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What does a Best and Brightest employer look like?

In reflection of yesterday’s 6th Annual Awards Symposium for Chicago’s “101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For“, it is inspiring to see leaders in human resources from across Chicago gather to recognize best practices in the field. It brings to mind a quote from John Quincy Adams,  “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

With a forum of interactive educational sessions there is something very unique about those that pause to engage and learn. It was refreshing to see CEO’s asking key questions on how to get their workforce inspired again. Great places and people are always working to be even better!Despite the economy and hard times many have experienced in the recent year, there are 101 companies in Chicago that have thriving workforces adaptive to change. Best practices inspire better people who in turn create a Best and Brightest workplace.

There are common themes among those that lead the Best and Brightest and while there a newcomers every year, I am confident there are others that have yet to step up for recognition. First and foremost, a true sense of mutual respect is present in these organizations. Not only are employee viewed as employees but rather people, human beings! As a result there comes a nurturing sense of trust and equity. Trust and equity are the basis for open communications across different functional areas in any organization. Initiatives strive to breakdown perceived barriers between management and staff. Employees are well aware that hard work and high performance results in rewards, recognition in line with their contributions and accomplishments. This is evident among winning companies both monetarily and otherwise.

Many may think it takes money to be a Best and Brightest employer but from my experience I know that it is more about intangible energy. You can practically feel it when you walk in the door! One of the greatest compliments I received yesterday was from a peer in the field that shared with me how I had reminded them as to why they got into the field in the first place. Passion is key! Best and Brightest employers have passion, they rally around a cause and make an impact.

Best and Brightest employers provide real opportunities for employees to learn and grow. Some go so far as to extend the opportunities to family through scholarships and the value is so much more than goodwill. By creating a path for development employees see their work as a career vs. a job. It is a way to tap into an employee’s discretionary effort that truly dictates their performance.

There is no I in Best and Brightest, there is only We! Teamwork can go the distance. Networking with this group of employers there is a sense of collaboration and certainly this is evident in their workplaces. There is a true feeling of belonging, a sense of contributing and I have yet to meet someone who isn’t striving for a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. This need for purpose is tapped by the opportunity to contribute directly at work or even to the community at large.

Everyone knows that family comes first but often you may find yourself working for a company that sends a mixed message. A Best and Brightest employer works hard to not confuse the message with Work Life Balance. Every effort is made to create policies and practices that affirm a culture that supports employees with competing demands.

Even more important that what a Best and Brightest employer looks like is, Why? Clearly, it is a more inspiring, positive and nurturing environment to be in but what about the real objective…the bottom line? Well, feel free to Google it but the evidence is overwhelming. Study after study, the statistics show that employers that work through their people to achieve a competitive advantage sustain greater rewards! To provide value, it must be sustainable.

For any information on how to become a Best & Brightest employer, call HRBoost 847.736.5085!

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