3.4M employees across 90 countries told us at Great Place to Work how they experience their workplaces. In this pool, we found that while there are common threads that make a workplace great, there are 4 factors seem to define the best experiences by region.
Globally, the experience of high-trust, high-performing workplaces is a stark contrast to the average workplaces. The exceptional workplaces are recognized as 2019 World’s Best Workplaces™ by Great Place to Work, the global authority on workplace culture.
3.4 million employees across 90 countries and almost 10,000 organizations told us how they experience their workplaces. In this pool, we found that while there are common threads that make a workplace great, four factors seem to define the best experiences by region.
In the United States and Canada, it’s a sense of community that galvanizes people in good times and in bad times. Employees in Latin America prize psychological safety the most at their workplace — where it can be a haven from political unrest.
For workers in Europe, fairness is where organizations should focus if they want employees to give their best. For Asia and the Middle East — the region with fewest happy employees — a sustainable work-life balance is the strongest predictor of a great workplace.
The 2019 World's Best Workplaces™ stand out for creating globally great cultures, where roughly 9 in 10 people are having a great experience. And the future looks bright. Over the last nine years that Great Place to Work has recognized the World’s Best Workplaces, employees’ levels of trust, pride and camaraderie have risen 5 percent.
People-first workplaces lead the way in business
Clearly, more companies are catching on to the importance of investing in their people.
But what about the other half? If 46 percent of the global workforce are having a poor experience at work, that means more than a billion people are not thriving on the job, and their organizations are failing to tap their full potential.
Our 30 years of data, representative of 100+ million employees’ perspectives, proves that business success is the result of high-trust workplace experiences. At the World’s Best Workplaces, 86 percent of employees plan to stay a long time, 88 percent are willing to give discretionary effort, and 86 percent experience a collaborative working environment.
At average workplaces around the globe, poor employee experiences undermine companies’ abilities to take advantage of emerging market opportunities and outpace their competitors.
The way forward varies by region
Great Place to Work analyzed more than 50 workplace culture themes such as fair treatment, management credibility, leadership, organizational values and work-life balance. We found that employee happiness hinges on different things, depending on where you live and work.
US and Canada — Community
At the Best Workplaces in this region, employees express a sense of winning together when times are good — and sticking together when times are tough.
Top features separating the Best Workplaces from other organizations include celebrating special events, sharing profits and treating layoffs as a last resort. The importance of unity extends to giving back to the community and being able to count on people to cooperate.
US and Canadian organizations are wrestling with turbulent business conditions, and have responded with frequent restructurings and “lean” management styles. Those tactics, though, can mean job cuts, inadequate resources and uncertainty.
The Best Workplaces in the US and Canada recognize that amid disruption, it is important to convey a sense of solidarity — in good times and bad.
Latin America — Safety
Employers in this region are thriving when employees say their organizations provide a psychologically safe environment, with clear communication and caring bonds that extend to the broader community.
The best workplaces in Latin America stand out for their experience of an emotionally healthy workplace, management keeping people informed on important issues, and good feelings about the organization’s contributions to the community.
Latin America has weathered significant social, economic and political turmoil in recent years. The Best Workplaces in Latin America realize that in a climate of great uncertainty, two-way communication with leadership is especially important — so is a fundamental sense of caring among colleagues, and employees’ ability to bring their full selves to work.
Europe — Fairness
For employees in Europe, measures of equity distinguish the Best Workplaces. Employees there believe promotions are fair, that there is equal opportunity for special recognition and that profits are shared fairly.
Two other factors that separate the Best Workplaces speak to a sense of just treatment on the job: Management matches its actions with its words and people don’t abuse organizational authority to get their way.
European countries are making sense of recent waves of emigration and with the issue of Brexit. Countries such as Greece and France are grappling with designing equal and fair pension systems for all. Questions of rights, ownership and fairness are front and center.
The Best Workplaces in Europe are ensuring that their employees have a thoroughly equitable experience. When people in this region feel they their employers are committed to fair treatment, they will reciprocate with extra effort and loyalty — fueling greater performance.
Asia & Middle East — Sustainability
In Asia and the Middle East, the Best Workplaces stand out by creating sustainability when it comes to work and life.
Employees experience balance and deeply human relationships on the job. For this region, the survey statement that most strongly predicted a great experience overall was, “People are encouraged to balance their work life and their personal life.”
Asia has some of the longest working hours in the world today. In China, it has been dubbed the “996” regime — a work schedule of 9am to 9pm, six days a week, often without extra pay.
12-hour days are common in Japan. Holidays are stingy; and Japanese workers, on average, take only half of their allotted vacation. Japan has even created the term karoshi, which translates to death by overwork.
Asia’s Best Workplaces avoid burning out their people and ensure employees have an experience that makes them feel fully human, rather than like a cog in a machine. That means acknowledging employees’ lives outside of work.
Employers wanting to create better life balance can provide flexible working arrangements and more generous parental-leave policies — and encourage workers to take advantage of them.
When it comes to creating the Best Workplaces in the world, organizations must ensure they create experiences appropriate to their location that meet their employees’ unique needs. And one thing stands true no matter what part of the globe you are in: creating a high-trust culture is better for business and better for the world. Learn from leaders of the World’s Best Workplaces™ how you can fuel performance through trust at our 17th Annual Great Place to Work For All Summit — March 3 – 5, 2020 in San Francisco.