Valuable Data From Valued People: How Best Places To Work Can Impact Your Company Culture

Valuable Data From Valued People: How Best Places To Work Can Impact Your Company Culture
Mitch Bettis

The survey for the Best Places to Work is one of the smartest investments our company makes, and the results have changed our workplace.

I’m proud to share a part of our survey results. If your company participated in this program, you could have this right-from-the-employees data like I have about Arkansas Business Publishing Group. All of this actionable data cost $645 for a company our size, and the management value of this information is worth exponentially more.

Do we rank perfectly in every category? No. As the president of this organization that is the exact information I want to receive from our team so I can respond. I want to know what are we doing well and what are we doing poorly?

Being Extraordinary

Recruiting and retaining the most talented people is difficult. I’m sure you find it a challenge as well. When I talk with business, education and political leaders across the state, it is always among the top two things they tell me that rank as their top challenge.

I’m often asked by people what the mission of our company is. I tell them our mission is to be extraordinary. We want to deliver extraordinary information and extraordinary products to highly targeted and extraordinary audiences. The key to all of that is having an extraordinary workforce.

We do a lot of things here to build a great work environment: competitive compensation plans, an all-staff retreat, a committee of staffers that has a budget to do fun events for the staff every month, visits by the ice cream truck, kids room for the children of our staff members, yoga room, etc.

However, the feedback from this survey gives me, our CEO and our management team a resource into what our employees think of our company.

What Your Employees Are Really Feeling

Arkansas Business hosts this program for the state, but we contract with a firm that specializes in capturing this information — Best Companies Group.

Companies who participate in this survey received a detailed view of aggregated responses to the 76-question employee survey including response rates for different demographics like gender, age, duration of employment and job role.

In addition, managers see a full transcript of employee comments to open-ended questions. Even though the survey responses are anonymous, this transcript is always interesting — and candid.

One of the key elements of these reports is the benchmark report comparing responses from our employees to other participating companies.

Let me give you a specific example. Overall, our scores were positive and akin to many companies surveyed in Arkansas. However, in 2013 our team marked us low in an area called training and development. Only 51 percent of our team was in agreement that we did well there, and our scores in other areas were considerably higher.

Improving training became a focus of our executive and management team for the following year. We listened to the needs of each department, and we reshaped some of our existing programs. We also deployed new training initiatives. As a result, in the 2014 survey the scores improved from 51 percent affirmative to 79 percent in this specific area.

We saw a similar improvement with regards to pay and benefits. In 2013, 69 percent of our team affirmed we had a good program. That was too low for our taste. Even though managers felt we were performing well in this area, our team felt differently. Our CEO took this on as a personal priority. We evaluated everyone’s compensation in our company and made immediate changes where we felt we were out of line. We compiled a complete summary of every employee’s compensation, including all the things the company pays for on behalf of an employee in terms of benefits, and our CEO presented that to each person. The combination of employees feeling like their concerns were heard, us making targeted changes and improving our communication on the overall compensation packages helped our scores to improve to 82 percent in this category in 2014.

Our overall ranking from our employees improved from 79 percent in 2013 (which is a fairly middle-of-the-road number for Arkansas companies in this program) to 89 percent, which would rank us among the scores for the state’s best places to work. Because we host the program, we can’t participate or “win,” but it’s affirming that we continue to be on the right track as a company.

More Than a Contest

It’s the data from this survey that is helping us make decisions to improve our workplace, and that directly impacts our efforts to recruit and retain a top-notch staff. I encourage you to give this program a review. Depending on the number of employees you have the costs range about $600 to $900 for the online employee survey (for what it’s worth, Arkansas Business doesn’t receive any of those funds — it goes to Best Companies Group for doing the survey). The survey is open to any publicly or privately held organization, either for profit or not-for-profit. Arkansas Business does not see the scores of any participating company, so you don’t have to worry about any of that information making its way to a reporter. The scores are private information and available only to the participants.

Participation Fees

Employees in Arkansas # Employees Surveyed Online Survey(1) Paper Survey
15-24 All $655 $840
25 - 99 All $680 $1,010
100 - 199 All $780 $1,240
200 - 499 Up to 250(2) $830 $1,370
500 - 2499 350(2) $900 $1,540
2500 + 400(2) $940 $1,735

(1) Fees are non-refundable.
(2)To ensure the credibility of the information, companies with 15-24 employees must have an 80% (or better) response rate to be considered for the list.

I’m a believer in this program, and I’m happy to visit with any leader on your team to discuss the program more fully. Feel free to give me a call or email me at I believe the information you receive from this resource will be invaluable to your company, and the rewards will trump the cost many times over.

I’m out to build the best team of people in this region of the country, and Best Companies Group survey has proven to be one of our most effective tools to getting that done.

Mitch Bettis
President & Publisher
Arkansas Business Publishing Group