The Denver Post recently announced the results of its second annual Top Workplaces program. The rankings are based on over 32,000 employee surveys from 183 employers in the Denver area.

Employees scored employers on a wide range of areas, including appreciation of workers, company direction, confidence in senior leadership, workplace values and ethics, encouragement of ideas, competence of management, and pay and benefits.

Rankings were divided into large, midsize and small employer categories. The top winners in each category were, respectively, Anadarko Petroleum Corp., The Container Store, and Restaurant Solutions Inc.

When staff analyzed this year’s employee responses, a single common thread was apparent in the highest-ranking companies — they each had an employee-friendly work culture, and they worked hard to keep their work environment employee-friendly every day.

Many of the employers that participated in the program this year said that the right work environment is a requirement for attracting and keeping the right talent, for “wowing” customers, and for achieving company goals. They’ve learned that happy employees are productive employees.

However, there is no single “right” work environment template that serves all companies and all employees perfectly. The right culture mix for your company will likely emerge after experimentation and input from employees.

The companies that are ranked as “great places to work” use a variety of approaches to make theirs an employee-friendly culture. One organization bases 50% of employee reviews on how well employees demonstrate company values, including “joyfulness.” Another made significant culture changes to emphasize fun, innovation, and access to executives. Another holds daily team huddles and communicates values expectations regularly.

A number of companies offer work/life balance perks including flex time, daily workouts, on-site showers, and even stipends for fitness memberships and activities.

One company described efforts to create a work environment where employees are excited to come to work each day, not “banging their heads on the steering wheel as they drive in” to work. Employees are trusted and respected. They enjoy autonomy and flexibility. And, they deliver on performance promises, helping the organization succeed.

Another organization calls itself a “village” where “teammates” cooperate and support each other in pursuit of company goals. That sense of community creates both high expectations for performance and high expectations of teamwork.

Fun is another common element of these cultures. One organization hosts company “town hall” meetings each month where business updates are shared, successes are celebrated, executives are available for Q&A, and everyone enjoys catered food and beer. They have a lot of fun — and everyone “also works really hard.”

If your organization’s culture isn’t as employee-friendly as you’d like, consider sharing some of the best practices of Denver’s top workplaces. The right culture mix for your company might be just a few discussions away.

How well would your company fare on these “top workplace” elements? How employee-friendly is your workplace? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE SURVEY: What is it like to work in your company culture? Contribute your experiences in my fast, free Performance-Values Assessment. Results and analysis are available on the research page of my blog site: Driving Results Through Culture.

Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes. The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.

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