Corporate Giving Is Top Driver of Employee Experience at the Best Companies to Work For – Especially Now

Claire Hastwell

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Claire Hastwell

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One of the most impactful best practices from the 100 Best this year is generous community giving.

WIIFM has become WIIFTC at the 100 Best.

That is, the old adage that people are motivated by “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM) has transformed at this year’s Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For®. In the wake of the COVID pandemic, racial reckoning and other challenges of the past year, employees at the 100 Best are now driven by “what’s in it for the community” (WIIFTC).

In particular, employees at companies with generous and lasting corporate social responsibility efforts during the pandemic were 15.6 times more likely to say their company was a great place to work.

Great Place To Work® discovered this connection between corporate giving and employee happiness while producing this year’s 100 Best Companies ranking.

 

Help the community, help employee morale

When leaders helped the community last year, they helped boost employee sentiment.

Great Place to Work research into the 2021 100 Best found that when employees felt good about how their company contributed to their communities, they were:

  • 1.9 times more likely to experience pride in their organization
  • 1.7 times more likely to report receiving a fair share of the profits made by their organization
  • 1.7 times more likely to say their work has special meaning rather than being “just a job”
  • 1.6 times more likely to say that their executives fully embody the best characteristics of the company

And employees at these phenomenal companies have plenty to be proud of: The 100 Best took heroic actions to support their communities in a challenging year.

 

Nationwide is on the community’s side

Consider mutual insurance company Nationwide, and its big-hearted response to the COVID crisis.

The company’s foundation provided $5 million in grants to support the American Red Cross, Feeding America, United Way and local organizations.

 

The impact on employee experience

When asked what makes Nationwide a great place to work, one Nationwide employee told us: “We stress the noble purpose of our work and our values. Big commitment to supporting community through donations and support of volunteerism.”

There was no mention from this employee of fancy perks or PTO – their reponse began and ended with community giving.

 

Camden opens its checkbook for residents

We can also look to Camden Property Trust, which owns and manages 165 apartment communities across the country. Their deep pockets matched their deep values.

At the outset of the pandemic and related economic downturn, Ric Campo, Camden’s chair of the board and CEO, and Keith Oden, executive vice chair, recognized many of Camden’s tenants would struggle with rent payments and the costs of food and other life necessities.

So in April 2020, they set up both a rent deferral program and a program for renters to apply for grants of up to $2,000.

“We just figured we needed to do something and do something in a big way, and we knew it would take money,” Ric said.

Ric and Keith donated funds from their upcoming bonuses – a total of $1 million.

Camden added to those personal contributions to establish a $5 million relief fund.

When that $5 million was distributed in a mere 16 minutes, Camden added another $5.4 million to the fund.

Ultimately, 8,000 Camden residents benefitted from the grants.

 

Employees took note and pride swelled

In the company’s Trust Index™ survey, many employees mentioned the generosity of Camden’s leaders. Here’s one of many examples of employees’ praise when asked what makes the company a great place to work:

Camden is a caring company, for example giving financial assistance to residents during this time. This is something that makes me proud to work for this company. Also giving bonuses to the front-line employees was another thing that makes me proud to be a Camden employee! My direct report and the VP are the best people I have worked for in my life and I have worked for some really good people. VP is phenomenal!

 

Texas Health Resources acts as a community resource on COVID

Community support took different forms in 2020, such as acts of solidarity with the Black community after George Floyd’s murder, and corporate giving in response to the economy.

But it also included projecting a voice of fact-based reason amid disinformation.

Barclay Berdan, CEO of Texas Health Resources, stepped up to educate Dallas and other North Texas communities about the pandemic last year.

Given how polarized the public conversation about the pandemic became, Barclay was asked to share his messages about COVID beyond the walls of his healthcare system. In October, he began publishing a wider community newsletter – covering topics such as the effectiveness of COVID vaccines.

Barclay didn’t expect to play this role. But he felt called to serve as a truth-teller in a confusing time. “There was a leadership gap,” Barclay said. “People needed to step in and fill it.”

 

How employees feel the social impact

The word “community” was mentioned time and time again in Texas Health survey responses. Employees told us that what makes the company unique is its “commitment to the community,” “community outreach” and “community time off.”

Research has shown that helping others is one of the key sources from which humans derive meaning in their lives. And in times of crisis, humans, as social animals, have a natural urge to help others. It’s clear from Texas Health employee praise that during the difficulty of last year, being able to give back through work was especially powerful.

 

How does your company stack up on giving back?

Is your company excelling when it comes to community service in these difficult times? In 2021, 30% of the list is made up of first-timers – companies that made it because of how they were caring through crisis. You too can apply to get on a Best Workplaces list. Sign up for our company culture newsletter for more examples of best practices from Best Workplaces.

A special thanks to our 100 Best Celebration Partners, which include: 

AbbVie, Anthem Health System, Atlantic Health System, Burlington, Cadence, Camden, Cisco, Citrix, Comcast, DHL Express U.S., Deloitte, Dow, Edward Jones, Experian, First American, Hilton, KPMG, Marriott, Nationwide, OC Tanner, Rocket Companies, Salesforce, Synchrony, UKG, Wegmans and WellStar.

Claire Hastwell

As the Content Program Manager at Great Place To Work, Claire helps decode the psychology behind high-trust workplaces using Great Place To Work’s extensive data repository on employee experience. Claire has co-authored noted reports such as “Women in the Workplace” and “The Power of Purpose at Work,” and contributed to Fortune with her profiles of the Best Workplaces™. Her latest report on employee retention strategies draws on the experience of 1.3 million employees to give leaders strategic guidance on retaining their top people. 

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Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2024 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work determines the list using our proprietary For All methodology. To determine the Best Workplaces in Technology list, Great Place To Work analyses the survey responses of tens of thousands of employees from Great Place To Work Certified™ companies in the technology industry.

Our survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organizational data like size, location, industry, demographics, roles, and levels. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience.

Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. Survey data analysis and company-provided datapoints are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience for all employees in this industry.

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™ and nominate as a company in the technology industry.

We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, news, and financial performance, and investigate any employee reports of company incompliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Categories

These organisations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

  • Micro 10-29 Employees
  • Small 30-99 Employees
  • Medium 100-999 Employees
  • Large 1000+ Employees

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work determines the list using our proprietary For All methodology. To determine the Best Workplaces in Technology list, Great Place To Work analyses the survey responses of tens of thousands of employees from Great Place To Work Certified™ companies in the technology industry.

Our survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organization’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organizational data like size, location, industry, demographics, roles, and levels. Great Place To Work measures the differences in survey responses across demographic groups and roles within each organization to assess both the quality and consistency of the employee experience.

Statements are weighted according to their relevance in describing the most important aspects of an equitable workplace. Survey data analysis and company-provided datapoints are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience for all employees in this industry.

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™ and nominate as a company in the technology industry.

We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, news, and financial performance, and investigate any employee reports of company incompliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces for Women™ List Methodology

The Best Workplaces for Women™list is determined using Great Place To Work’sFor All™methodology to evaluate hundreds of Certified™Great Place To Work®organisations across Australia.   

Data is based on over 40,000 employee survey responses from women in Great Place To Work® Certified™ organisations across Australia. 

The survey 

The survey enables employees to share confidential quantitative and qualitative feedback about their organisation’s culture by responding to 60 statements on a 5-point scale and answering two open-ended questions. 

Collectively, these statements describe a great employee experience, defined by high levels of trust, respect, credibility, fairness, pride, and camaraderie. In addition, companies provide organisational data like size, location, industry, and the number of women in the workforce and management positions. 

Considerations 

Great Place To Work analysed the gender balance of each workplace, how it compares to each company’s industry, and patterns in representation as women rise from front-line positions to executive/C-suite roles. 
Survey data analysis and women’s representation figures are then factored into a combined score to compare and rank the companies that create the most consistently positive experience and opportunities for all women, regardless of their role or demographic background.   

Eligibility   

To be considered for the list, companies must be Great Place To Work Certified™. Companies must also employ at least 50 women. We require statistically significant survey results, review anomalies in responses, and investigate any employee reports of company in compliance with strict surveying rules to validate the integrity of the results and findings. 

Please note this list is NOT ranked. 

Great Place To Work® Best Workplaces™ in Australia 2023 Evaluation Methodology

Great Place To Work, the global authority on workplace culture, determined the Best Workplaces™ Australia 2023 List by conducting annual workforce studies through our Trust Index Survey™ and Culture Management platform Emprising®, representing the voices of almost 50,000 employees across Australia.

Employees responded to over 60 survey questions describing the extent to which their organisation creates a great place to work For All™, meaning that the company empowers all individuals to reach their full human potential. Eighty-five percent of the evaluation is based on what employees report about their experiences of trust and reaching their full human potential as part of their organisation, no matter who they are or what they do. We analyse these experiences relative to each organisation’s size, workforce make up, and what’s typical in their industry and region. The remainder of the evaluation is an assessment of all employees’ daily experiences of the company’s values, people’s ability to contribute new ideas, and the effectiveness of their leaders to ensure they’re consistently experienced.

To ensure surveys truly represent all employees, we require enough people in each organisation to respond that results are accurate to a 95% confidence level and 5% margin of error or better. We review any anomalies in survey responses, news and financial performance to ensure there aren’t any extraordinary reasons to believe we couldn’t trust a company’s survey results.

 

Categories

These organisations’ assessment is based 100% on employee responses to the Trust Index survey.

For larger organisations with more than 100 employees, we also use our Culture Audit™ tool, asking organisations to share with us their practices, policies and programs to creating a great workplace For All™ and evaluating the approach they take.

Why do you say in one place your national list scoring is based on 85%/15% and in another place that it is 75%/25%?

We are explaining two different things:

1.  The criteria we evaluate

2.  Where the data comes from