What Makes a Great Workplace?

Some employees join a company because of the culture; others do because of the benefits package or the promise of career growth. But the question of how long they remain and how they perform lies, most often, on their relationship with the management.

Great Place to Work®, a global human resources consulting, research and training firm specializing in organizational trust, has been studying and identifying great workplaces around the world for 25 years. Their annual research is based on data representing more than 10 million employees in 50 countries representing about 6,000 organizations of varying sizes, industries, maturity, and structures.

Employee’s View

The company believes that a great workplace does not depend on program and benefits but is built through the day-to-day relationships that employees experience. They defined a great workplace, from the employee’s perspective, through three principles: trust, pride, and enjoy.


Trust is a key factor in every relationship as it should be built in every phase. In order for your clients to trust your company, your employees should also trust the people they work for. This is created through the following:

  • Credibility – The management earns credibility when employees believe they do the right things for the right reasons, and stands firm for what they believe in.
  • Respect – The management begets respect when employees are also treated with the  respect that they deserve.
  • Fairness – The management should foster a sense of fairness to engage employees to become committed.


A great employer should instill pride to employees. When team members take pride in what they do, they are motivated to perform. They need to have a sense of belonging and energy to come to work and do well in their job.


Employers don’t need to make employees feel that they should be grateful just because they have a job; instead, they have to let them feel engaged. When they learn and grow within the company, they will have a sense of purpose to perform well.

Manager’s Perspective

For managers, there are nine practice areas where leaders and managers create an environment of trust:

  • They achieve organizational objectives by inspiring, speaking, and listening
  • They have employees who give their personal best by thanking, developing and caring
  • They work together as a team / family by hiring, celebrating and

Size Matters?

The 2014 list of Best Places to Work in Australia was divided into two categories: “Under 100 employees” and “Over 100 employees.” From small start-ups to some of the best-known multinationals. The Physio Co, leading provider of physiotherapy services, topped the list for the smaller firms, while software companyAtlassian bagged the no. 1 spot for the bigger ones.

The Physio Co is currently employing 75 people*, on its way to above 100 staff.  Founder Tristan White maintains the company’s winning environment – about which he regularly blogs – by breaking his workforce down into ‘pizza teams’ of seven.

“It’s made providing a career path and empowerment for my staff much easier, and there’s no reason it can’t translate at a bigger company,” he says.

On the other hand, Atlassian has 408 employees* and is planning to add 600 more* this financial year. The company believes that it is not a matter of inculcating newcomers with an existing culture. “You can never preserve a culture. What you can preserve are your values and your values can drive what you do,” Atlassian chief people officer Jeff Diana says.

Although the company is doubling in size every 18 months, Diana wants to maintain each site small and entrepreneurial. He quipped, “We typically keep our sites to a limited size, where we feel like we can know everyone in the building. I don’t see us building a mega-campus.”

What made Atlassian the best place to work in the country is their employee engagement. According to the managing director of Great Place to Work Australia, Zrinka Lovrencic, “Something they have really focused on is for management to be approachable and equipped to answer all employee queries,” she says. “Atlassian is by far one of the most transparent companies we have worked with, not only sharing all information but also asking for input from their employees.”

Each company has its own management style as there is no one-size-fits-all solution to every problem. But one thing that remains absolute is that they have to value their employees as they are the faces of the company.

The Outsourced Accountant supports Australian and New Zealand accounting firms by helping them understand and implement outsourcing solutions to help them become more proactive and truly add value to their clients. If you want to know more about outsourcing, call us at 1300 896 522, and download our e-book.

*as of September 2014