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5 traits that awesome companies have in common

It takes more than a foosball table to inspire employees.

5 traits that awesome companies have in common

Does your company throw an amazing holiday party, pick up the tab for lunch once a week and serve up unlimited cold-brew coffee? Fun job perks are great, sure, but they’re hardly enough to instill lasting devotion in an employee. What makes a company truly awesome is a winning set of practices and principles.

Find out if your employer hits the mark by reading about the five key traits all awesome companies have in common.

The company knows its purpose

If you work at an awesome company, you know exactly why you come to work every day—and you know how your job connects to the broader mission, says S. Chris Edmonds, founder and CEO of The Purposeful Culture Group, a Conifer, Colorado-based firm that helps companies define and implement values and culture.

If you know the answers to the questions, “Who do we serve? What do we do for them? How do our solutions improve our customers’ quality of life daily?” then your company’s mission is on the right track.

That mission isn’t just nice words on a plaque in the lobby or on the website. It’s also backed up with a strategic plan, one that’s continuously communicated by leadership, says Jessica Rohman, director of content at San Francisco-based Great Place to Work, the organization that compiles Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.”

The company hires judiciously

You may have heard rapidly growing companies praised for going on so-called hiring sprees, a supposed mark of success, but a smart company must also take the time to get to know prospective employees.

In addition to evaluating a candidate’s skills, hiring managers at awesome companies should also be checking if potential new hires are going to fit in with the culture.

“Are [companies] hiring because they need a warm body, or are they being thoughtful about who they’re bringing into the company?” asks Rohman. “When hiring, are they asking, ‘Will this person align to the values of the organization, will they push our company’s purpose forward?’”

The company admits when there’s a problem

At awesome companies, it’s safe to acknowledge when something needs to change, and is willing to work with employees to make improvements.

“Companies are trending toward more transparency,” Rohman says, and the best companies will fix their problems in an inclusive way. “Even if they’re not in a leadership role, employees [at awesome companies] are given a voice and their ideas are heard and respected. When problems are solved this way, there’s a great deal more buy-in because everyone has had a hand in the solution.”

The company leads by example

It’s easier to practice values such as integrity and great customer service when you see your leaders demonstrating them, too. If you work for an awesome company, not only will its leaders tell you what they value, they will show you through action.

“The best companies maintain a work environment that ensures that everyone—leaders, hourly staff, everyone—is treated with trust, respect and dignity in every interaction. Not just sometimes, not mostly—every time, every interaction,” says Edmonds. “When employees see their leaders modeling the values and behaviors, they’ll know leaders are serious about making their workplace positive and productive.”

The company values everyone’s contributions

If you’ve ever had a grateful manager who regularly takes the time to thank you for doing your part, you know how good that makes you feel about your job. Awesome companies make this the norm.

“Recognition is key to establishing a great relationship with an individual employee,” says Brad Taylor, principal consultant at Springville, Utah-based DecisionWise, a research and consulting firm that helps companies attract, retain and engage their workforces. “That recognition then allows an employee to feel more invested, more valued and more engaged in the work.”

If your current employer lacks these traits—or doesn’t have enough of them—it’s time to find a one that does. As you search for jobs, check company review sites like kununu to see how employees say their companies stack up.


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