DPR Construction Builds Culture That Works For Millennials

The founders of DPR Construction must have had a crystal ball when they launched their firm 24 years ago.

The small cadre of engineers that formed DPR embraced a flat culture over a hierarchical one, and that has proven to be a winner with young employees today.

Peter Salvati, a member of DPR’s management committee, says the general contracting firm abides by the principle of “what’s right, not who’s right” — that is, listening closely to all employees, regardless of position. “The person with the right answer may be who you least expect,” Salvati says.

Peter Salvati

Peter Salvati

“The Millennial generation fits in with ‘what’s right vs. who’s right.’”

Indeed, they do. Earlier this year, our research ranked Redwood City, California-based DPR as a Great Workplace for Millennials. This honor came on top of the company earning the 10th spot on the Best Companies to Work For 2014 list we produce with FORTUNE. DPR also is a winner in the general contracting world, where it boasts clients including Facebook, Pixar and Genentech.

Not only does the company snag high-profile projects, it connects its construction jobs to bigger purposes. When the company reached a milestone on a project to expand a biotech manufacturing facility, for example, it invited a cancer patient who would benefit from the drugs to be manufactured at the plant to speak to workers. This framing of work in terms of ultimate goals taps into Millennials’ desire for a sense of meaning on the job.

Says one Millennial: “DPR continues to empower employees and remain true to the core values and mission that it ‘Exist to Build Great Things,’ and you really feel like you are making a difference alongside some amazing people.”

Alongside—rather than under—is right. DPR is so egalitarian that it has no CEO. Instead, there is a shared leadership structure with a management committee of seven people. The company also is employee-owned, with all staffers getting phantom stock units that vest upon five years of tenure. And it is willing to give young people a great deal of responsibility, Salvati says.

On the other hand, he says, the firm expects junior staffers to be humble and savvy enough to seek assistance if necessary on stretch assignments. “You’ve got to be smart enough to realize you may need help,” he says.

Salvati can see himself in today’s ambitious young professionals. He was one of DPR’s earliest employees, and was given the responsibility of opening an office for the company in San Diego at the relatively tender age of 34. These days, the San Diego office is one of DPR’s strongest performing locations.

Salvati’s story highlights the original DPR vision, which works so well with young people today: hire quality people and trust them to take off. Says Salvati: “Really good people want to do really good things.”

About the Author: Ed Frauenheim is editor at workplace research site Great Rated!™, where he produces content and reviews companies.

photo credit: Trevor King 66 via photopin cc

Thanksgiving Shifts? Select Stores Say No

By Kim Peters

The Christmas shopping season has now grown so long, it’s officially bumped into Thanksgiving. Macy’s has announced it will begin its Black Friday sales at 6 p.m. on Nov. 27, before the leftovers even have a chance to get cold. Kohl’s and Sears followed suit and will open at the same time. J.C. Penney went a step further and announced it will open at 5 p.m., while Kmart plans to begin its Black Friday push on Thanksgiving before the break of dawn.

Even as this year marked yet another encroachment into retail employees’ holidays, it’s also been notable for the number of companies pushing back. Nordstrom, Costco and more than two dozen other national brands are electing to keep their doors shut on Thanksgiving, offering associates a welcomed day off. Among them is Southeastern grocery chain Publix, which was also celebrated this week as a great workplace in retail. In contrast to many employers that offer scant, if any, paid time off to hourly associates, this employee-owned grocer proudly tallies an average of 16 paid holidays and vacation days for people who’ve been with the company at least a year. Working over the holidays might seem like a foregone conclusion for many in the service industry, but with more than 167,000 employees, Publix proves that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

Of course, people still need gas, beverages and other last-minute provisions. The 24/7 nature of convenience stores means some of the employees at QuikTrip – another company on our great retail workplace list – will inevitably be on the clock. But at least their employer tries to make it worth their while: QuikTrip pays time and a half for most holidays and double-time pay on Christmas and Easter. Additionally, many team members also say they appreciate a degree of scheduling flexibility throughout the year.

“QuikTrip is extremely flexible with work hours and time-off requests. I am able to work when it’s most convenient for me, and I love that aspect,” says one employee surveyed by Great Rated!

Meanwhile, back at the mall, another employer on our list of great retail workplaces will join those storefronts closed until Black Friday actually starts. Shoe seller DSW not only appreciates employees’ family time during the holidays, it also makes this commitment evident by giving store personnel three Fridays off every summer. Additionally, associates confirm DSW works to accommodate their needs when scheduling shifts throughout the year.

“DSW does a better job than some retailers in supporting a work/home-life balance,” says one of DSW’s 10,000 U.S. employees. “For home office associates, DSW provides more than the standard six company-observed holidays (we have nine). I can say I am proud that we are not open on Thanksgiving, as many other retailers are these days.”

Hours outside the standard nine-to-five can be a fact of life in retail. But even in this fiercely competitive sector, it’s still possible to find examples of employers willing to forego a bit of their holiday revenue potential in order to respect their team members’ commitments at home.

Kim Peters-223 midsize (1)

About the Author: Kim Peters is CEO of Great Rated! at Great Place to Work®, where she is focused on helping job seekers understand companies’ workplace cultures and find their best fit. Kim has over 15 years’ leadership experience in the online recruitment industry. Prior to joining Great Rated!, Kim held leadership roles with a number of successful businesses in the recruitment sector, including, Canwest Mediaworks and



photo credit: Mr.TinDC via photopin cc

The Great Rated! Interview: EY’s Larry Nash On The Transparency Trend

When Larry Nash looks into his crystal ball about the future of the workplace, one thing is clear to him: workplace transparency itself. Larry, Americas Director of Experienced and Executive Recruiting at professional services giant EY, is confident that job seekers and the public will have more visibility into what it’s like to work at organizations. “Transparency will only grow as technology evolves and different social media platforms continue to grow and expand,” he says. “We’re just always increasingly connected.”

Nash and EY aren’t waiting for this interconnected, transparent future to arrive. They are embracing it now, showcasing their culture through their own website and taking advantage of sites, including Great Rated!, to show the world what EY is all about. Revealing EY’s essence to job candidates is central to Larry’s work—in the 12 months ending in June 2014, he oversaw the recruitment for nearly 6,000 experienced positions in the U.S. alone. And that number represents a more than 37 percent increase from the previous year. We recently talked with Larry about topics including the workplace transparency trend, its link to employer brand and EY’s overall mission of “Building a Better Working World.”

Ed Frauenheim: What’s the importance of company transparency in recruiting these days?

Larry Nash: At EY, we have a very simple principle—our employer brand—which is whenever you join, however long you stay, the exceptional EY experience lasts a lifetime. Being transparent is critical to our brand. Individuals looking to start their career, or change their career, want to know what working at EY is really like and what’s in it for them if they decide to join the organization. Ultimately, we know what candidates want and we know what we want.

We also know that any relationship, be it personal or professional, is built on openness and trust. That’s why we provide potential candidates with an authentic and transparent view into the organization. Then they can evaluate the potential of an EY career and determine whether EY is the right choice for them.

Ed: What is the connection between transparency and employer brand at EY?

Larry: We have a great story to tell about our brand and culture. We’re on many best-places-to-work lists, including those compiled by FORTUNE, Diversity Inc., Working Mother, and Universum, to name a few. These are organizations and publications saying that EY is a great place. So we’re confident that we can offer a lot to people and that’s why we are transparent about the specifics, too.

Ed: How does your employment brand tie into EY’s broader purpose of “Building a Better Working World”? It seems the overall company brand should make your job as a recruiter easier.

Larry: This purpose of building a better working world relates to our people, our communities, and the investing public—given how they rely on what we’re doing for our clients—and on and on. We’re completely focused on building a better working world in these different ways.

Ed: Some experts say transparency about the workplace is smart because it helps you efficiently find people that are right for your organization. Do you agree?

Larry: Yes. Our interview process—whether you’re coming from campus, have experience, or are an executive at another organization— is a two-way dialog. There are a number of interviews that take place, so candidates can get to see what we’re like, and what we can offer to fulfill their aspirations. And then we have a dialog to understand what they offer and what they’re interested in. Hopefully, over the course of the interviews, we see a match. And part of that match is a feeling that they’re coming to a culture that can enable them to achieve their goals.

It goes back to building a relationship. If we want candidates to work here, they should know what it’s like. We’re proud of what it’s like here. So, we’re comfortable sharing the culture, and what we can offer and what we can’t offer. If that is a fit for people, that’s great. And if people don’t think we can give them what they want, that’s fine as well. We want people to feel like they can have a meaningful career here, whether they stay three years, five years or the rest of their career.

(About the Author: Ed Frauenheim is editor at workplace research site Great Rated!™, where he produces content and reviews companies.)

Photograph by Jonathan Gayman(About Larry Nash: Larry Nash is Americas Director of Experienced and Executive Recruiting at professional services firm EY (formerly Ernst & Young). Larry is a member of EY’s Americas Recruiting Leadership team and is responsible for the strategic execution of experienced and executive recruiting efforts for the Americas. Previously, Larry served as EY’s Americas Director for Recruiting and Mobility.)

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This Slaphappy World of Work

“A tired mind become a shape-shifter
Everybody need a mood lifter
Everybody need reverse polarity
Everybody got mixed feelings
About the function and the form
Everybody got to deviate from the norm…”

— Rush, “Vital Signs”

On my flight to the third annual Candidate Experience Awards and the first-ever Candidate Experience Symposium, I fell asleep.

And I sort of daydreamed…

It was the year 2030. A new world of work startup called SlapHappy had developed a dramatic new biometric nanotechnology, taking sentiment analysis, work/life integration and employee engagement to an unprecedented place.

The early adopters were few, and while the rest of the world cried out how unethical it and downright crazy it was, the results were astounding. Two extremely powerful computers, the sizes of poppy seeds, were injected into the new employees and contractors of each participating company. Of course, if the interested candidates refused to be injected, then they would be rejected and not hired.

One tiny computer was injected into the frontal lobes and the other into the bloodstream. Billions of cellular and synaptic transactions were measured every minute while highly sophisticated algorithms analyzed the data and generated continuous feedback on how the individuals were feeling about work.

But it didn’t stop there – the data stream was 24/7, ensuring that every second of every day was aggregated and analyzed – to see how the individuals felt about anything and everything.

The caveat was in the what. Meaning, the technology didn’t “mind read,” so there was no way to know specifically what each person was thinking, or if they were seriously ill, but it did give individuals valuable “wellness” information as to how their daily life affected their overall health and mental wellbeing, especially at work.

And for the companies (and even some government entities) participating, well, they could use this data combined with many other skills and competency assessments and qualitative surveys as a litmus test to whether or not they had the right people in the right place at the right time.

In fact, that was part of their tagline: SlapHappy with the Right Transparency in the Right Place at the Right Time.

The complete reports generated with this technology dramatically changed the way companies and employees alike treated each other and developed themselves (and lived their lives), but the core visualization of over “health” included only three simple emoticons:

  • Smiley Face
  • Frowny Face
  • Zombie Face

These emoticons appeared for the participants anywhere they went via their virtual laptops, mobile devices and wearable technology (glasses, watches, etc.). Yes, they were easy to share with the world as well, and many of them were. Participants always new how they felt; their companies always knew how they felt. All parties developed a greater parity with business outcomes (and rewards) because of this intimate real-time feedback.

Companies using SlapHappy also had to agree to appear in their 24/7 SlapHappy Index for all the world to see where they stood at any given time, including attrition rates, innovation rates, revenue rates and more.

Were they a happy place to work? An unhappy place? A place where only the dead walked the hallways?

I awoke from my daydream thinking, “Holy crap.”

Is this the future of ultimate engagement and the ROI of workplace transparency? Will this be how we live, thrive or perish?

No one knows. Yet. But as Kim Peters, CEO of Great Rated!, a company that gives job seekers the inside scoop on companies and their cultures so they can find their best fit, told us on the TalentCulture #TChat Show, companies that want to be the employer of choice, that want to be one of the great places to work for, they need to be willing to take that leap of faith to see just exactly how their own employees feel about working for them and how that in turn affects their recruitment efforts. And the workforce in its entirety must share in that elevating and sometimes debilitating risk.

But when they do, the results can be dramatic:

  • Independent financial analysts regularly study the financial performance of “100 Best” companies. Analysis shows publicly traded 100 Best Companies consistently outperform major stock indices by a factor of 2.
  • Scripps Health, a Great Place to Work® client, faced operating losses, high turnover, and labor shortages. Leaders turned their focus to building a great workplace. In the time since, they drastically improved their financial performance, turnover rates, and employee morale, increasing annual profits by over 1200%.
  • Best Companies typically experience as much as 65% less voluntary turnover than their competitors, saving money in employee recruitment and training.

So, in order to empower this slaphappy world of work, you’ve got to:

  1. Enable X-Ray Vision. If you’re of a certain age, you may remember reading comic books and seeing advertisements for X-ray vision glasses, giving you the ability to see through, well, anything. That fantasy of old is a reality today for employers, employees and candidates alike, with social media and world of work review sites giving anyone the ability to “see through” company walls as much as they can see into candidates’ backgrounds. You want the right people in the right place at the right time, so give them the X-ray vision and help them self-select.
  2. But Kill the CGI. Special effects today are mesmerizing. You can create creatures and landscapes with high-definition clarity that look so real you can sometimes no longer tell the difference. We can literally control the weather of any moment in time (or out of time) with computers, servers and lots of smart code. But in real life, the breakdown to attract and keep talent occurs because we continuously market and sell each other blue sky, when all the while the true storm clouds brew and burst at a moment’s notice, grounding trust’s feeble flight. Both employers and employees take note: we will never be able to control the weather. Ever.

Love it or leave it, how we feel about what we do and where we do it is only going to proliferate further online, deviating thankfully from the norm and shining bright spots upon the world of work.

Hey, I’ll show you my emoticon if you show me yours.

photo credit: Dru! via photopin cc

The Great Rated! Interview: Employer Brand, Transparency and Job Candidates

I had the recent pleasure of speaking with Great Rated! CEO Kim Peters. Kim’s leadership at Great Rated! is evident in her desire to help job seekers and organizations to be better candidates and better employers.  Using proprietary survey and evaluation tools, Great Rated! can help employers identify strengths, thus reinforcing or forging the employer brand. For job seekers, Great Rated! helps them to compare and contrast the work cultures of different employers with the use of a “company compare” assessment tool. There’s also a short questionnaire that helps job seekers better identify what company culture is right for them by targeting the attributes that matter most to them individually and that are a good culture match based on their preferences.

Q1 – Cyndy: What types of attributes are job candidates and employees looking for when they say, “I want to work for a company that has a transparent culture?”

Kim: I think that they mean they want a workplace where there’s a free and open exchange of information. That starts with leadership—so there would be especially good communication and discussion about strategy, goals, financials, ideally at all levels—company-wide, departmental and for individuals—and it resonates—so things ring true and make sense.  In my opinion, in a transparent culture, the majority of people know what’s going on and how they fit into it.

Cyndy: Agree Kim. When too many conversations are taking place behind closed doors, transparency goes out the window.

Q2 – Cyndy: Great Rated! has a wealth of information from some of the best companies in existence. What are a few of the more common attributes that make a Great Rated! company stand out as an employer of choice?

Kim: There are great things about all workplaces. And any company can be Great Rated! There’s no threshold, or anything. The company just has to be willing to survey their employees using our Great Place to Work® Trust Index© employee survey so we can understand what they like about their workplace, and provide some information about their business including their programs and practices. Then our experts analyze the results and write a workplace review, highlighting the best practices and cultural strengths identified by the employees. Having a Great Rated! Review shows people that the organization is serious about creating a great workplace, comfortable with transparency, and that its employees treasure the unique aspects of their culture.

Because we include Reviews of our Great Place to Work Best Companies List winners—the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® and the Best Small & Medium Workplaces—we do many companies who score very high in ALL categories. But not all great workplaces appeal to everyone. Some people like small companies, some large, some thrive in an exuberant culture like Zappos, some want to be in a much quieter culture. Great Rated! reviews offer insight into what workplace cultures are all about, so that the job seeker can better understand if that culture is a fit for them.

Cyndy: Well said. Company culture is very important to candidates and employers, alike, and both want a good match so the fit feels right.

Q3 – Cyndy: Kim, why do some companies struggle with providing a great job candidate experience and where does transparency and employer branding come into play here?

Kim: Top talent has lots of choices, and they want a workplace where they’ll be comfortable. It’s the company’s willingness to be open about their workplace that lets people understand if they’ll be a fit, and ultimately decide to join the company. We all know people who thought they’d found the right fit, and then discovered the experience wasn’t what they thought.  Social media and the internet has given people the ability to research and find out before they buy…. and so they search to better understand the company’s workplace reputation and employee experience—and that is the employer brand.

Cyndy: Wonderful information Kim. Thank you for sharing your keen insight and experience with us.

Kim Peters-223 midsize (1)(About Kim Peters: Kim Peters is CEO of Great Rated!™, at Great Place to Work®, where she is focused on helping job seekers understand companies’ workplace cultures and find their best fit. Kim has over 15 years’ leadership experience in the online recruitment industry, and has launched and led a number of successful businesses including, Canada’s leading job board, where she was founder and President,  and Canwest Mediaworks where she served as Vice President Online Classifieds. Kim most recently was CEO of, a Canadian job search engine combining reviews and job listings.)

(About Cynthia TrivellaCyndy began her career in advertising and Human Resource Marketing Communications on Madison Avenue in New York City over 15 years ago. Prior to that, she worked in corporate human resources as a recruiter and as a training and development coordinator. In addition, Cyndy has multiple years of media planning, employment branding and human resource communications strategy experience at a management level from both the media and agency sides.

Cyndy maintains a strong presence in the digital space and has been awarded the distinction of being named to the lists: “Top 25 Online Influencers in Recruiting” and “HR Marketer Top 25 Digital Media Influencers.” In addition, she volunteers as co-host and moderator of the Twitter chat #OMCchat for assisting job hunters, and serves as #TChat events director for TalentCulture World of Work. 


The Great Rated!™ Interview: Todd Wheatland On The Brand Connection

Todd Wheatland straddles the boundary between employer brand and overall company brand. And to hear him tell it, that line is blurring. The face companies put forward to job seekers is increasingly just part of the overall brand message—making the employer brand more important than ever, says Wheatland, who has a background in both the talent world and the marketing arena. He currently serves as head of strategy at content marketing firm King Content, but spent eight years as global head of thought leadership for staffing giant Kelly Services. A sought-after speaker and one of LinkedIn’s Top 25 Social Media Experts, we were keen to get Wheatland’s take on the shifting landscape of employer brand.

In a recent interview, he shared his insight on brands and their importance in all aspects of today’s business.

Ed: You talk about the need for “convergence” when it comes to the overall company brand and the employer brand. Can you say more about that?

Todd: I’m a big proponent of content marketing, or basically companies acting as publishers. That model has proven so successful in terms of business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing. But there’s been this big gulf between what companies were doing to the outside world with those things, and what companies were still doing around the way they viewed talent, and brought talent on board, and managed talent. You’ve got different parts of the company responsible for different ways of dealing with the outside world. Increasingly, no one outside of your company cares about your silos.

Ed: Can you give an example?

Todd: Starbucks is a great example. Something like 80 percent of all job applicants to Starbucks are already Starbucks customers. So what kind of business impact is there when someone who’s applying to Starbucks has a negative experience? When they start sharing that negative experience with their networks, and you start multiplying that by the hundreds of thousands of people who take that step to apply each year.

Many companies now are starting to realize there’s something to this, and we’ve got to start acting more holistically. A company brand, the employer brand and the personal brands of our employees—these are all somehow strongly connected. And we’ve got to start thinking about them in a holistic way, because any one of them can have a negative impact on the other.

Ed: What’s the best way to promote an employer brand today?

Todd: Don’t fake it. Again, there’s been a huge change in the way companies market in the past five years. Instead of “pushing” a message out to the marketplace, you’re actually drawing people in through genuine exchanges. You’re not trying to shove a sales message down people’s throats. You’re trying to basically just talk about and help people solve their challenges. Rather than thinking, “Gee, what does our audience want to hear, and let’s give them that,” with employer branding, you’ve really got to start by looking within.

Put aside the external perception of what your employer brand is for the moment, and really focus on what the internal reality or culture of working for the organization is.

Ed: What if it stinks at the moment? How do you deal with a crummy culture on route to developing a better one?

Todd: People love stories of challenge and change. Companies are typically really bad at telling stories. A good story involves challenges and overcoming obstacles and mistakes. Companies don’t like to talk about mistakes. But if you try to tell a story that’s too removed from reality, you’re going to get found out. In this environment, that’s just not a sustainable way.

You need to lead with, “This is the reality now,” and paint a vision of the future: “This is how we see it, and you are part of the new guard and we’re going to work together to steer this ship in a new direction.” It’s a way of telling a story that’s a reflection of the reality.

Ed: What’s the role of employee voices in the kind of employer brand you’re talking about?

Todd: If people are genuinely empowered and allowed to share their positive experience of working in an organization, that has a net loyalty impact on the employee, as well as ticking those boxes, if you will, of what the external market is looking for in terms of communication these days. That is to say, genuine, lower-level employees telling true stories.

It helps to attract like-minded people to an organization. People who are more likely to fit in. Recruiters spend so much of their day just wading through hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of applicants for a job, many of which are totally inappropriate. It’s a bad experience for everyone, and a huge time waste for recruiters.

Ed: You’re suggesting a high level of transparency.

Todd: Tell the stories. If you have a culture where you have Friday night drinks every week, that would be fantastic or an absolute deal breaker, depending on the candidate looking at it. Am I going to have to work late, do an all-nighter because a project comes in on a Tuesday that no one was expecting? Tell that stuff.  Historically, no one wants to tell that story. We think it is better to get the applicants than not to get the applicants.

But what the “culture branding” mindset leads to is that you can have the most impact by helping people deselect in the first place. So rather than having 100 applicants for a job why not have 10 who actually could be a good culture fit.

(About the Author: Ed Frauenheim is editor at workplace research site Great Rated!™, where he produces content and reviews companies.)


(About Todd Wheatland: Todd Wheatland is head of strategy at King Content, a content marketing agency in the Asia-Pacific region. Prior to this role, he spent eight years as global head of thought leadership for Kelly Services. Todd has been recognized as one of top 25 Social Media Experts by LinkedIn, a top 50 Social Media Expert by Stryde, and as one of the 15 B2B Chief Marketing Officers to Watch by FierceCMO. This year alone, Todd plans to speak at events in more than 10 countries around the globe. His new book is The Marketer’s Guide to SlideShare (



photo credit: Aurimas Adomavicius via photopin cc

The Great Rated!™ Interview: Kim Peters on Employer Brand

The CEO of Great Rated! talks about the central role of employee surveys in employer brands, how Great Rated! works, and about the growing importance of employer brands in the era of the “naked” corporation.

Ed Frauenheim: What is an employer brand?

Kim Peters: Quite simply, it is how people feel about working at an organization. You already have an employer brand, even if you’ve done nothing about it.

Some people think that you can create a brand in the market that is independent of what your actual employees think – but that isn’t true. Social media has made the internal workings of any company very transparent – we are in an age of “naked” corporations. So it’s critical you understand the true brand you have in your current employees’ eyes and work with that to compete for new talent and retain existing top talent. In many instances, your employer brand will even help you with your consumer brand — Zappos is a classic example.

EF: What does it take to manage an employer brand in the era of the naked corporation—of growing transparency into companies?

KP: Today, most people turn to the Internet when they’re going to research a major purchase or investment or decision. People are doing their research, essentially. And so employer brand is no different. People’s experiences from a product perspective or workplace culture perspective are being talked about online. Typically people share the extremes—the highs and the lows. So if you’re doing any kind of research into a company at all, you’re going to find that type of information.

Organizations may be tempted to counter negative opinions on the Internet with positive content on their careers page or advertorial placed elsewhere. But distorting your brand in a positive direction is risky in an ever-more transparent world. You don’t want to be in a position where you are telling your workforce and prospective new hires that your brand offers one thing, while employees are telling the world that it offers something else. You won’t be credible and new hires won’t be a good fit.The best approach is to be honest about what your employer brand is, even if you are working to improve it.

EF: How can companies understand what their actual employer brand is?

KP: If you’ve never done any employer branding work before, the best place to start is by surveying your employees about a variety of topics that reflect workplace culture. It’s not something you can guess at. And certainly one individual or a small group of individuals is not going to give you a holistic picture. You have do a representative, anonymous survey of your whole employee population.

EF: How does Great Rated!’s approach to presenting and publishing an employer brand work?

KP: We start by asking the employees in an organization a set of questions about their workplace using the Great Place to Work® Trust Index©. This is an employee survey that measures the extent to which a company is a great workplace, focusing predominantly on workplace trust, and is a very strong research tool to assess companies’ overall workplace culture. (This is the tool we’ve used for over 15 years to select the companies that appear on FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For® list.)

We anonymously survey a statistically relevant random sample of employees. We take those results and write a review of the company that accurately reflects what employees say are the best attributes of working for their organization.

Companies also provide us with details about many of their best programs and benefits, so that if employees say they really appreciate their workplace flexibility, for example, we can explain their telecommuting or compressed workweek programs. We include pictures, infographics and employee quotes that really round the review out.

And because the reviews are written by workplace culture experts (Great Rated! is part of Great Place to Work®–authors of the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® list), people can trust that they truly reflect what the employees tell us.

EF: Where is employer brand heading?

KP: Employer brand is becoming more and more important, simply because companies need the best talent they can attract in order to achieve their goals. That’s going to be harder and harder to do. We know that because we look at the changing demographics. Hiring is increasingly competitive. And so companies look to employer branding to help candidates choose.

This trend to transparency, this thirst for knowledge, this desire to live a life where you feel like you’re making a positive contribution and that you’re working in a positive working environment—all of these things are coming together today. And they mean that companies are going to simply have to be focused on their employer brands and creating great workplace experiences. It’s just essential. And it’s fundamental that people want to understand what workplaces are like before they join them. It’s just part of the same movement.

(About the Author: Ed Frauenheim is editor at workplace research site Great Rated!™, where he produces content and reviews companies.)

Kim-Peters(About Kim Peters: Kim Peters is CEO of Great Rated!™, at Great Place to Work®, where she is focused on helping job seekers understand companies’ workplace cultures and find their best fit. Kim has over 15 years’ leadership experience in the online recruitment industry, and has launched and led a number of successful businesses including, Canada’s leading job board, where she was founder and President,  and Canwest Mediaworks where she served as Vice President Online Classifieds. Kim most recently was CEO of, a Canadian job search engine combining reviews and job listings.)