5 Best Companies for Employee Engagement

Business leaders in America have been programmed to view Capitalism as an "anything goes" system, where competition is king. For example, as long as business leaders are playing by the rules, it's apparently okay for wages to be distributed unevenly throughout the organization. For example, the top executives are being paid more than 100x that of the average worker. After all, only the CEO works really hard right?

Wrong. A new era of leadership is beginning to catch fire and the days of profits, profits, profits are slowly coming to an end. Stakeholders want more from their companies. Companies that are getting on board with stakeholder demand for doing what is good and just for their employees are the ones who are winning.

Billy Joel, it’s time to rethink your tune.  It is not enough to simply conduct business to make money in today’s environment.  Companies must go the extra mile to do what is right for their people and invest in them what they want to get out of them. 

Take a look at how Five Companies are thriving in today’s environment of increased employee engagement:

1.     GOOGLE:  Google offers its employees a workplace that combines work and play. Complete with scooter parking stalls, free late afternoon espresso shots, healthy snack bowls, and a full service gym, Google is working to provide a workspace that people appreciate and ultimately work harder for. Sure it is an investment for Google to offer these perks to over 50,000 employees all year. However, the investment is clearly worth it with Google stock selling at $889 per share and consistent reports of year over year increases in growth rate. 

2.     SAS:  SAS employees, and their families, have free access to a massive gym featuring a weight room and a heated pool. They also have an on-site health care clinic, staffed by physicians, nutritionists, physical therapists, and psychologists–all for free! Deeply discounted child care is available and additional no-cost work-life counseling is offered to employees. They’ve had 37 consecutive years of record earnings coming in at $2.8 billion in 2012.

3.     WEGMAN’S FOOD MARKETS:  Employees of this grocery food chain are encouraged to reward one another with store paid gift cards for good service. Many workers like it there so much that one in five employees are related to each other, as so many referrals take place.  Wegmans has also been known to offer chartered jets to fly all new full-timers to Rochester to be welcomed by CEO Danny Wegman.  With turnover rates far below that of other retailers, Wegman’s future is promising.

4.     DREAMWORKS ANIMATION:  At this movie studio, fresh-juice trucks visit the headquarters location to distribute free smoothies, and employees are given stipends to personalize workstations.  Parties are frequently held after large projects are completed where company artists are encouraged to share their personal work.  Revenues for this company were over $706 million in 2011.

5.     ZAPPOS.COM:  Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh is relocating headquarters to Las Vegas where he is spending $350 million to develop the entire neighborhood, dubbed the Downtown Project, so employees will have access to great places to live and socialize too.  The company employees a full time life coach, and last year Zappos.com reported 0% voluntary turnover.

Guest Post by April Anderson. April is a researcher at Erica Dhawan Group and currently a MBA candidate at Baruch College in Organizational Psychology with a passion for women & leadership, social enterprise, and management development theory.  Find April here.


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