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An Edelman perspective on making meaningful employee

connections that deepen engagement, build trust
and accelerate business performance

March 2017


Go from Zero to Hero with Employer of Choice Rankings That Matter
By Amy Kot, Senior Vice President, Employee Engagement
On the heels of the Academy Awards each year, Fortune Magazine releases its annual 100 Best Companies to
Work For list. Produced in partnership with the Great Places to Work Institute, the list is viewed, like the Oscars, as
the gold standard for recognition.

But is securing and maintaining a place on Fortunes list worth it? Entering requires an employee survey and a
lengthy Culture Audit written submission. Depending on how a company intends to garner workplace recognition
to enhance its business goals, the answer may be no. Read on for tips to identify and secure the workplace
rankings that will attract the type of recognition and talent your organization needs to succeed.

Step One: Determine Your Desired Outcomes

Start by identifying the overall business outcomes Is securing and maintaining a place on
youre looking to achieve, which will inform the target
Fortunes 100 Best Companies to Work For list
audiences youll want to reach and ultimately the
types of workplace rankings and lists to pursue. For worth it? Depending on how your company
example, if your desired outcome is to be seen as a: intends to garner workplace recognition to
Strong performer, generating investor appeal enhance its business goals, the answer may
youll need to target potential investors
be no.
Ideal employer, attracting new talent in key markets
your target audience includes potential hires
aligned with your recruiting strategy
What media are your target audiences consuming?
Strong brand, generating customer loyalty, respect
If your goal is to attract a more diverse workforce, for
and sales your targets are current and potential
example, research which media outlets are the most
influential and visible among women and minorities
Good corporate citizen, trusted and contributing to
and the workplace rankings each offers (e.g., 100 Best
society your targets include policymakers and
Companies for Working Mothers). Next, consider the
scale and circulation of the outlet.
Trustworthy partner, delivering value and exhibiting
high ethical standards youll need to target For which rankings does your organization meet
current and potential partners eligibility requirements? Many lists and other
recognition opportunities require a specific size,
Step Two: Identify and Evaluate Workplace location or number of employees to be eligible for
Rankings participation. Align opportunities with your
Clear on your desired business outcomes and target organizations current geographic footprint and
audiences? Good now its much easier to narrow planned expansion into key markets.
down the universe of workplace recognition
opportunities into specific and relevant lists for which
you are eligible. Prioritize which rankings merit further
consideration by asking:

2017 Edelman
Which rankings are most influential? Take a look at your For example, Glassdoor uses employee reviews
key competitors and where they are showing up on completed within a year-long period to recognize
workplace rankings and lists as you consider which to companies on their Best Places to Work and Highest
pursue, and understand the prominence and Rated CEOs lists. Pursuing recognition on these lists
relevance of the ranking in your specific industry doesnt require an application but should be part of an
and/or market. ongoing strategy to manage your Glassdoor presence
by engaging with reviewers. Considering the above
If your organization has a presence in multiple cities, elements can help to determine whether a particular
consider streamlining your approach across markets by opportunity is the best use of your resources.
applying for award programs that partner with multiple
local outlets through city-specific surveys (e.g., Top Step Three: Develop a Differentiating
Workplaces). While you will likely need to apply for
Submission Strategy
each award individually, the process is similar each
Once youve identified a set of recognition targets that
time and can help build your reputation as an ideal
align with your business goals and recruiting strategy
employer within key markets.
and that are offered through reputable outlets that
match your priority geographies, communities and
business strengths the real work begins. We partner
Once youve identified a set of recognition with clients at this stage to create an action plan, with
targets that align with your business goals submission requirements for each opportunity,
and recruiting strategy and that are offered deliverables, deadlines and accountable parties.

through reputable outlets that match your Next, develop an overall submission strategy that
priority geographies, communities and clearly articulates your Employee Value Proposition
(EVP) and employer brand in short, a compelling story
business strengths the real work begins.
about your organization.

Youll want to leverage employee research to identify

What is the methodology and approach for selecting the specific programs, policies and other ways your
winners? When reviewing workplace rankings, its also organizations stands out within different areas of the
important to understand which opportunities require employee experience, including:
your active participation, either through entries and Company Culture
employee surveys, and which are based on factors Leadership
outside of your direct control (e.g. Glassdoor Total Rewards
Employees Choice Awards). Working Environment
Social Responsibility
For rankings based on research, determine whether the Financial Strength
methodology is sound and well-suited for your
organization. For rankings based on more subjective Step Four: Create an A-List Submission
measures, like editorial opinion, note there are often Create a best-in-class rankings submission that
opportunities to shape this opinion through a thoughtful effectively tells your companys employee story, stands
media relations strategy. out from other entries and makes a compelling case
for being recognized, ensuring you:
What level of commitment and resourcing is required? Leverage and apply all insights from the research,
Many rankings, including Fortunes list, require the targeting and planning phases
purchase of an anonymous employee survey and Allocate sufficient resources and budget to deliver
other entry fees, along with a potentially significant a top-notch entry
investment in resources, time and other hard costs to Take care that multimedia and packaging elements
research, develop and submit your companys closely follow submission entry guidelines
application. Other awards require continuous
engagement via publicly shared employee feedback.

2017 Edelman. For more information, contact us at

Regardless of which recognition opportunities you pursue, the following five criteria used by evaluators for the Fortune
list are a helpful lens through which to view your submission:
1. Variety Breadth of programs, policies and methods for implementation
2. Originality Programs, policies and practices are unique and creative, while bearing the mark of the company
3. All-Inclusiveness Programs, policies and practices are for everyone
4. Human Touch A sense of appreciation, generosity and warmth in programs and policies
5. Integration Programs and policies are linked by a central theme; an overarching framework in which the
programs are delivered

Step Five: Dont Forget the After Party

Youve followed these steps and achieved recognition that matters dont forget to promote your hard work and
maximize the impact with key stakeholders, potential recruits and employees. In addition to announcing the win
internally, be sure to celebrate your hard-earned recognition and thank employees for their contributions and efforts.

Encourage and equip your leaders, managers and employees to share the news via their personal social networks by
providing them with images/logos, infographics, talking points, customized email signatures and more. And be sure to
reference the recognition in your recruiting and new hire onboarding materials.

Externally, maximize your recognition through media outreach to local, regional and national outlets (as
appropriate), industry and HR trades and influencers. Promote the win on your owned social channels and consider a
paid social media campaign to reach specific types of candidates with the news. Employer of choice awards can
also be the keystone of an executive visibility program for C-suite leaders, unlocking additional speaking opportunities
or external partnerships. Finally, be sure to share your recognition with customers, partners and vendors.

The most compelling reason to pursue on-target workplace accolades are the business outcomes that result from an
engaged workforce. Companies with a strong reputation as a best place to work have higher levels of customer
satisfaction and loyalty; more qualified job applicants for open positions; lower turnover levels; greater innovation
and creativity with health care cost reductions; and an improved corporate reputation. By following this approach,
you wont just be basking in the warm glow of recognition its likely your efforts will make a direct, positive impact to
your organizations bottom line.

About Us
Edelman Employee Engagement helps organizations accelerate business performance, delivered by highly
engaged and trusted employees. We do this by making meaningful, trust-building connections connecting
employees with the company, with each other and with the outside world.

Our global network of employee engagement specialists develop engagement strategy; deploy the tools and
processes to deliver it; create the multimedia channels and content that support it; and design the insight
mechanisms to measure it.

For more information, visit us at, follow us on Twitter at @EdelmanEE or email us at

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