If only more American workplaces exhibited the attributes that make what Michael C. Bush and his research team — the people behind the Fortune 100 Best Companies list — label a great place to work for all. These attributes include maximizing human potential and trust. Bush devotes considerable focus to these two because he believes that high-trust, high-performance workplace cultures not only are better for people but also lead to increased profitability.
In 2015, the Gallup organization published a survey finding that 70 percent of American workers feel disengaged at work. Echoing Gallup, Bush writes, “Many workplace cultures today are weak. Grim, even.” But Bush and his team believe the tide is turning, in the United States and around the world, as companies realize that their most important resource is the passion and commitment of their employees. High-trust, high-performance cultures are, however, much more than perks like dry-cleaning service, daycare centers, or on-site yoga classes; they are places where leaders actually listen to their employees and believe they are worthy of being paid attention to, regardless of what job title they hold.
If you have worked for any length of time in almost any industry, you might conclude that all the great workplaces Bush refers to must be in Silicon Valley and that the ideas he espouses are unlikely to take root where bosses are capricious; companies are hotbeds of dysfunction, favoritism and inequality; and the work itself rarely taps the best people have to offer. Given the huge chunks of time most people devote to their jobs, who wouldn’t want to be part of a workplace that treats employees with respect, values their ideas, and shares the rewards when the business or organization succeeds? If only such workplaces were the norm rather than the exception.