How to Land on a ‘Best Place to Work’ List

Landing your company on a “Best Places to Work” list is more than a PR coupe. It’s also about building brand and is useful as a recruiting tool.

To get on such a list, though requires dedicated staff and time.

“I thought you were magically selected,” Ryan Smartt of Capital One told a Richmond PRSA audience. “You’re not. You have to apply.”

Getting on the list requires a lot of input throughout the organization, as well as research. Then someone needs to coordinate the application requirements. Some places dedicate one person to completing the application. Others create project teams to complete the process with one project lead.

Deborah Slayden of VCU Health System said that VCU’s inclusion on such a list means it can “continue to raise the bar” as it recruits.

Tina Lambert of the Virginia Society of CPAs noted that being included is a way to promote one’s company. “Brand is about what others say about you,” she said.

Smartt said inclusion in such lists is a two-prong effort. When competing for talent, the lists are a “differentiator to bring in top talent,” he said.

He added, “It really makes a difference for morale.”

Competing also enables companies to determine what they need to improve to make the list or move up on the list. Many award lists require employees to complete surveys about workplace culture.

“It’s impressive how small things can make a big difference,” said Jim Godwin of Bon Secours Virginia Health System. “You learn what you should change.”

“It helps you strategically map out how you can move your organization,” added Slayden.

Smartt says Capital One promotes its inclusion through press releases, website and social media. The company also shares results with its board. “There is a sense of pride,” he said.

Of course, Smartt said, “There are expectations that once you make a list you’ll keep making it.”

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