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By Doug Claffey - WorkplaceDynamics CEO

"So it's all about the perks, right?" I get this question all the time. Espresso machines, pingpong tables, massage chairs, beer. Surely these perks make the difference between a Top Workplace and an average workplace.

We surveyed one out of every 88 employees in the United States last year to find out what truly is most important to them. It's not massage chairs. It's not great benefits. It's not even your pay, your manager or work-life balance. These all answer the question "What's in it for me?" While answering this question is important, it is not sufficient to create a Top Workplace.

So if it is not all about "me," then what makes the difference?


No matter what industry or profession we surveyed, employees in the Top Workplaces know that "We're all in this together" and can answer "Yes!" to these three questions:

Connection: Do we feel our work is meaningful?

Direction: Are we excited about where our company is going?

Execution: Are we well on our way?

Together, these factors define an organization's health. Creating a healthy organization and answering these questions consistently is difficult. Only 33 percent of U.S. employees are engaged with their jobs, according to a recent Gallup poll. A number of companies in Tampa Bay are demonstrating that they've cracked the code by listening to their employees and measuring health, and our research has found that 70 percent of employees who work at Top Workplaces are engaged. The Top Workplaces survey helps shine a light on them.

An employee from Robbins Property Associates, one of the Tampa Bay area's Top Workplaces, commented:

"Each employee is appreciated and heard, whether it be a suggestion or a concern. Everyone is made to feel like part of the company and part of the decisionmaking process."

Being a Top Workplace also is good for the bottom line. We tracked the stock performance of the healthiest public companies, where employees scored WorkplaceDynamics' OrgHealth factors highly. Over four years we found that they outperformed the S&P 500 by 48 percent.

You cannot know how healthy your organization is and how to make it even healthier unless you measure its health. You cannot measure its health by the number of cappuccino stations or massage chairs. The best way to understand the health of an organization is to ask the employees what they think.

We encourage everyone in the Tampa Bay area to nominate their company for next year's Top Workplaces section and find out how your health stacks up. The nominations process begins in September.