5 Top Qualities of a Great Place to Work

10 min. read

Great places to work have certain qualities in common. Here are the top five.

What exactly qualifies a place of business as an amazing workplace, or a great place to work? It’s a question well worth considering since there has been a tectonic shift in recent years in the way we view employee experience and satisfaction at our jobs.

Organizations have come to realize that there is a growing movement of empowerment within their ranks, and employees are finding a collective voice that says in no uncertain terms, “We need to be treated better!”

The response from companies in an effort to halt the brain drain of exiting staff is to reevaluate their corporate culture and move from a model of profitability to a more personable one.

With quit-culture growing to the point where it can’t be ignored and increasing demand for employee satisfaction in the workplace, companies would be wise to take a close look at these top five qualities and adopt them as best practices.

While some may be obvious and even thought of as a “given” they could the tipping point between a thriving company and one that is desperately holding on for life.

Focus on people

Successful companies know that their greatest asset is their people, They also recognize that their staff and customers alike need to be treated with respect, kindness, and decency. Great workplaces have abandoned the old mindset of trying to squeeze every last drop of profit out of their employees’ productivity levels and moved to a more human-centric idea of giving back to their employees to ensure their needs are met.

One could argue that the profit margins are higher in the former model, but it is myopic in its approach. Burnout and overworking result in dissatisfied employees who don’t care about a company that they view as more of a slave-driving influence than that of a caring and decent influence in their lives. A long view of the situation will inevitably bring about the understanding that happy and engaged employees work harder and with more passion and actually care about your customers and the survival of the organization as a whole — because the company’s survival is intimately connected with their own.

Hiring practices

When it comes to hiring, the prevailing wisdom is that you keep looking and interviewing, and keep talking to people until a “perfect candidate” walks through your doors. This certainly leaves a lot to chance, and it also doesn’t consider the question: What if that perfect candidate doesn’t walk through the front door?

What many people fail to see is that it is possible to create productive and successful employees out of any able, intelligent, honest, and willing candidate. In other words, you could create a perfect employee out of an imperfect candidate. The focus should be on hiring a person, not a resume. And in-house training and on-the-job experience can turn that person into a great employee. This is where investing in your employees comes into play. If you believe that someone is worth hiring, then surely they are worth investing in to grow their abilities and become a bigger and more influential member of your team.

Obviously, you need to be dealing with someone who has relatively high intelligence and aptitude. But the trick is to look for people who are smart and productivity-focused. These people have ambition and are proud of their accomplishments.

When asked the question, “What did you produce that was of value to your last employer” and you get a blank look in response, along with something like, “Well, I don’t know. I was paid by the hour…” then you know you are talking to the wrong candidate.

Pay and benefits

Organizations that care about their people and care about attracting great talent and retaining employees over the long term will make sure to pay their people well and offer benefits that enhance their lives.

Instead of cutting as many costs as you can in the payroll department, this is actually an area that will pay dividends when done right. Offering a living wage (plus a little extra if possible) and competitive benefits that make the job very attractive to someone will communicate to them that you value them and that they would be a welcome addition to your team. This is the old adage “actions speak louder than words”.

Company culture

Top Workplaces that are populated with happy and satisfied employees are known to focus on ways to improve and evolve their company culture. This is seen by their intentional and consistent engagement between leadership and employees, they communicate openly and build trust within their ranks.

Great places to work are vocal about their purposes and values and are sure to align with employees who share those values and are passionate about their mission.

They strike the delicate balance between treating their people with decency and respect and simultaneously holding high expectations for productivity and delivery of excellence. They treat their workforce with kindness, while at the same time empowering them to do their best work. These two things are not mutually exclusive, and the best places to work understand and practice this philosophy.


This is listed last here, but communication actually is at the top of the list when it comes to qualities that make a company a great place to work.

Great communication builds transparency and trust that goes both ways. It aligns employees and leadership under the same goals and keeps a constant flow of information within the organization. It allows for feedback up and down the organizational chart and when done well, can solve almost any issue that a company might face.

Having a policy on communication methods and strategies establish a decorum and baseline for how team members talk to one another that may reflect policies of respectfulness and kindness, etc. It also has the added benefit of allowing leaders to lead by example. Focusing on communication shows that the company cares about the interactions of its staff.

In addition, an environment where good communication is encouraged tends to bring people together and raise the level of community among the staff (since they are talking to one another) so the morale, productivity, mutual support, and overall success of the group are uplifted.

Employees should be able to share concerns and feel heard, while management can utilize employee survey insights to start vital conversations that might illuminate areas of improvement with the employee’s best interests in mind.