UKG and Great Place To Work: The 6 Elements of Great Company Culture

Happy anniversary, Great Place To Work!

One year ago today, Great Place To Work joined the UKG family. Together, we’re helping more and more companies become great places to work for all, where all individuals—no matter who they are, what they do, and where they work—feel valued, respected, and like they belong. Companies where all individuals know their work has meaning and matters.

In honor of the one-year anniversary, Great Place To Work is taking us behind the scenes of building great company culture. And guess what? The secret to attracting and holding onto the world’s best talent isn’t about the perks—it’s about relationships.

Read on to learn more about how you can build an award-winning culture at your organization.

The six elements of great company culture

1. Community

At Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For™, employees express a sense of winning together when times are good—and sticking together when times are tough.

Top features separating the Best Workplaces from other organizations include:

  • Celebrating special events
  • Sharing profits
  • Treating layoffs as a last resort

The importance of unity extends to giving back to the community, which we see at CiscoSalesforce, and many other Great Place To Work-Certified™companies. Unity and community also create conditions for better employee cooperation.

2. Fairness

Humans place a high value on fairness. Companies where employees feel like everyone is getting a fair opportunity consistently report more positive employee experiences.

Fairness is an area that great workplaces excel at, as our workplace study revealed. When rating equal compensation and recognition, employees score these companies 37-42 percentage points higher than the national average.

Employees at these companies also report issues with favoritism and politicking far less often. On employee surveys, these companies score 38 percentage points higher when asking their people about these experiences.

Surprisingly, fair pay isn’t the factor that most impacts employees’ overall workplace satisfaction and intent to stay. Other, less tangible aspects of the workplace, such as pride and strong leadership, play a much larger role.

Employees say that being paid fairly for their work makes them twice as likely to think their workplace is great. But when employees are
proud of their work, they are 20 times more likely to say it’s a great workplace.

3. Trustworthy management

Employees at great workplaces find their people managers and leaders to be more trustworthy: According to our research, 83% of employees at the 100 Best Companies said management’s actions match its words, versus 42% of employees at the average workplace.

Trustworthy, credible, and personable managers have a significant positive impact on:

  • Employee retention
  • Overall workplace satisfaction
  • Employees’ willingness to recommend their company
  • Motivation to give extra effort at work

When employees say managers are honest and ethical, they’re 5 times more likely to want to work there for a long time, and 11 times more likely to think the workplace is great.

4. Innovation

When managers create a safe environment to express ideas and make suggestions, employees are 31 times (!) more likely to think their workplace is a breeding ground for innovation. Workplaces that have innovative cultures inspire employee loyalty, confidence, and willingness to give extra. 

Employees at
innovative companies are 4 times more likely to say they’re proud to tell others they work there, 9 times more likely to think their company is a great place to work, and 4 times more likely to give extra to get the job done.

5. Trust 

We all know this: show people that you consider them trustworthy, and they’ll generally prove you right.

Many of the 100 Best Companies trust their employees to work flexible hours and from remote places. This flexibility makes employees more dedicated and engaged because they feel trusted to meet their business goals in a way that works for their life.

Many companies today even offer unlimited paid vacation and let employees work from anywhere; strong employee relationships prevent people from abusing the policy.

6. Caring

Every company says it values employees. The 100 Best Companies don’t say it; they show it. For example, we saw exceptional support for employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

DHL went beyond physical safety to ease employees’ minds during the pandemic. For example, the company sent motivational messages to employees through their package scanning devices. It also offered virtual yoga classes and facilitated meditation sessions.

We also see parental leave practices improving, and companies making a concerted effort to combat burnout. For example, based on employee feedback, HubSpot introduced an annual Global Week of Rest for all employees.

By thoughtfully investing time and effort into these six areas, you can show your people that you care about them, improve employee experience, and put your company on a path to creating a great company culture.