What Makes A Great Company?

I recently stumbled across an article, albeit a bit old, that highlights four things that make a company a great place to work. I’m posting it here because it pulls together and provides structure to a lot of thoughts I’ve had on the subject.  The four attributes are:

  • A strong positive culture, firmly grounded in a meaningful purpose
  • Real chances to grow professionally
  • The opportunity to work with people you like and respect
  • Work that requires you to stretch your brain and skills

There’s two observations I’d add.  First, different attributes are going to be more important to different people.  The idea of working with people you like and respect – especially fun, engaging people – is incredibly important to a friend of mine.  It’s important to me as well, but speaking with her helped me realize that things like a strong positive culture firmly grounded in a meaningful purpose and work that forces me to stretch my brain and skills are more important – and that I tend to think that the former follows the latter two.

Second, the idea of fulfillment (rather than simply obtaining sustenance) through work is a relatively new phenomenon, at least in it’s breadth of applicability.  When the majority of the population was engaged in subsistence farming, or even in repetitive assembly line tasks in the union heyday of yore, I don’t think people used the four criteria above in determining what was a great place to work.  Instead a great place to work was probably “somewhere that lets me feed my family on a fairly consistent basis.”  It’s worth pausing to think how incredibly lucky we are to live in a time where we can afford to consider things like “a strong positive culture, firmly grounded in a meaningful purpose” in selecting a place of work.