Should we participate in the Best Place to Work contest?
best-place-to-work-contest

Should we participate in the Best Place to Work contest?

By Jason Lauritsen

As a growing company, differentiating yourself as an employer of choice is critical to attracting talent. Being named to a “Best Place to Work” list is a powerful way to show your commitment to creating a great workplace for employees.

There are Best Places to Work contests in most cities, often several different competing programs. There are state and national contests as well. Your industry might even have its own contests (i.e., healthcare). If you are motivated to pursue recognition of this type, you have plenty of options.

But should you?

As someone who ran these programs for a few years, I am commonly asked by both business leaders and HR professionals if they should enter one. My answer: it depends.

In most cases, entering an employer of choice contest requires participation from your employees, usually in the form of an employee survey. This decision should be made thoughtfully because participation in this program will have side effects that can be either positive or negative, depending on your approach.

Below are some questions to help you decide if participating in a Best Place to Work contest is a good idea for your organization.

1. Is your organization actively investing in trying to be an amazing workplace for your employees?

Most of these programs use employee satisfaction and engagement as the primary measurement of a best place to work. If your leadership team isn’t committed to employee engagement and creating a great workplace for employees, you might want to hold off on a contest for now because it could backfire.

When you participate in a contest like this and send the survey to employees, it sends a message that you (HR and/or leadership) think you are worthy of recognition. If your employees haven’t seen or heard of any real internal efforts to improve their work experience, this can feel disconnected and dishonest – fueling disengagement.

On the other hand, if your organization regularly talks about and acts to improve employee engagement, then employees will probably feel like taking a best place to work survey makes sense and further reinforces their experience.

2. Are you prepared not to make the list?

These contests are competitive, particularly for small and medium-sized companies. In some cases, only a fraction of those who enter are recognized. So, if you are considering participating, expect that you may not make the list the first time.

Before you decide to participate, you need to play out how you will respond and communicate to employees if you fail to make the list. By sending out the survey as part of the process, you’ve communicated to your employees that the organization is committed to becoming a best place to work. If your executives aren’t able or willing to communicate uncomfortable messages, it might be best to hold off on participating.

Not making the list can be a powerful opportunity to reinforce your commitment to the employee experience, but you must have a plan for what comes next. Which brings me to the following question.

3. Are you prepared to take feedback from the process and do something with it?

Employer of choice contests are a great opportunity to compare your culture and work experience to your industry peers. Generally, you can gain some great insights and feedback to benchmark your internal practices against other organizations with whom you compete for talent.

But you must be prepared to do something with this information. Any time you survey employees, the two most important things you must do are communicate what you heard through the survey and then take some visible action informed by the results. This process is no different. To participate without following up by sharing results and an action plan can harm your relationship with employees.

No one likes to be asked for their opinion only to have it disregarded or ignored. If you choose to participate, take full advantage of the feedback by ensuring you have a plan in place to close the loop and demonstrate follow-up action.

Making the call

If your organization is fully committed to creating a great place to work and you are actively investing time and energy in doing so, participating in a Best Place to Work contest can be a great opportunity and a useful tool. Just remember that what’s most important in the process isn’t making the list but using the process to support your efforts and reinforce your commitment to creating a great workplace.

Good luck!


About the Author

Jason Lauritsen is a keynote speaker and employee engagement expert who has dedicated his career to helping leaders and employees create a more fulfilling work experience. For nearly a decade, he spent his days as a corporate Human Resources executive where he developed a reputation for driving business results through talent. Most recently, he led the research team for Quantum Workplace’s Best Places to Work program where he has studied the employee experience at thousands of companies to understand what the best workplaces in the world do differently than the rest.

More to Discover

Webinar: COVID-19 Summit- BROKER HAPPY HOUR: Your Clients’ Most Burning Questions - Answered - 4/23/20 @4pm ET

Webinar: COVID-19 Summit- BROKER HAPPY HOUR: Your Clients’ Most Burning Questions - Answered - 4/23/20 @4pm ET

Join a panel featuring Paycor experts and broker partners as they discuss the newest coronavirus legislation, what it means to businesses and what resources Paycor offers to stay on top of the changing regulations. They’ll also cover the most frequently asked questions brokers are hearing from clients and how to best address these topics. Bring a beverage of your choice, come ready with your own questions and join us.Speakers: Shaun Scott, Senior Vice President of Strategic Channels at Paycor and Scott McGohan who is the CEO of MCGOHAN BRABENDERThursday, April 23, 2020 4pm ET

Webinar: COVID-19 Summit - CUSTOMER EXCLUSIVE: 10 Paycor Product Features to Leverage - 4/23/20 @3pm ET

Webinar: COVID-19 Summit - CUSTOMER EXCLUSIVE: 10 Paycor Product Features to Leverage - 4/23/20 @3pm ET

Join Paycor’s Director of Product Marketing, Tim Ruge, for an inside look at a 10 product features available within Paycor’s HCM platform to help your organization during this crisis. Tim will walk through each of the features to help ensure your organization is aware of all the ways Paycor’s technology can support your business. Speaker: Tim Ruge Tim Ruge is Paycor’s Director of Product Marketing, focusing on the HR Center of Excellence and various compliance topics. Since joining Paycor in 2012, Tim has led their efforts in getting customer feedback and helping deliver product features and content that helps Paycor’s customers make a difference in their organization. Tim has led the planning, development and launching of Paycor’s...

Employee’s Guide to Working from Home

Employee’s Guide to Working from Home

How to Work from Home (Without Going Crazy)Fortunately, most people have never had to deal with a massive virus outbreak such as the one we’re experiencing now. Unfortunately, that makes managing the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic an entirely new realm for both businesses and employees. Along with diligent handwashing, social distancing is key to preventing the spread of the disease. In response, many employers are adopting risk reduction strategies and encouraging employees to work from home (WFH) for at least two weeks. For companies that are largely made up of offsite workers, this approach generally won’t pose a challenge; however, many companies have never worked that way and, as a result, either have no formal policy or they’...

How To Work From Home with Kids

How To Work From Home with Kids

The spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has had an enormous impact on all of our day-to-day lives. From toilet paper shortages to restaurant closings, we’ve all had to make some serious lifestyle adjustments. Employees who can do so are being asked to work from home. And schools in many areas of the country have been closed until further notice. The result is that many parents who have never previously worked from home have to now… and if they don’t have other childcare options, they have to try to focus on their jobs while simultaneously parenting their children. Working from home is an adjustment any way you look at it. Working from home with children adds a whole new level of complexity. Following are a few tips that help if you find...