Workplace culture has been dominating headlines due to a spate of poor behaviour and high profile toxic work environments. So, it’s refreshing to focus on those employers who are getting it right for a change.

 What makes for a great place to work? Free food? Standing desks? A company ping-pong table? While these perks may enhance the employee experience, the crux of workplace satisfaction is linked with personal satisfaction; working somewhere where you feel valued and supported and are able to contribute in a meaningful way.

Great Place to Work Australia (GPTW) released its 2018 Best Place to Work benchmark report last week, highlighting the organisations that have worked hard to nurture a positive work environment.

As Zrinka Lovrencic, managing director at GPTW Australia, pointed out, we can spend up to 10 hours per day at work. That’s a huge chunk of our time that we’re not spending with our friends, family and those we love. An engaging and  positive work environment is not just “nice to have”, it’s imperative to a business’ vitality and success.

And the winner is…

Taking the top position for companies with over 1,000 employees was Salesforce, a large provider of customer relationship management (CRM) software. It’s not the first time Salesforce has scooped the winning position, receiving first place in 2016 and second position in 2017. So, what’s the key to their success? Mark Innes, general manager and executive vice president, APAC, says it’s all about creating a family culture.

“In Hawaiian culture, the word ‘Ohana’ represents the idea that families – related or chosen – are bound together, with their members feeling a sense of responsibility for one another. When Salesforce was created, all those years ago, [co-founder] Marc Benioff realised that the true meaning of Ohana didn’t really exist in corporate culture. So, he built Salesforce from day one around the spirit of Ohana.”

He describes an effective culture as one that is “a never-ending journey, not a destination.”

“Our people are at the heart of our company. So, for us, the honour to be named the #1 Best Place to Work in Australia, alongside other inspiring Australian companies, is a testament to the diverse and talented people in our Ohana,” says Innes.

Think beyond traditional

 Salesforce is a good example of an organisation that thinks beyond traditional means. They aim to “live and breathe” their four core values of “trust, customer success, innovation, and equality”.

One way they’re doing things differently is through their 1-1-1 philanthropic model, in which they dedicate one per cent of their products, people and resources to not-for-profits. Each employee is encouraged to spend 56 hours per financial year giving back to the community.

For the top 100 employees that complete those hours, Salesforce will donate $10,000 to the charity of their choice. By setting aside time for your employees to volunteer to a service of their choice, you’re giving them a higher purpose and instilling a community-minded approach in the rest of your workforce.

The company is forward thinking in other respects too, offering their workers access to their Adoption and Fertility Program – which includes parental leave, adoption and fertility support,  and baby bonus policies – as well as spending $8.7 million in an effort to close the gender pay gap.

“Salesforce is committed to providing our employees with the best possible care plans when it comes to planning, building, and raising families. We understand that everyone is different, so we’ve provided our employees with flexible programs that support equality for every family across APAC,” says Innes.

Salesforce proves that you can’t create a good culture overnight. If you’re serious about wanting to make a change, you’re going to have to put your money where your mouth is.

Top 10 organisations (with over 1,000 employees)

The best places to work - over 1,000 staff

Top ten organisations (with between 100-999 employees)

Best places to work - under 1,000 staff

Top ten organisations (with under 100 employees)

 Best places to work - Under-100 staff

What makes your workplace a great place to work? Please share your experiences in the comment section.