It’s that time of year again folks when Great Place to Work® identifies the top organisations that create Great Workplaces in Europe. This year’s Europe’s Best Workplaces™ report is unlike any other. Throughout 2020, Best Workplaces™ have had to adapt quickly to various challenges during the crisis. Their greatest perhaps, is being able to ensure a consistently great employee experience for all their people, not just a few. With the recent publication of the annual Best Workplaces in Europe list, we are delighted to see a number of our client organisations with a presence in Ireland included. The list recognises companies in four size categories, a little different from our national listing criteria, those groups are:
- Small (Under 50 Employees)
- Medium (50 - 499 employees)
- Large (500+ employees)
Multinational organisations must have at least 1,000 employees worldwide, with at least 40% (or 5,000) of those employees based outside the headquarters’ country and appear on at least three national lists. Distinctions worth bearing in mind, as you may notice discrepancies between our national list and this continental release.
Flying the Flag for Ireland
It’s quite the showing for organisations operating in Ireland this year, heavily featured across the publication. Organisational cultures do not exist in a vacuum, they are rooted in the context of a national culture, perhaps there is something special about our little nation, with so many organisations with an Irish presence being recognised:
- 8 of the 10 Europe's Best Multinational Workplaces have Irish operations.
- 10 of the 25 Europe's Best Multinational Workplaces have Irish operations.
- 2 of the 3 organisations that won a Special Award have an Irish operation.
Of course, you can see the full list, including those situated in Ireland here. We are tremendously proud to see our clients being recognised at a continental level in addition to national. With such a presence in this publication, it is perhaps appropriate to suggest that, rather than recognised alongside esteemed companies, these organisations now find themselves positioned as that esteemed company.
So how do they do it?
To find out, we surveyed 1.5 million employees from 3000 organisations across 19 countries in Europe. We asked employees to share how they felt about their management teams; whether their wellbeing was supported by their employer during this time; and what they believe could be done to make their already great workplace even better.
We also took a deep dive into how every organisation’s leadership views their own company culture and the people policies and practices they offer to their workforce. This rigorous auditing process enabled us to compare views from both employers and employees for an accurate evaluation of each workplace’s culture.
Here are some of the results:
Care is a two-way street and a vital component of success.
In the thirty years that we've been evaluating company culture and employee experience, we've never witnessed a year of systemic upheaval as profound as 2020. It's now more so than ever that managers need to ensure their people are provided a psychologically safe and supportive environment.
Employees who say their workplace is one of the best companies to work for are those who feel trusted and cared for as more than mere cogs in the machine.
When asked about fair treatment in their workplace, 93% of employees in Europe’s Best Workplaces™ said they are treated as a full member of the team regardless of the job position. Even higher percentages can be found for those responding to questions around fairness and respect for one’s ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and age:
Trust is the magic that makes good workplaces great - and communication has been crucial for sustaining high levels of trust within the 125 companies on our Europe’s Best Workplaces™ list.
"Having Trust in the Bank with employees when entering a crisis or when you have the need to change is a vital component for agility” explains Cathal Divilly, CEO of Great Place to Work® Ireland.
Our survey data revealed that Europe's smaller enterprises are currently outshining larger organisations in this area of trust-based interpersonal relationships.
While 94% of all employees surveyed said they work for a great workplace, over 99% of employees working at SMEs specifically told us that they work in a great environment.
Regular, meaningful communication fosters stronger relationships. And closer teams create a working environment that encourages trust between managers and employees.
Indeed, Swedish and Danish companies – with their flat structures where managers are more empowered to listen, communicate and act upon their teammates' issues – are shown to be a significant factor for the high trust levels in Europe’s Nordic region.
“Sweden is a country with the highest general level of trust in society (together with other Nordic countries)," explains Maria Gruden, CEO of Great Place to Work® Sweden. We have non-hierarchical organisations where transparency, involvement and co-creation is key.”
Do leaders genuinely seek and respond to employees’ suggestions and ideas in your organisation? Are employees invited to be part of or contribute towards decisions that will affect their working environment, job role or daily schedule?
Great leaders don't just talk, they listen. In all companies that excel at innovation, employees feel respected, involved, and, most importantly, valued by upper management.
At Europe’s Best Workplaces™, we see employees feeling as though their voices are heard and their opinions are valued. In fact, our study found that 89% of businesses innovate more when management genuinely seeks and responds to suggestions and ideas from their staff.
How is the European List Determined?
To be considered for the annual Europe’s Best Workplaces™ list, companies must appear on one or more of the national recognition lists by Great Place to Work®. That can be either here in Ireland or one of the 19 other European nations which GPTW affiliates produce national lists.
The 19 countries with national lists in the region are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, The Netherlands, and The United Kingdom.
Much like our national listing process, organisational data is compared and contrasted to determine listing order, but on a wider scale. That scale consists of 1.5 million employees from 3000 organisations from 19 European nations, quite the sample size so!
Through our Trust Insight Survey, we gather employee perspectives on their organisation’s leadership effectiveness, wellbeing supports, communication’s strategies and more. This is complemented by our Culture Audit assessment, a self-report, comprehensive account of an organisations practices, policies, and all things workplace culture.
Get in touch for more details on how your organisation can be recognised on our national, regional and global lists.