No Excuses: Why Employees Should Expect a Great Workplace Regardless of the Industry

Posted by Peter Barnes on November 07 2014

Looking in from the outside, it can be easy to wish for the plump benefits package of a giant organization like American Express or the energy-infused camaraderie of a startup like NewsCred but conclude that similar great workplaces just don't exist in your line of work. Maybe the companies in your industry are too big, too small, too busy or too cash-constrained.

Horse feathers. As Great Place to Work pointed out in a recent white paper, any company can create a trusting, enjoyable workplace if its leaders are determined to make that happen. As a job seeker – regardless of your field – you shouldn't have to settle for an employer uninterested in your personal and professional needs. As proof, just take a look at a few of these great – yet wildly varying – places to work:

Sheetz employees

Sheetz: Expect more from a C-Store

This company faces the same 24-7 profit pressure of all convenience store chains. Yet it manages to pay bonuses for all 16,000 employees based on company performance and offers the chance to turn even a basic cashier job into a long-term career. More than two-thirds of Sheetz store managers worked their way up from entry-level positions, aided by extensive training and educational programs.

"Although I have only been a part of this company for six months, I feel that I have grown immensely," one employee says. "I was offered a chance to move up and I took it. I start training for it very soon. I have never worked for a company that cared so much for their employees and their growth in the company."

Badger Mining: Heavy Industry with a Soft Touch

Wisconsin's Badger Mining has long stood out Badger Mining employeesfor its profit sharing and unexpected perks, like on-site yoga classes and a day off for the start of deer season. Employees also appreciate its flat, flexible organization. Leaders eschew most corporate titles and act more like coaches for team members who hold a lot of autonomy in how they approach their jobs. The company also trusts associates to set their own schedules and arrange shift changes among themselves, so long as their work gets done.

"They help to balance work and personal time. Associates are cross-trained so they can assist for vacations, appointments, etc.," says one of the company's 220 employees. "Badger Mining has a 'team' approach, which works well for our company. We work together to get the job done. We all want the company to be the best it can be."


Allianz: A Multinational Corporation that Cares

The Minneapolis office of German insurance giant Allianz sports a fitness center, childcare and eateries – perks that are extensively used, though not out of the ordinary for a workplace of nearly 1,700 people. But look closer, and you'll notice a range of ways this company goes above and beyond to support its team members. These include same-sex partner benefits, private rooms for nursing mothers, childcare reimbursement during business travel and a financial assistance fund for employees faced with crises at home.

"I have yet to see another company that can come close to matching the benefits offered by Allianz Life," one employee says. "The amount of paid time off, generous 401(k) match and employee stock-purchase program are just a few examples of the exceptional benefits that are offered here."

It might not seem like Allianz, Badger and Sheetz would have much in common. Yet they all share a commitment to the well-being of their employees, who, in turn, consistently hold them in high regard in confidential surveys. For job seekers, this should provide even more evidence that potential employers of all stripes have no excuse for an unhappy workplace.