They wouldn’t call it work if it was supposed to be fun, right?

A free cup of coffee isn't always the way to make employees love their jobs.
A free cup of coffee isn’t always the way to make employees love their jobs.

Fortune recently released a list of the Top 100 companies to work for. At the top of the list was Google, followed by the analytic software company SAS and CHG Healthcare Services in Salt Lake City. Each organization varies greatly in size and product, yet they are all developing a positive, successful environment.  Looking closer, it appears these companies are doing many of the same things right.

Fun and freedom are a common thread for the companies on Fortune’s list. “If it isn’t fun, no one is going to be there for very long. Team outings, ping pong tournaments — whatever fits your culture — create opportunities to laugh and to see each other outside of just your day-to-day professional titles,” explains Nick Worswick, corporate vice president and general manager, at Seamless.com.

CHG Healthcare, number three on the list, keeps things lively with employee talent shows and trivia tournaments. Casual get-togethers and friendly competition often aid in talent recognition and team-building.

These tactics keep employees happy, which is vital in the hospitality business. Coming in at No. 28 on Fortune’s list was Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, owners of Philadelphia’s Hotel Palomar and Hotel Monaco. “At Kimpton, fostering a culture of care with a focus on fun has proven to be a recipe for success,” explains Mike Depatie, CEO, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. “Our employees are our brand, which is why we place an incredible amount of emphasis on making them feel their best at work.”

The perks of being an employee

It’s safe to say we all want work to be fun, but fun isn’t the only thing that makes for happy employees.

“While perks like free cappuccino, rock-climbing walls and nap rooms are very nice, they remain perks,” says Doug Claffey, CEO of employee survey company, Workplace Dynamics. “What we have found is that while these benefits are nice to have, they don’t drive true employee satisfaction.” According to a 2012 Workplace Dynamics survey of 1.7 million workers, people most desire the chance to be heard as well as a “visionary and inspirational leader that employees are confident in.” It probably doesn’t hurt, though, if that leader wants to put in a foosball table.


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