The Best Place To Work - Or Is It?

I answered a post in a LinkedIn group about a Fast Company article about companies finally getting into the the Best Places To Work list. 

I was the first to post, and I admit, I'm jaded. So this was my response. (please note that I used Great instead of Best - my bad. I followed with another post to correct it. But it all means the same thing. Or perhaps Great isn't as good as Best. You decide.) 

Here's the post: 

Oh my, I'm going to sound like a kill-joy, but I have to go with what I have experienced... 

I truly believe in a great place to work. I have worked in great firms, and then I worked in firms listed as “great places to work.” The two are not the same.

There is a significant leap made by the author equating a rise in stock price of a firm to that firm being “a great place to work.” There’s correlation but not necessarily causation.

I have no doubt that a great place to work does in fact nurture employees who then turn out amazing products and services. But what is the definition of “a great place to work”?

It can be an awesome brand with high visibility and employees are driven to innovate. The leaders of those companies can be relentless in their pursuit of perfection. Excellent ideas, lead the marketplace, cool place to work, awesome on the resume – and can lead to serious burnout.

Something that isn’t mentioned at all is the process for becoming “a great place to work.” I do take issue with that. It is documentation driven by management and/or the HR department, and doesn’t always completely reflect the sentiments of the majority of employees. I have worked in firms that have been “great places to work” at the state and the Fortune 500 arenas. I witnessed the process of documentation. Therefore I am a skeptic of the accolades. It does give a lift to the firm, it also puts them on notice when they drop in rank – or off the list.

It takes a lot of resources to do the paperwork to get on the list, and a lot of great companies simply choose to put those resources into their employees directly.

So for every firm on the Fortune 500, there are hundreds more that are even better. I say, leave a bad firm – if you can, and if the place you’re currently working in is good, help to make it great. 

So have you worked in a Great or Best place? Was it on the Fortune 500© list? Perhaps your local Business Journal?