company culture, employee-driven engagement

4 Qualities of a Great Workplace

Every company leader wants to cultivate a culture with that “something special” — that perfect combination of factors to keep employees enthusiastic and engaged. But what components create a truly great place to work?

In today’s work environment, there’s a great deal of discussion about what actually makes one workplace better than another, and what factors keep employees happy to show up productive and motivated every day. Is it a full pantry? A game room?

Forget the old cliches. Creating a great place to work requires a thoughtful balance of supportive management, career development, and meaningfulness. 

Here are the main elements that contribute to a “best place to work” culture at your organization: 

A Clear Vision & Identity

A vision statement is used to describe the future state of your organization; it defines what the organization hopes to become in the future. It’s a long-term goal that provides direction for the organization. It also communicates the organization’s purpose to employees and other stakeholders and gives them the inspiration to achieve that purpose. 

The vision statement of any company should be tied to achievable goals for the employees. This way, it becomes a part of the day-to-day activities of all team members. For example, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh constantly enforces his company’s vision — to give the best customer service possible. As he puts it, “Zappos is a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes.”  By communicating this core value to its employees, customer experience is ingrained in their daily work, and becomes their primary shared goal.

Identity, on the other hand is about the day-to-day culture of a company, as well as its public image. Notably, it’s the companies who empower their employees to be a part of building the company culture and identity who end up being among the best places to work.

Great workplaces create spaces where employees can feel free to express themselves, give suggestions, and be a part of making decisions.

A Culture of Open Communication

Open communication allows your employees to be more engaged and understand that what they do matters in the success of the business. Fostering a sense of open communication empowers your employees to express themselves, make suggestions, be more creative, and play a larger role in making decisions. 

Effective communication may seem simple, but it does take effort. Management should consistently communicate their goals as well of those of the company with their employees. Routinely talking with your workforce about their goals, both personal and professional, ensures  accountability for both management and employees. In order to effectively maintain employee-manager dialogue, be sure to use the proper tools that store data regarding performance history, goals, achievements, and notes from previous check-ins. 

Beyond work-centered communication, leadership should also listen to employees’ values. This way they can make sure employee needs are being met. With Visit.org’s platform, corporate social responsibility professional can track the causes and activities that interest individual employees, in order to customize giving back experiences that boost engagement while communicating that an employee’s whole identity matters to the company.

Opening this line of communication leads to greater job satisfaction, reduced stress,  higher participation, and loyalty throughout the organization. 

A Demonstrated Appreciation of Its Employees

A well-implemented employee recognition program has the power to impact many aspects of a business including engagement, turnover, productivity, morale, and purpose. However, non-existent, unintuitive, or poorly-implemented employee recognition programs can have the opposite effect, decreasing motivation and even pushing good employees away. In fact, research published in Human Resources Today finds “the number one reason why people leave jobs is limited recognition and praise.” 

Recognition can come in many forms. Whether it be a monetary stipend, recognition in a company-wide email, or even taking them to lunch, there are a number of ways to show employees a company cares. One of the growing ways to do that is to offer employees time off to volunteer for a cause they care about. Similarly, some companies are using these social responsibility activities as a bonus, sometimes rewarding an employee by sending them overseas for an extended amount of time to give back in a way that matters to them.

There are even ways of showing recognition that already fit seamlessly into a company’s plan for their employees. These include: offering management training programs, invitations to attend relevant conferences, online learning courses, and team-building experiences for a cause. Not only do you get the benefit of higher employee retention, but you also reap the benefits of a more educated, better-trained, more socially-conscious workforce!

A Commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility

Employees tend to be happier at and more loyal to companies that are socially responsible.

Socially-conscious business practices are becoming more important not only for public image, but also to improve employee participation and job satisfaction. Research shows nearly 60% of today’s employees who are proud of their company’s social responsibility are also fully engaged in their jobs. 

Organizations that are connected to societal issues and align themselves with making their community a better place provide their employees with a sense of deeper meaning at their jobs. This instills the value in your workforce to not only work for the success of the organization, but also for the betterment of society. 

With Visit.org‘s platform, human resources and CSR leaders can offer a global inventory of do-good team-building activities — showing the company’s commitment to social responsibility, and their appreciation of their employees. These cause-benefiting activities range from enjoying an in-office catered meals that supports refugees, volunteering at urban gardens to fight climate change, organizing donation drives for students in need or animal shelters, and so much more.


Transforming your organization into a great place to work starts with setting goals for your organization’s culture and then collaborating with your employees to refine and achieve those goals. Most importantly, realize that enthusiasm, motivation, and loyalty happens when employees feel genuinely heard, valued, and empowered to bring their whole selves to the workplace. Taking these factors into consideration will help you become an organization with an exceptional culture.

Cover Photo Credit: Anderson W Rangel