Why I Want to Work for You

Published: September 24, 2015

The five consecutive top workplace awards provided the first clue. The first thirty seconds inside the carefully designed workspace off the beaten path in the City of Duluth, however, provided the confirming evidence. You can sense the culture of an organization when you enter its space. It’s in the air before the first employee greets you with eye contact and a smile. Walk a little further into the building and you’ll find that the most valuable square footage overlooking Lake Superior is not reserved for the Managing Partner of the firm and his leadership team – it is devoted to the rank and file and their customers. The first impression was only the beginning.

The Team Clock Institute scours the globe for evidence of workplace wellness. The easy way to locate these organizations is by following the results of the annual best-place-to-work awards. In the absence of that data, word-of-mouth is usually pretty reliable. There are predictable features that lure talent into these companies and make them want to stay. Can your workplace boast the following characteristics?

  • Clear mission and values
  • Open and transparent communication
  • Extraordinary focus on the customer
  • Family-like culture
  • Commitment to sustainability
  • Continuous learning and development
  • Evolving succession planning
  • Teamwork and collaboration
  • Focus on employee wellness
  • Participatory stewardship

It wasn’t until the informational interview was complete that this Minnesota accounting firm displayed evidence of all ten markers of an employer-of-choice. In less than an hour, it had become clear why recruitment was easy and retention was effortless. Like any other professional services organization, they faced all of the challenges of growth and change that most thriving businesses endure. This team, though, welcomed these struggles with energy and optimism.

Photo of Steve Ritter, the co-founder of The Center for Team Excellence

Steve Ritter

Steve Ritter is an internationally recognized expert on team dynamics whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, professional sports teams, and many educational organizations. He is on the faculty of the Center for Professional Excellence at Elmhurst University where he earned the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching. Steve is the former Senior Vice President, Director of Human Resources at Leaders Bank, named the #1 Best Place to Work in Illinois in 2006 and winner of the American Psychological Association's Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award in 2010. Steve provides ongoing workplace culture consultation to many thriving companies including Kraft Foods, Advocate Health Care, Kellogg's, the Chicago White Sox, AthletiCo, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.