Every small business owner has three main goals when they start up their own company. These are to make some money, to have self-satisfaction and to help others. Although there may be a myriad of additional reasons why someone wants to start up a small business, those three desires often underpin their entire action plan.
Anyone who has ever acted on these impulses and worked to create their own company will know that achieving all three points isn’t easy. In fact, each requirement is inextricably linked to the other which means you’ve got to spread your focus in a number of different directions in order to achieve what could be defined as a ‘successful’ business.
The foundations of small business success
However, while it’s certainly true that each point is connected, it’s the final one that should act as the lynchpin for all the others. If you’re not able to help someone with your small business then it begs the question: is it worth it?
Now, this desire to help people can be broken down into two parts. These two parts are offering a useful service and helping others earn a living.
In a lot of respects, the former is the most important when your business is in a fledgling state. However, as you expand it becomes necessary to look at the opportunities you’re providing for others. Is your business able to sustain a roster of employees? Is your workforce getting job satisfaction? Are your employees happy in their job?
These questions should be on the mind of every small business owner who wants to maintain a happy, healthy and profitable company. Indeed, a business without any employees isn’t a business at all and that’s why it’s worth considering the Great Place to Work Institute and its list of exemplary employers.
Finding a way to get onto one of the annual lists is great, but even if you’re not able to get an official stamp of approval, it’s good practice to look at the companies listed and understand why they were recognised.
What is the Great Place to Work Institute?
Before we look any further at the merits of the institute, it’s important to understand how it was formed and what its goals are. In a nutshell, the organisation has the goal of improving society by creating better workplaces. Spread across 46 countries and operating on a not-for-profit basis, the institute helps companies maintain best practices in the workplace through research, consulting and training.
Anyone recognised by the organisation as a ‘great place to work’ will not only be deemed an exceptional place for employees, but a business that has a positive impact on the wider community. Not only that; any company on the list will find themselves among some illustrious companies.
The greatest employers in the world
Currently listed as a client, moreover a great place to work, are companies such as IKEA, eBay, Google, the Rational Group, Coca-Cola and Microsoft. To know what it takes to join these corporate luminaries, it’s useful to look at some of their credentials.
Google: Aside from being one of the richest companies in the world, Google has a number of best work practices that have helped it become a “great place to work”. One of the main reasons Google has triumphed as a top employer is the Bureaucracy Busters programme. Implemented in 2013 as a company best practice, the system is designed to cut through red tape and make it easier for workers to log complaints, progress up the ladder and, generally enjoy a less convoluted working environment.
This culture not only makes Google a more efficient workspace for its employees, but a more productive company which benefits everyone involved. Indeed, this productivity is evidenced by Google’s standing as one of the most profitable companies in the world. According to recent estimates by experts at BGC Partners, Google will reach a market cap of $1 trillion by 2020 (if not sooner). This is a value which would put it ahead of its main corporate rival, Apple.
The Rational Group: The Rational Group is categorised as a large company thanks to its workforce of almost 700 full-time employees. The Rational Group is the company behind the largest online poker room in the world, PokerStars, and has been listed on the Great Place to Work Institute’s collection of companies for a number of years. Aside from offer a range of live poker events in more than 20 countries, the company also hosts online games through PokerStars.
In addition to the site winning numerous awards for its technological innovations, it has also been recognised as an inspirational leader and a great place to work for those with a love of gaming.
eBay: The business credentials of eBay are well known. Listed as one of the world’s biggest public companies by Forbes, eBay has a market cap of almost $70 billion and to-date employs a staggering 36,500 people. However, beyond its finances, eBay has become one of the world’s top employers because of the flexibility and mobility it offers its employees.
After making it onto the Great Place to Work list back in 2013, eBay has continued to rank highly on employee surveys with regards to pay, benefits, career progression and overall satisfaction. Moreover, eBay has continued to have a positive cultural impact through both its training schemes and community projects which have helped reinvigorate devastated areas.
Should you apply to be on the list?
From a purely commercial point of view, there is a definite value to being named on the Great Place to Work List. As well as improving the overall reputation of your brand, it should make your business more attractive to new employees. In fact, a positive workforce will always translate into a more productive one, and if your business is recognised as a great place to work then it should a positive overall impact.
However, aside from giving your business an image boost, a place inside the Great Place to Work Institute will provide a plethora of ways to improve your business. As well as ranking companies, the organisation carries out research and surveys so you get to know exactly what you’re doing right and what you need to improve on. Moreover, through the institute’s consultancy servicers you’ll be able to get the opinions of experts and grow your business from the inside out.
Creating a harmonious, hassle-free environment should be the goal of every small business owner and joining the Great Place to Work Institute will help make that a reality. At the start of this article we listed three goals every small business owner has and a great way to fulfil these aims is to stand on the shoulders of giants. Success breeds success and by joining some of the companies recognised by the institute, a small business has the chance to piggyback on their experience and grow in ways that may not have previously been possible.
Joining the Great Place to Work Institute is by no means a requirement for success. However, for those wanting to create a thriving enterprise for themselves, their workers and customers, it’s a great idea.