Workplace Musings from an HR Pro

Authenticity is the Driving Force Behind a Best Place to Work Culture

“Best Place to Work” – HR’s coveted praise for a killer culture, meaningful work and valuable employee recognition, to name a few. This upcoming January, Fortune magazine will release its 2015 “100 Best Companies to Work For,” a powerhouse list of employers benchmarked against company leadership, career satisfaction, employee benefits and internal camaraderie. It’s the result of purposeful associate programs and career development coupled with the opportunity to succeed within your organization. And, for potential applicants, it looks pretty good when recruiting the industry’s top talent, too.

Yet, at the end of the day, the external fanfare of a “Best Place to Work” award is only as meaningful as the authenticity of the culture that earned the recognition. And, as it turns out, the values behind a “Best Place to Work” award not only produce a healthy work culture, but they’re also great for business. Just ask the folks behind the C-Factors Survey. According to their findings, 93 percent of respondents – which consisted of professionals at the vice president level and above – confirmed that workplace culture has a direct impact on their company’s financial performance.

Earlier this quarter, Fahlgren Mortine concluded its second-annual Health and Wellness Weeks, a week-plus series of events aimed at bringing actionable steps to our associates for continued improvement of overall health. New for 2014, we added CPR Training to our roster of programs, as well as the return of some fan favorites, including massage therapy, our pedometer challenge and a healthy potluck. For us, our wellness initiatives aren’t solely about competing to take the most steps or showcasing the best healthy meal (although, we do enjoy bragging rights). Rather, our goal is to offer engaging programs that support our associates’ health, but also align with the values of both our agency and our employees.

The Harvard Business Review drives home a similar message in a 2013 article highlighting six components of a great corporate culture. Within it, the author emphasizes the importance of not only professing company values but also exemplifying them in daily behaviors. Because we value associate engagement and organizational trust, we offer health programs that allow associates to connect their values on personal health with the agency’s commitment to employee wellness.

That same credo was a driving force behind our philanthropy efforts to fundraise for Pelotonia and Mid-Ohio Foodbank earlier this year. In a recent study by the Society of Human Resource Management, surveyors found that nearly 80 percent of employee respondents placed importance on corporate social responsibility when weighing engagement and satisfaction with their employer. Similarly, college graduates are speaking up for the cause, as well. In fact, a 2011 Deloitte Volunteer Impact study found that more than 60 percent of Millennials consider a company’s community participation before making a career decision. Following suit, Fahlgren Mortine provided tangible, on-the-company-dime support during our Pelotonia and Mid-Ohio Foodbank campaigns, which allowed employees to engage with their values – and in this case, also their communities – in a meaningful way.

Fahlgren Mortine was recently included in the “Best of Business 2014” listing in the Columbus CEO issue released last month. We’re certainly humbled by the fanfare and thankful for the community recognition. But, when we think about the values behind the accolade, we’re reminded of more than a rollout of fancy programs. For us, the award is a reflection of our values and beliefs that positively influence our business and associates; a mantra that exists at all levels of our organization. We’re careful with our culture – because we care. About our people. About our clients. About the business we drive every day. And for us, that’s what makes the difference.

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