3 Lessons from the Best-Rated Companies to Work For in 2024

“Being a great place to work is the difference between being a good company and a great company.”

– Brian Kristofek, President and CEO, Upshot

What makes a “great place to work?” Hint: It’s not pizza parties or ping-pong tables.

Today’s workforce craves more than a paycheck. They seek meaningful work, fair compensation, supportive cultures, and opportunities to develop and contribute. Strong leadership and a commitment to social responsibility further elevate the ideal work environment.

This article explores the lessons we can learn from the companies achieving this ideal, as revealed in the 27th edition of the Fortune 100 Best Rated Companies to Work For list (compiled with Great Place To Work®). These companies set the standard for what it means to prioritize employee well-being and engagement, demonstrating that investing in people is key to achieving long-term business success.

By examining these top organizations, we aim to uncover actionable insights that can help other businesses create environments where employees feel valued, engaged, and motivated to contribute to their company’s success.

The Top Companies to Work For: What Are They?

Here is a list of the top 10 best rated companies to work for, according to the 2024 Fortune 100 Best Rated Companies to Work For list:

  1. Hilton
  2. Cisco Systems
  3. Nvidia
  4. American Express
  5. Synchrony Financial
  6. Wegmans Food Markets
  7. Accenture
  8. Marriott International
  9. Cadence Design Systems
  10. Comcast NBCUniversal

You can find the rest of the list here.

Note that the Fortune 100 Best Rated Companies to Work For list isn’t limited to a single industry. From tech giants to hospitality leaders, these top performers demonstrate that fostering a stellar work environment is achievable across the board.

How Forbes Determined the Top 100 Best Rated Companies to Work For

Great Place To Work® has developed a robust methodology over 30 years of surveying employees globally. They use the Trust Index™ survey to measure the core of what we know creates great workplaces—key factors that drive trust in management, connection with colleagues, and loyalty to the company.

The critical areas assessed are:

  • Leadership Accessibility and Honesty: Are leaders approachable? Do they communicate clearly? Do they act consistently?
  • Respect and Support: Do employees feel respected? Do they receive training, appreciation, well-being support, and opportunities to contribute?
  • Fairness: Do employees perceive fairness in pay, promotions, and recognition?
  • Pride and Meaning: Are employees proud of their work? Do they find their work meaningful?
  • Collegiality: Do employees enjoy their colleagues? Do they feel cared for? Can they be themselves?

The 2024 list is derived from responses from nearly 630,000 employees from eligible companies, ensuring a comprehensive and accurate representation of the best workplaces.

Understanding what makes these companies stand out provides valuable insights for any organization striving to improve its work environment. Let’s explore the first of five lessons we can learn from these top-rated companies: building trust in leadership.

Lesson One: Building Trust in Leadership

Employees who trust their leaders are more engaged, productive, and happy. This foundational element fuels a positive work environment where people feel valued, empowered, and motivated to contribute their best.

Example from #5 Ranked Company: Synchrony Financial

Effective leadership during challenging times is especially crucial for maintaining trust. Margaret Keane, CEO of Synchrony Financial (ranked 5th in Forbes’s Top 100 List), exemplifies how transparent communication and visible leadership can build and sustain trust. Keane shared her approach on the ICE House podcast, emphasizing the importance of leaders being seen and accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic:

“People need to see us as leaders. They need to see our faces. They need to see we’re working from home. They need to see we’re okay and we’re calm, and we’re feeling confident about where we’re going to be.”

She highlighted the importance of respect:

“You have to respect every single individual no matter what they do and who they are.”

Keane’s proactive communication strategy involved regular updates and visible leadership, which reassured employees and reinforced their trust in the organization’s direction. Additionally, her respect for all employees, regardless of their roles, underscores the inclusive and respectful culture she promotes.

Building Trust in Your Organization from the Top Down: 

Here are some actionable steps you can take to cultivate trust in leadership:

  • Be a person of your word: Follow through on commitments and ensure your actions align with your communication.
  • Embrace transparency: Share information openly and honestly, even when faced with challenges.
  • Demonstrate empathy and care: Show genuine concern for your employees’ well-being and professional development.
  • Empower your team: Offer autonomy and decision-making opportunities to foster a sense of ownership.
  • Be approachable and available: Make yourself readily available for questions and feedback.

By prioritizing these practices, you can build a foundation of trust that empowers your team and propels your organization forward.

Lesson Two: Offering Flexibility with Hybrid Work

As the modern workforce evolves, hybrid work arrangements have emerged as a vital component of employee satisfaction and organizational success. Offering flexibility in where and how employees work benefits both employees and employers, creating a win-win situation that enhances productivity, engagement, and well-being.

Benefits of Hybrid Work Arrangements

For Employees:

  • Improved Work-Life Balance: Flexibility allows employees to manage their personal and professional responsibilities better, reducing stress and burnout.
  • Increased Productivity: Many employees find they are more productive when they can choose their work environment, free from the distractions of a traditional office.
  • Greater Job Satisfaction: The autonomy to work in a way that suits individual preferences and lifestyles leads to higher job satisfaction and retention rates.

For Employers:

  • Access to a Wider Talent Pool: By offering remote work options, companies can recruit talent from a broader geographic area, including individuals who may not have been available otherwise.
  • Cost Savings: Reduced need for office space and resources can lead to significant cost savings for organizations.
  • Enhanced Employee Engagement: Flexibility demonstrates trust in employees, fostering a culture of autonomy and engagement that can boost overall morale.

Example from #4-Rated Company: American Express

According to a 2022 survey of nearly 15,000 American Express employees, 90% are very satisfied or satisfied with Amex Flex, the company’s new way of working. The Amex Flex program allows employees to work in the office, at home, or take a hybrid approach that combines both.

Additional highlights from employees who responded to the survey include:

  • 97% say they can effectively deliver their work
  • 96% feel they can effectively collaborate with others using the tools and technology available while working from home
  • 92% of colleagues say they have the flexibility to best manage their work
  • 87% feel supported in their career development

Considerations and Best Practices for Implementing Hybrid Work

To successfully implement hybrid work arrangements, companies should consider the following best practices:

  1. Establish clear guidelines and expectations for remote and in-office work, and communicate these policies transparently to ensure all employees understand their roles and responsibilities.
  2. Invest in the necessary technology and infrastructure to support remote work, including providing reliable internet access, collaboration tools, and secure systems to protect company data.
  3. Offer training sessions to help employees adapt to hybrid work, and provide ongoing support through help desks, regular check-ins, and resources to address any challenges that may arise.
  4. Recognize that hybrid work arrangements may need to be adjusted based on feedback and changing circumstances, so stay flexible and be willing to adapt policies as needed to meet the evolving needs of the workforce.
  5. Shift the focus from hours worked to results achieved, and encourage a results-oriented work culture where employees are evaluated based on their performance and outcomes rather than their physical presence in the office.

By embracing hybrid work arrangements and implementing these best practices, organizations can create a flexible, productive, and satisfied workforce, positioning themselves for long-term success in the ever-changing business landscape.

Lesson Three: Prioritizing Employee Well-Being

Employee well-being is astronomically important. Studies have shown a clear link between mental health, well-being, and employee performance, retention, and overall satisfaction. In terms of lessons we can learn from Fortune’s Top 100 Best Rated Companies to Work For and how to create a “great place to work,” this one may be one of the most important practices.

Example from the #1 Top-Rated Company in 2024: Hilton

Hilton, consistently recognized as a top company to work for and ranked #1 in 2024, exemplifies the benefits of prioritizing employee well-being.

Laura Fuentes, Chief Human Resources Officer at Hilton, articulates their commitment:

“At Hilton, we are building a fully human experience at work, where our team members feel like they are seen, they are welcome, and they are part of something greater than themselves. Today’s recognition reinforces what employees are looking for – a workplace culture that helps them reach their full potential.” 

 – Laura Fuentes, Chief Human Resources Officer, Hilton

Hilton’s holistic approach to employee well-being includes a range of initiatives designed to support mental, physical, and emotional health, contributing to their status as a preferred employer.

Initiatives and Programs to Support Employee Well-Being

To prioritize employee well-being effectively, organizations can implement a variety of initiatives and programs:

  • Mental Health Support: Provide access to mental health resources, such as counseling services, employee assistance programs (EAPs), and stress management workshops.
  • Flexible Work Arrangements: Offer flexible schedules and remote work options to help employees balance their work and personal lives.
  • Health and Wellness Programs: Introduce wellness programs that include fitness classes, health screenings, and wellness challenges to encourage a healthy lifestyle.
  • Professional Development: Invest in continuous learning and development opportunities to help employees grow and advance in their careers.
  • Inclusive Workplace Culture: Foster a culture of inclusivity where every employee feels valued and respected, regardless of their background or role.
  • Work-Life Balance Initiatives: Encourage employees to take breaks, use their vacation time, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Recognition and Appreciation: Regularly acknowledge and celebrate employee achievements and contributions to boost morale and motivation.

By implementing these initiatives, organizations can create a supportive environment that prioritizes employee well-being. This not only enhances individual performance and satisfaction but also drives overall organizational success by fostering a happy, healthy, and productive workforce.

Building a Workplace Where People Thrive

The journey to becoming a truly exceptional workplace is an ongoing one. But by learning from the best, as showcased in the Fortune 100 Best Rated Companies to Work For list, you can make significant strides towards creating an environment where employees feel valued, engaged, and empowered to reach their full potential.

Remember, creating a thriving workplace culture is an ever-evolving process.  Stay curious, seek feedback from your team, and remain committed to ongoing improvement.

Ready to Take Action?

Arden Coaching is passionate about helping organizations cultivate exceptional work environments. From executive coaching and leadership development to dynamic team offsites, our team of experts can guide you on your journey to becoming a workplace where people truly love to come to work.

Explore our blog for a wealth of resources, or contact us today for a consultation. Together, let’s build a workplace where everyone thrives.