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What Makes a “Top Place to Work”?

Free lunch, on-site gym, relaxed dress, and complimentary massages—right?

Recently, APQC was identified as a top place to work. Based on the results of our 2011 employee survey, Workplace Dynamics designated APQC as meeting their national standard for top workplaces.

But what does this mean? Beyond enticing perks, what makes a workplace tops?

Last week, I had the opportunity to reflect on this question while working at APQC’s Houston headquarters (normally I telecommute), attending our annual process conference and member meeting. Here’s a list of qualities that make APQC a top place to work, for me, today.

  •    Co-workers, managers, and leaders who are friendly, professional, energized, and smart 
  •    An inspiring organizational mission/shared purpose
  •    Customers who are collaborative and enthusiastic
  •    Daily work that is interesting and stretches my abilities just the right amount 
  •    A balanced perspective—work is important, but so are other things in life 
  •    Work/life flexibility—input into where, when, and how I work 
  •    Fun—laughing and socializing alongside work is encouraged 
  •    Clearly defined organizational objectives 
  •    Communication on how I personally can contribute to meeting these objectives
  •    Discretion in how I carry out my daily work 
  •    Managerial support when I get in over my head 
  •    Informal feedback on my performance provided by managers, co-workers, and customers

What’s on your list? What makes a workplace tops for you? Has your list changed over the course of your career? Do external factors such as high unemployment influence the makeup of your list?

Information on best practices for creating a top workplace can be found in our Rewarding, Engaging, and Retaining Key Talent Collection.