Great Cultures Equals Great ResultsFortune magazine has just published this year’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For.” Since 1998 the research and consulting firm, Great Place to Work, has been conducting the most extensive employee survey in corporate America. Drawing feedback from more than 232,000 employees at companies with more than 1,000 employees, measurements are ranked and analyzed through a trust index survey and culture audit questionnaire.

These measures include “the honesty and quality of communication by managers, degree of support for employees’ personal and professional lives, and the authenticity of relationships with colleagues,” along with questions about benefits, employee programs, and organizational practices.

The researchers report, “organizations that perform best on measures of inclusivity, trust, pride, and camaraderie … placed in the top 25% by this measure saw higher revenue growth than the ones in the bottom 25%.” Top ranked companies had three times the growth of those in the bottom quartile.

The results of this annual survey have become such strong predictors of company success that Jerry Dodson started an investment fund in 2005 to invest in the Best Places to Work companies. Fortune calls him “one of the most successful fund managers of his era, overseeing $22.5 billion.” Dodson’s Parnassus Endeavor fund “has delivered annualized returns of 12.2%, compared with just 8.5% for the S&P 500.”

“Dodson posits that elements that define a good workplace — from benefits like health insurance and childcare to cultural collegiality, advancement opportunities, and faith in management — are linked to meaningful qualities that drive up stock prices, such as talent retention (leading to lower turnover costs) and increased productivity.”

This is the latest in a series of studies showing that building strong and nurturing cultures produce extraordinary results. The book, Firms of Endearment: How World Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose draws from an extensive research study looking for companies that focused on endearing themselves to their customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and shareholders. These FoEs are driven by “aligning the interests of all in such a way that no stakeholder group gains at the expense of other stakeholder groups; rather, they all prosper together.” Good Company: Business Success in the Worthiness Era, shows how a strong leadership culture that’s serving all of its stakeholders and society pays off for everyone buying from, working for, investing in, and doing business with the company.

Tomorrow we publish my March blogs in the April issue of The Leader Letter. There are many elements to building peak performance cultures. This issue deals with a few key components of high performing cultures. The team leading a department, division, or entire organization is the core factor that sets the tone, direction, and ultimate performance of its culture. If you missed the March blog, in tomorrow’s issue you can read about seven leadership team failure factors and complete a 14 item self-assessment.

You can also look at nine reasons leaders aren’t leading and click a link to watch my latest webinar, LeaderShift: Transforming Good Managers into Great Leaders. And the April issue shows how leaders falling into the bring-me-solutions-not-problems trap create a zoo of monkeys and moose that create bigger problems and reduce effectiveness. Giving positive feedback is a vital part of building a positive, can-do culture.

Are you building a great place to work? Is your leadership boosting or blocking personal, team, and organization effectiveness?