What Makes a Best Place to Work?

Each company is unique, and each has a different HR strategy, but here are the top 10 factors that created Hawaii’s best workplaces

April, 2015

EACH YEAR, we identify Hawaii’s Best Places to Work by asking the people who are in the best position to know: the employees of companies and nonprofits around the state.

We want honest answers to our questions, so we guarantee anonymity to all of the thousands of employees who respond to the 80 questions on our survey. Anonymity means respondents don’t get rewarded for positive answers or punished for critical ones. That’s the best formula for truthful responses.

Best Companies Group, based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, conducts the survey for us. Its staffers are experts in identifying great workplaces and they conduct similar surveys in 29 states and regions, plus industry-specific surveys across the United States and in four foreign countries.

The answers to the confidential surveys of Hawaii employees count for 75 percent of a company’s score, with the remaining 25 percent dependent on the responses to an extensive questionnaire in which we ask each human resources department to share details about its company’s benefits and programs. This year, 70 companies, nonprofits and branch offices made the cut and appear on the list of Hawaii’s Best Places to Work.

The results of each survey question count toward the final score, but after compiling thousands of surveys, Best Companies was able to identify the factors that are most common to Hawaii’s Best Places to Work.


Those 10, in order of importance, are:

  1. I feel part of a team working toward a shared goal.
  2. I have confidence in the leadership of this organization.
  3. I like the type of work that I do.
  4. Most days, I feel I have made progress at work.
  5. This organization treats me like a person, not a number.
  6. Overall, I’m satisfied with this organization’s benefits package.
  7. I feel I am valued in this organization.
  8. This organization provides as much ongoing training as I need.
  9. I am satisfied with the amount of vacation (or paid time off).
  10. I like the people I work with at this organization.


If those 10 statements describe how most of your employees feel, then your company probably belongs on this list; go to HawaiiBusiness.com/bptw-2016-survey to pre-register for nomination to next year’s list.

If those statements do not describe your workplace, you have work to do. It won’t be easy, but here’s some motivation for changing your workplace culture. Creating a Best Place to Work means happy and engaged employees, which translate into a lot of things:

  • Less employee turnover;
  • More likely to draw the best and brightest job candidates;
  • Your employees are more willing to put in extra effort for the company;
  • Employees are more likely to recommend your workplace and your products to family and friends.

All these factors can have a big impact on your bottom line, and it’s no sin to create a better place to work because you want to make a bigger profit. Plus, I can almost guarantee that you will personally enjoy coming to work more.

Becoming a Best Place to Work won’t happen overnight, but the leaders of every company on this list will tell you it’s worth the effort.



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Steve Petranik