Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Great Place to Work event in Amsterdam. This platform brought together nominees for the GPtW award, i.e. the best employers in the land. My 5 key take-aways from the session, in random order:

  1. In the category medium-sized companies there was only 1 public organisation, i.e. the RGS Enkhuizen (a secondary school) nominated (congrats btw). Having spoken to its dean, it became clear how much room for mutual learning there still is. Too many schools isolate in splendid isolation and show to learn little from more advanced peers in the nation (or abroad).
  2. In general, there is a 20%+ gap between GPtW nominees and ‘the rest’ of the pack. Dutch employers on average score a meagre 58%, whilst top GPtW companies score almost 80%. Roooom for improvement therefore.
  3. The value of employees’ personal vision statements as input to build a more sustainable joint company roadmap and vision. Personal vision statements can also help better (re)connect employees which benefits work satisfaction, employee retention and generally a better flow of ideas. Just to name a few. A personal vision is all about knowing who you are, what you want (short & longterm) and what you’re best capable of. Aspects that seem so obvious, that most of us professionals or companies spend little time exploring, formalising or reshaping. Yet when shaped together, a personal vision becomes a very powerful perspective as Ilse Nelemans and Salem Samhoud describe in their book on this topic: “You Are Who You Will Be”.
  4. Almost all of the nominated companies operate in the business of consulting, professional services and IT. Is there a relationship between verticals and score or has GPtW simply not been marketed as enthusiastically in eg manufacturing?
  5. Authenticity counts. A number of videos of best places to work were shown to the crowd. Whilst all companies video-taped stressed the need for authenticity, personal touch and so on, only 1 company (NetApp) came with a video from the heart: not scripted and without auto-cue.

GPtW nominees perhaps have better managed to redefine the meaning of work to their employees, customers, partners and themselves. What’s your definition of Work 2.0?

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