Tangible respect for the workers. The top companies pay between 50 – 100% of the healthcare premiums for their employees and dependents. They also offer flexible working hours and telecommuting, which allows for more autonomy in balancing life and work.
Beyond these HR policies is the company culture. The top companies nurture a culture in which people love to come to work, take pride in what they do, and feel that they make a difference. Underlying it all is a sense of trust in the people they work for. How do you generate trust? Trust is a dialogue of shared commitments and fair responses. It starts with management credibility and respect for employees.
And best of all, there is a financial return for socially responsible corporate governance. The companies which made the top 100 on the “Best Companies to Work for in America” generated 2.3 to 3.8% higher stock returns than their peers (longitudinal data 0984-2011). The implications are that job satisfaction would seem to be beneficial for firm value.Who were the top firms? Well – lest you think they are all cool places like Google (#1) or Zappos, there was quite a range of industries, but just a handful from the AEC industry in the top 100: Camden Property Trust, construction and property management , Texas; DPR construction, California; PCL Construction Enterprises, Colorado; Balfour Beatty, Texas; TDI Industries, Texas. A few more in the small company list: Granite Properties in Texas, commercial construction and real estate (small company); Kahler Slater architectural design (again Wisconsin) and Holder Construction, Georgia in the medium-sized workplaces. While I’m glad to see there are a few representatives, it isn’t really a very solid representation in the total of 150 firms (25 each small and medium).
There were a few more Canadian companies which were in the multinational list: Flatiron, Hilti, Kiewit, Parklane Homes, Royal Lepage Performance Realty, Scott Builders, and Trico Homes.While direct implications can’t be drawn, our industry is facing sustainability challenges for which we need innovative solutions and radical changes. We need to be attracting the best and the brightest – which is not the case as construction schools across the nation are facing enrollment challenges. Enterprise management is one of the great challenges for our industry, and I look forward to doing my part to facilitate the increase of CSR activities across our industry.