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Date posted: 02nd November 2020

02nd November 2020

Why some workplaces are inspiring… and others aren’t. GREAT TO SAFE

Why some workplaces are inspiring… and others aren’t. GREAT TO SAFE

Next time you’re in a group of friends or colleagues, ask them which companies they think would be inspiring places to work. I will bet my life savings that cool tech brands like Google, Apple and Amazon will be cited.

I’ll double down on that bet that my friends and colleagues wouldn’t have a clue what it is like to work inside these organizations. And neither do I. So I set about doing what we all do when we want to know about a company’s culture – ask someone that already works there. 

I’m very fortunate to know employees in each of these tech brands – so I asked my besties Alexa, Siri and HG (Hey Google) which companies they think would be inspiring paces to work.  Here’s what they told me:

Alexa (Amazon): Here’s something I found on the web. Google is Canada’s best place to work according to Glassdoor’s seventh annual Employee’s Choice Awards.

Siri (Apple):  Here’s what I found: according to Great Place To Work Awards, Cisco is the #1 World’s Best Workplace.

HG (Google): According to Korn Ferry, The Fortune World’s Most Admired Company is Apple for an astounding 13th straight year.

Now I’m not sure if their answers reflect “the grass is greener on the other side”, poor Search Engine Optimization or a reluctance to share best practice.  In the case of Google, I would be surprised if it was any of these.

Google’s focus on internal audits, and not external plaudits, has paid dividends. “Project Aristotle” conducted in 2012 helped Google identify what really makes the dream work. It demonstrated that teamwork had little correlation with factors like co-location yet had a significant correlation with psychological safety. It’s hardly surprising then that Google has extended its remote working policy for another year. 

Recent events have accelerated the thinking that work and culture is not a place. Creating an inspiring workplace and building a resilient company culture comes from providing a psychologically safe place to work, not a physically great place to work.

This blog is a part of the IW Official Guide: World Mental Health Day Supporting the workplace during the pandemic & beyond. Download the full guide here.