Every employer would like to know the secret of employee engagement. Satisfied and loyal employees who are motivated by a sense of ownership can turn a good business into a true success. Winning Workplaces and The Wall Street Journal combined forces to create the 2008 Top Small Workplaces Competition to give credit where credit is due.
After all, according to the WSJ’s Executive Summary of the awards:
Small businesses, 25 million strong in the United States, remain the backbone of our nation’s economy. According to the Small Business Administration, they account for 50 percent of the country’s private gross national product, create between 60 and 80 percent of the net new jobs and are 14 times more innovative per employee as large firms.
Competing for the coveted award were the more-than 780 nominated small organizations and the 406 organizations that completed applications. The WSJ provides an executive summary to online readers, which extracts some of the commonalities among winners. This data is very revealing–it’s a short-form description of the features and benefits offered by the best small business employers in the country. what it takes to be the best. There are many more factors worthy of reviewing but here are a few that are of particular interest:
1. In these small businesses, some things don’t change–employees. These companies each displayed a high retention rate.
- Average employee tenure is 6 years with an average turn-over rate of 13%.
- Average CEO tenure is 17 years.
- 14 of the 15 firms practice open-book management and 10 provide structured training on financial literacy to employees.
2. These businesses each subscribe to the mantra that healthy employees are the way to a happy employer.
- Employees receive generous medical benefits–on average, nearly 90% of medical-insurance premiums and 72% of dependents’ premiums were paid for by the firm.
- 14 firms offer benefits to part-time employees who work at least 21 hours per week.
- 11 firms offer employee-wellness programs
3. In line with the current employment trend, these employers believe that flexibility is a benefit.
- 13 firms offer some kind of flexible work options.
4. And, last but not least, one of my personal favorites–these employers put a premium value on training as a way to engage employees.
- 13 firms have a structured tuition assistance program for employees, on average, $3,500 per employee / per year.