Human Resources and Nonprofits

Region rates highly in culture and cooperation

‘Best and Brightest’ comparables show where West Michigan is strong, could improve.

April 21, 2017
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(As seen on WZZM TV 13) West Michigan’s cream-of-the-crop companies compare favorably to the other top employers from regions across the country when it comes to culture, cooperation and diversity.

According to data from the Michigan Business & Professional Association, compiled in the process of selecting this year’s West Michigan’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For, West Michigan scored an 82 percent overall in workplace culture when compared to the top companies in the nine other regions. Additionally, West Michigan scored an 81 percent overall in diversity and inclusion, an improvement over years past, and an 81 percent in teamwork and cooperation.

“Culture has been a significant issue nationally in the past five years,” MBPA President and CEO Jennifer Kluge said. “Companies have been working to drive and define culture and ensure a higher cause or purpose, and West Michigan has done fantastic in driving culture and doing something to improve its community.”

The MBPA awards the 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For both at a national and regional level. The winners are chosen in part based on 150,000 employee surveys, in which respondents are asked to rate their employer on a variety of metrics, including the above mentioned. Kluge said for every 10 companies that go through the entire process, one is chosen as a Best and Brightest company.

Of the 10 regions, which include Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, Dallas and New York, West Michigan is the smallest. However, the region’s smaller stature has proven beneficial, as Kluge said West Michigan is more creative in how it solves problems that arise all across the country. For example, she said West Michigan was ahead of the game in creating and fostering a pipeline with its local colleges to address talent droughts.

However, that doesn’t preclude West Michigan from experiencing some of the same struggles the rest of the country does. The region’s top companies still can improve in the areas of leadership — especially in the relationships of employees and their immediate supervisors — employee achievement and recognition, recruitment, selection and orientation, and communication and shared vision.

While these challenges aren’t necessarily unique to the region and noting that the comparison is against the top companies in other regions, Kluge said West Michigan’s best and brightest should be striving to perform better, especially in the recruitment sector.

“We need to leverage the state and the beautiful lakes there to do a better job in recruiting and bringing on board new folks,” Kluge said. “There are fantastic organizations here, like Hello West Michigan!, working on it. And the thing is, I think people in larger cities are getting tired of “wasting” their money. There’s so much they can do here that you’re not able to do in bigger, more expensive regions.”

By comparing the top performing companies across regions, Kluge said the program can serve as a rising tide, lifting all boats. The 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For in West Michigan can connect and learn from each other but also study the best practices by the 101 Best and Brightest winners in Dallas, New York or Los Angeles. Additionally, companies that didn’t make the cut can learn from the winners and compete to make the list next year.

“Our entire program is based on sharing the best practices, data and interactions with the winners,” Kluge said. “We want these practices to become the norm, the standard for all businesses. By leveraging competition, we’re making change happen.”

The 2017 West Michigan 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For will be honored with an awards ceremony May 3 at the JW Marriott Hotel, 235 Louis St. NW.

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