Congratulations! Your company just made the “100 Best Places to Work” list, and all thanks to those forward-thinking innovators in human resources (that’s you!). Right now, you’re imagining it, but wouldn’t be amazing if it were true? To get that recognition for your HR and people team efforts, and to be able to compete for that top talent – or maybe not even have to compete.

Why You Want It

You’ve seen them – in business magazines and benefits journals. There are a few different versions, but the theme is generally something like ‘100 Best Places to Work’. They matter – a lot. They get you access to the best recruits. They mean you can have more competitive recruitment rounds and applicants will be eager because, by a jury of their possible peers, your company has been elevated to an awesome place to be.

Particularly, new generations of employees, particularly millennials and GenZ seek an inclusive and happy culture over a fat paycheck.

Bonus! They can also get you access to customers who prefer to partner with socially responsible companies who care about their people, even leading with their people firstBest Place to Work shouts “we care” to the world. So how can you get on one?

Hey, A-Lister.

Are you waiting for an editor of one of these lists to notice your company and put you on it thanks to your shiny reputation for employee engagement? Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite work that way. You want on it, you’ll need to apply.

If you want to be on Glassdoor’s Employee’s Choice Awards or Indeed’s Best Places to Work, you’ll need to encourage employees to give feedback. You might consider an award for reviews – but from an ethical standpoint, you’ll need to be clear that they get the prize no matter how many stars they rate you. Transparency is key, and hey – if your rating is less than desirable, you know what you need to work on (because employees will typically make that very candid and clear). Successful companies bottom-up their cultures. Honest reviews help you do that.

If you’ve got evidence of positive workplace culture built on non-traditional programs like wellbeing, fitness reimbursementsemployee resource groups, and rewards + recognition, you’ll be in great shape for an award.

Get Strategic

Instead of trying to start off on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, work up to it. Let’s say you employ a large or entirely distributed workforce – try starting with one of the awards offered by an online job-posting site.

If you offer flexible hours particularly with family responsibilities in mind, check out Working Mother Media’s ‘Working Mother 100 Best Companies‘. Apply to awards in your local community press or city. You can warm up for big awards and get some practice with applications along the way.

Applications for regional or industry-specific awards will generally involve a staff survey and a separate section of the application for employers. The employer section will have some check-box questions as well as short answer response sections. Short answer sections will range from 250 to 750 words. Grab a tea or coffee, sit down, and put on your creative writing hat. Do not forget to express your brand in the way you communicate.

Too Much Work?

Yes, getting through all these applications so you’ve got a chance of winning an employer award is a lot of work. But here’s the thing. Not only will it make your company look great, but as the HR professional who made it happen, you’ll be a hero!

One word of warning. By all means, do whatever you’re able to do to get on these lists. But don’t forget the real point of it all is to be the best place to work, not just to land on a list that says you are.

You may want to form a working group within the company with members from diverse departments, at various levels of authority, and work together to brainstorm and implement as many initiatives as you can think of, that make your company an innovator on the employee experience front.

Of course, not all the ideas will be winners, but you’ll never find the ones that are unless you’re open to it. Find a ‘champion’ for the working group at a senior level to ensure your ideas get the senior-level support and funding they need for real success.

Once You’ve Got the Award

Once you start to tally up awards, don’t be shy about them! Plaster them all over your social media, get them on your website. And anytime you’re recruiting, make sure they’re in a prominent place in the advertisement!

Also, make sure you promote the win internally. If your employees are aware that the company is winning awards for all the support and employee experience programs you offer. It’s their award as much as it is yours. By being a best place to work, you also have the potential to turn happy employees into organic recruiters. Want more people like your superstars? Let your superstars lead you to them.

Get Going on Those Applications!

So, there you have it – those Best Places to Work lists aren’t such mysterious things after all. It takes some preparation within your organization to set up policies and programs really geared to the employee experience. So, get out there and apply, apply, apply.

If you want some help with nailing employee experience, let’s talk. We can help you truly be one of the best places to work by making your wellbeing programs, employee resource gr, and rewards + recognition programs that much easier. Get in contact to learn more about how Espresa can help you, today!

Additional Resources

Want to get started? Here are some of those top lists for you to aspire to!