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Employee Development and Leadership Engagement

In 2014, top organizations are focusing on several high-profile business challenges. For example, last year, some studies exposed disturbingly low employee engagement rates. Best companies are figuring how to engage top performers by helping them map their career paths and develop desired knowledge and skills. They do this through professional development classes, executive coaching and training for managers who need to understand how they can spot potential talent and support employee growth.

At the best small and medium companies, there is a strong sense of inclusion and camaraderie — keys for trust-based cultures. CEOs and senior-level executives make an effort to know employees personally, and they often participate in onboarding, training, recognition and company celebrations. Moreover, leaders seek regular input and feedback from employees about the workplace environment and related decisions. Because their opinions and ideas matter, employees tend to feel deeply invested in their employer and its success.

Enhancing Company Culture

Another pattern among top companies — organizational culture is not just a priority, but a strategic imperative. Employers understand that a strong culture attracts the right kind employees. We see this with both large and small companies, from Google (last year’s top pick among large companies) to much smaller Badger Mining Corp.

When employee and employer values and visions align, we see companies succeeding in retention, profitability and innovation. Best practices in achieving a cultural fit include interview questions that assess a candidate’s alignment with company values, multiple interview rounds, and simulated work experiences to get a sense of candidates’ abilities and interpersonal style before they’re hired.

Also on the culture front, top employers are serious about creating a fun, celebratory environment that’s meaningful to employees. A variety of engaging practices and events are often integrated into daily work life, punctuated by big celebrations once or twice a year. From simple “Random Acts of Fun” to all-hands offsite trips to Maui, the best companies constantly push themselves to find new ways to foster lighthearted bonding and workplace joy.