The 2011 Top Small Company Workplaces – and Why They Stand Out 

Representing a geographic and industry mix, our honored 2011 small and midsize organizations stand out for many reasons. Read about some of them, and get inspiration and tips to use in your firm.

The Business Case for Workplace Equality 
Businesses can implement practices that encourage folks at all levels to put forth their ideas for growing the business while management retains the ultimate authority on where the organization should go.

5 SMB Approaches to Employee Development and Why It Matters 
Progressive small and midsize business leaders have long understood that high employee engagement yields stronger business performance. But what makes high engagement possible – and meaningful? Read on to find out.

2009 Top Small Workplaces Hold Their Ground in a Tough Economy 
While there are signs our economy is rebounding, they are less clear for small business owners – and therefore firms that improve revenues and employee tenure are all the more impressive. Read about 15 such organizations.

Share the Recovery, Too 
Companies that make cuts and then don’t restore them after there’s clearly been a recovery and their fortunes have improved are going to lose the good will of their workforce – to the detriment of their retention, productivity and customer service.

Are We Setting Up ‘Too Big To Fail,’ Only Bigger? 
JP Morgan Chase absorbed WaMu and may absorb other “weak sisters.” We ask, what happens when very large companies need more help down the road and the government is unable to help? We think the answer lies in small enterprise.

The ROI of a Great Workplace is Undeniable 
From low annual turnover to industry-best growth and expectations-beating revenue performance, read how workplace practices can yield a huge ROI for small firms, and get a preview of our fall 2009 “ROI of Great Workplaces” Conference.

In the Bank Bailout, Small is Beautiful 
We make the case, citing 2008 and YTD 2009 data from two of our Top Small Workplace-honored banks, that small community banks have a rightful place at major discussions on how to fix our troubled financial system.

Share the Pain 
Before you turn to layoffs in this tough economic climate, read thoughts and best practices behind the strategy of “sharing the pain,” in which layoffs are used only as a last resort, by Winning Workplaces Chairman Ken Lehman.

2008 Top Small Workplaces: Likely Leaders in Renewing Our Economy 
It is because these firms are small and privately held – not to mention innovative – that they stand the best chance of pulling the U.S. economy out of its current financial crisis, argues Winning Workplaces Executive Director Mary Corbitt Clark.

Why Employee Engagement Still Matters 
The term “employee engagement” has come under increased scrutiny in business and academic circles as major media sources such as TIME cover its impact. We make the case that it’s more vital than ever to today’s employers.

‘Greening’ Your Firm and Maximizing Profits Not Disparate Goals 
The 2007 and 2008 Top Small Workplaces applicants use a number of measures to reduce their environmental footprint. They do so not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it has an impact on the bottom line and their competitiveness.

Keep Work Visible to Boost Job Satisfaction, Productivity
Keeping work from becoming invisible must be a priority for small firms. In terms of the returns around retention and productivity, the pursuit can help them stay anchored in an unsettling economy.

In Hard Times, Don’t be Too Quick to Pull Layoff Trigger 
If leadership fails to pay close attention to their treatment of departing employees, the ones left on the payroll can easily develop “survivor syndrome.”

Great Workplace Practices Shield Firms from Economic Downturn Effects 
Winning Workplaces’ research shows that the companies that are able to best weather economic downturns are those that create great workplaces.

Narrowing FMLA Bad for Workers and Businesses 
Some policy-influencing groups are working to narrow the FMLA’s leave requirements. Citing real-world experience, a 2007 Top Small Workplace makes the case that this would hurt retention and businesses’ bottom line.

Turning Up the Volume of Top Small Workplaces 
What separates the 15 winning Top Small Workplaces of 2007 from their fellow 422 applicants? According to Winning Workplaces Executive Director Mary Corbitt Clark, both quantifiable data and qualitative feedback provide the answer.

Smart Firms Brand from Within 
Winning Workplaces Manager of Content Development Mark Harbeke makes the case that employees should have a shared way that they think of themselves – one that transcends titles and one they can take pride in.

The Changing Face of Succession Planning
Winning Workplaces Executive Director Mary Corbitt Clark advocates the benefits of applying succession planning – a hot topic with many Baby Boomer business owners retiring now or soon – to all levels of an organization.

Generation Y Should Get Same Recognition as Rest of Workforce 
Winning Workplaces Manager of Content Development Mark Harbeke argues that not only is the overall portrayal of Gen Y in the media inaccurate, but leaders should heap the increasing recognition on these workers to workers of all ages.

Building a Great Workplace for Low-Income Workers 
Winning Workplaces Executive Director Mary Corbitt Clark shares the thoughts of some of the leaders from our recent CEO Panel, who enjoy the benefits of engaging low-income workers.

Employee-driven Ethical Leadership 
Winning Workplaces Chairman Ken Lehman says that leaders can learn a lot from two public figures in the news, Paul Wolfowitz and Don Imus – namely, how not to conduct themselves ethically to the detriment of their employees.

The Power of Communication 
Winning Workplaces Executive Director Mary Corbitt Clark explains how some of the organizations we’ve highlighted are making the conscious choice to buck technology trends and engage their workers the old-fashioned way – with great results.

Recognition is a Journey 
Winning Workplaces Chairman Ken Lehman explains that although organizations’ goal is to reach some level of excellence, the path toward excellence often reveals the most value and rewards.

A Little Innovation Goes a Long Way 
Winning Workplaces Executive Director Mary Corbitt Clark explains how the forward-thinking work of small enterprises can help keep the U.S. competitive amid an increasingly turbulent global business climate.

Abuse of Sick Leave an Alarming But Curable Trend 
A recent CareerBuilder study found that almost a third of workers took sick leave when they weren’t really sick in the last year. Winning Workplaces Chairman Ken Lehman explains how small business leaders can curb this trend through trust.

The Importance of New Manager Training
Citing our recent Web Poll which found that over half of respondents’ employers don’t provide training for new managers, Winning Workplaces Executive Director Mary Corbitt Clark provides evidence that training at this critical juncture can boost productivity and improve retention.

IRMCO Event Showcases a Winning Workplace
Winning Workplaces Chairman Ken Lehman discusses what took place at our October open house at IRMCO, one of the last remaining manufacturing businesses in our local community.

Overcoming Greater Odds Than Ever
Winning Workplaces Executive Director Mary Corbitt Clark discusses the 2006 Best Bosses honorees and what they have in common.

Worker Pay Central to Wage Debates in Chicago and Washington
Winning Workplaces Chairman Ken Lehman cites Chicago’s “big box” ordinance that’s been in the news, as well as Congress’ stalled efforts to raise the minimum wage, in arguing that workers should be paid a decent living wage.

Revelations from “The New American Workplace”
Winning Workplaces Executive Director Mary Corbitt Clark highlights a good barometer for workplaces, and especially small businesses, the new book “The New American Workplace.”

Is Management Like Ice Cream?
Winning Workplaces Chairman Ken Lehman advises small business leaders to use tried-and-true approaches to management, while shunning passing fads.

Achieving Adaptability Through Employee Empowerment
Winning Workplaces Executive Director Mary Corbitt Clark points to employee empowerment practices at minimill steelmaker Nucor Corp. as steps toward greater organizational adaptability and, ultimately, profitability.

What is the American Dream, Really?
Winning Workplaces Chairman Ken Lehman dispels the misperception that businesses cannot demonstrate social responsibility to their employees andplease their shareholders at the same time.

Small But Great
Winning Workplaces Executive Director Mary Corbitt Clark highlights two recent books on small business. The authors’ message? Success can come from being great instead of big, and that means fostering great employees and workplaces.

Culture Matters
Winning Workplaces Chairman Ken Lehman addresses the current financial and cultural status of leading U.S. auto makers, pointing to employee interaction and communication as keys to moving “Way Forward,” as Ford is looking to do.

All Together Now
One of the easiest ways to stay competitive in a global market is to reduce costs. Examining CEO and Director compensation may be a good first step. Mary Corbitt Clark, Executive Director of Winning Workplaces, examines the widening gap between the rich and poor as CEO pay inflates and minimum wage stays the same.

Why Management Matters
Management makes the difference when trying to stay competitive in a global market. Winning Workplaces Chairman Ken Lehman explains what makes the difference to employees and in the changing economy.

Conscious Capitalism
Winning Workplaces Executive Director Mary Corbitt Clark discusses business’ increasing focus on corporate social responsibility and how companies can achieve a competitive advantage by doing good.

Sink or Swim
Winning Workplaces Chairman Ken Lehman examines the good and bad of how business and government reacted to Hurricane Katrina and discusses the role workplace practices play in dealing effectively with crises.

The Best and the Brightest
Winning Workplaces Executive Director Mary Corbitt Clark discusses the 2005 Best Bosses honorees and what they have in common.

Working with Labor
Winning Workplaces Chairman Ken Lehman discusses the folly of taking an adversarial stance towards unions.

Tough Enough
Winning Workplaces Executive Director Mary Corbitt Clark looks at the gradual, and welcome, extinction of autocratic management and what it truly means to be a “tough” leader.

The Cost of Job Stress
Winning Workplaces Executive Director Mary Corbitt Clark discusses the increase in job-related stress and its impact on the bottom line.

Why They Leave
Winning Workplaces Chairman Ken Lehman discusses the reasons for employee turnover and the keys to improved retention.

Employee Finances
Winning Workplaces Executive Director Mary Corbitt Clark discusses the bottom-line and societal benefits of providing employees with money-management training.

Creating a Service Culture
Winning Workplaces Chairman Ken Lehman discusses the links between employee satisfaction, training and high-quality customer service.

The Health-Conscious Business
Winning Workplaces Executive Director Mary Corbitt Clark discusses employee wellness programs and their potential to lower health care costs.

The Best Policy
Winning Workplaces Chairman Ken Lehman discusses the importance of open, honest communications during challenging times.

Not Your Parents’ Workplace
Winning Workplaces Executive Director Mary Corbitt Clark discusses some of the demographic trends that could affect recruiting and retaining key talent.

The Golden Rule
Winning Workplaces Chairman Ken Lehman recaps our first-ever Best Bosses event and discusses the day’s unifying theme.

A Worthwhile Investment
Winning Workplaces Chairman Ken Lehman discusses the value of investing in the well-being and development of hourly employees.