of Trust

Great workplaces focus on building high-trust cultures because they recognize the resilience this can build in a company. Employers who prioritize laying a foundation of trust notice happier, more productive employees and better business outcomes. Trust is especially vital today, where new technologies are transforming workplaces. For example, suppose employees trust that their leaders will use AI to create a better, more equitable work experience. In that case, it will encourage them to be more adaptable and innovative.

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If your employees trust you and your leadership, your customers are more likely to trust you. Companies such as Adobe Systems Incorporated build trust by reinforcing their commitment to their employees’ well-being through employee engagement initiatives, well-being programs, and training and development support. HR outsourcing for SaaS companies and other industries can help you cultivate greater trust in your organization through employee engagement for venture capital firms and similar people-focused approaches.

     2. Take a People-Focused Approach

A people-focused approach in everything you do will help enhance your workplace culture and employee experience. This will signal to employees that you strive to do what is best for them, making them feel prioritized and supported and increasing trust and overall job satisfaction. 

Retail giant Walmart invests heavily in its employees’ financial, physical, and emotional well-being through wages, benefits, and learning opportunities. According to their Chief People Officer, Donna Morris, this helps make Walmart “a place where everyone knows they are listened to, valued, engaged, and supported.”

Employees at American Express appreciate that their leaders challenge them professionally and offer opportunities to showcase their strengths and develop new skills. According to one employee, one of the best things about working at American Express is that employees are” given all the resources to be and deliver [their] best,” including flexible working arrangements.

     3. Develop High-Trust Leadership

One can only establish a high-trust culture by first developing high-trust leadership. There are many ways to instill trust in leadership; most hinge on transparency, communication, and respect. Leaders who trust their employees establish this foundation over time by involving them in decisions that affect them or their work, encouraging them to share their ideas and opinions, and keeping them informed and updated about important issues and challenges.

Employees at technology company NVIDIA highlighted respect and equality from senior leaders as a unique part of their workplace experience. They are treated like equals and encouraged to speak comfortably with senior executives and share ideas. This horizontal culture makes them feel important and valued.

     4. Create a Sense of Purpose

Most companies among the 100 Best strive to create a sense of purpose for their employees. These employees feel like their work is meaningful; they are making a difference and aren’t just “doing a job.”

Experts in employee engagement for venture capital firms and SaaS companies recommend using recognition programs and learning opportunities to make employees feel unique and vital and to foster a sense of purpose.

Financial services firm Ally Financial uses an award program where employees can nominate each other for their contributions and impact. Feedback from their employees suggests that this program is quite popular and has significantly benefited employee motivation.

     5. Enhance Your DEIB Efforts 

Work with experts in HR services for SaaS companies to amplify your diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) efforts. This will improve your employee experience and customer and client-facing services. Your customer base is likely to be quite diverse, and if they interact with a diverse group of workers and professionals in your company, they will feel a stronger connection to your company. 

Edward Jones, a financial services firm, says having a team of advisors from diverse backgrounds helps build trust among its clients, who want to work with individuals who understand them. Employees at media company Comcast NBCUniversal point to the unique ecosystem that their diverse workforce creates. They are encouraged to bring their true selves to work, which helps foster a greater sense of inclusivity and belonging.

The Final Word

The best workplaces in the world have some themes in common – they prioritize their employees and their well-being, strive to build a foundation of trust and foster an environment of belonging and respect. As a result, their employees are healthier, happier, and more productive and experience better business outcomes. Suppose you want to make your organization a great workplace. In that case, specialists in HR outsourcing for SaaS companies, consumer brands, and nonprofits can help you infuse these learnings into your company culture.

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Want to know more about building a thriving workplace culture? In addition to taxes, accounting, bookkeeping and CFO services through its FinOps, Escalon’s Essential Business Services include PeopleOps (HR, benefits, recruiting and payroll) and Risk (business insurance). Talk to an expert today.


Devika Hastak
Devika Hastak

Devika Hastak is a dynamic content writer who is passionate about using the power of the written word to promote knowledge sharing and drive business success. She is adept at crafting compelling content tailored to client objectives and successfully executing SEO strategies that significantly impact brand awareness and lead generation. When she’s not wielding her digital pen, you can find her conducting culinary experiments in the kitchen or enjoying a good laugh with her family and friends.

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