Great Place to Work Institute, Inc.
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What They Do
Provide culture consulting services, leadership development, and great workplace recognition (Best Company lists and Great Rated! reviews) for businesses, non-profits, and government agencies.
Editor’s Note: Yes! We know it might be weird to read a review about our company written by ourselves, but since so many people ask us whether Great Place to Work really is a great workplace, we thought we should hold ourselves to the same level of transparency as any other organization. We used the same anonymous, random sample and analysis methodology as for any company and asked an independent third-party to verify the review. Here were the results.
Headquarters: San Francisco, California
What Makes Great Place To Work Institute, Inc. Great
When you work for a company called Great Place to Work, the obvious first question anyone asks is, “Well? Is it?”
More than three-quarters (77 percent) of the firm's U.S.-based employees say that it is, as people rave about the “incredibly inclusive and friendly atmosphere” that feels like “a family that trusts each other and has each other's backs.” People love that they are “making a difference," and while they appreciate perks like flexible work options, unlimited sick time, and anniversary cash to spend on their lives outside work, “it always comes down to the people,” explains one team member. “We work really hard for our clients, but what I really love is how hard we work for each other.”
Founded in 1992, Great Place to Work introduced the world to the value of creating great, trust-based relationships in workplaces. Today, the company has 41 affiliate offices operating across six continents and employs more than 500 employees across its global network. Great Place to Work’s U.S. staff is responsible both for helping U.S. companies create great workplaces, as well as supporting the firm’s worldwide affiliate network of Great Place to Work companies.
Passion for the Work
Great Place to Work's employees take a lot of pride in the positive impact they have on the work lives of millions of people around the world, praising the “highly fulfilling and invigorating work” which gives them the “ability to have an incredible impact on client organizations and senior client leaders." Nearly nine out of 10 employees are proud to tell others they work for this international firm. As one person puts it, “our mission alone is truly phenomenal and not many can say they work at an organization that conducts such tremendous work.”
People’s natural passion for their jobs makes for a hard-working team. Nearly everyone (97 percent of staff) feels that they carry a lot of responsibility, and nearly as many (92 percent) say that they are trusted to carry out these responsibilities without being micromanaged by company leaders. As hard as they work, employees are grateful that "everyone pulls their weight" and that they work with "kind and respectful people who try to treat others well.” Eighty-six percent confirm that their colleagues are consistently willing to go the extra mile to get work done.
Beyond supporting each other professionally, Great Place to Work employees are also there for each other personally. The vast majority (87 percent) say that people consistently care for each other. People describe a “true team that really bands together when work and personal issues demand," and report the company is full of "smart, caring, funny folks" who share a "deep sense of helping each other whenever the need arises." This is a place where, between baby showers and Giants' games, employees pitch in out of their own pockets to help each other replace stolen bikes, repair a damaged car, or send care packages to employees struggling with family illness.
It is also a place where company leaders can be relied upon to go out of their way to meet employees’ individual needs when unexpected circumstances arise. For example, when one employee was recovering from minor surgery, the company arranged for a limo service to take her to work daily for a month. Great Place to Work's unlimited sick time policy has been used to allow employees with gravely ill family members to take extended time off without compromising their salaries or accrued vacation time. Eight out of 10 employees say that managers care about them as people, not just employees.
Flexibility and support of individual circumstances is a core part of how the organization operates. Holidays are all floating, to be used as employees prefer; sick time is not tracked; and employees are able to adjust schedules and work locations to create balance in their lives. When employees decide to move for personal reasons, every effort is made to keep them in the Great Place to Work family. A fifth of the organization works in permanent telecommuting roles, and locations vary from Buenos Aires to Austin, Texas.
This high level of trust and flexibility is critically important to people because the nature of consulting work is demanding: "Flexibility is a key part of what keeps me going some days when my work is at a consistent peak," says one person.
Great Place to Work has grown rapidly (more than 20 percent during a recent 12-month period), and for some, the pace of work combined with people’s high degree of commitment to clients and each other has led to fatigue. While the majority (86 percent) say they are able to take time off when needed, others say that work-life balance is a challenge for the consulting firm. “People are tired” says one staff member. “We are busting our butts to do some real good in the world,” says one employee frankly. Given the pace of organizational change, the majority of workers are also hungry for more clarity regarding the company’s future, though many note that the recent arrival of new global CEO, China Gorman, has led to a greater sense of clarity and stability.
Come As You Are
As the organization grows, one value employees are sure to want to keep is the low ego and welcoming atmosphere that has 86 percent of employees saying they are consistently able to be themselves at work.
One of the more fun ways this down-to-earth vibe shows up is in the company’s highly-anticipated annual Kwirky Contest. The contest is an annual “un-talent” show that builds on Great Place to Work’s appreciation for creativity and respect for off-the-wall individual talent. Employees describe it as the “annual culture highlight” and look forward to blowing off steam and exposing their quirkiest selves. Performances have included a parody of Justin Timberlake’s famous SNL skit, re-imagined as “Survey in a Box”; spandex-clad synchronized ribbon dancers; and a performance by company co-founder Robert Levering – in a wig, dancing to Age of Aquarius. It’s all part of working with what one employee summarizes as a group of “brilliant, collaborative, fun, funny co-kwirkers.”
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