What It Takes to Be a Great Place to WorkPeople always ask us what it takes to be a great place to work. While things like salary, benefits and amazing perks are important, it goes far beyond that. Great workplaces are built through positive employee experiences day in and day out. If you look through the companies on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, they all have one key thing in common: a focus on putting their people first. And while I could go on and on about the many great things that make Burns & McDonnell a great place to work, there are three factors that really set us apart.

A Strong Corporate Culture

A report from Deloitte shows that the biggest talent challenges companies face are culture, engagement and employee retention. It’s no surprise that the three are intertwined. A strong corporate culture drives employee engagement, and when employees are engaged, they’re more likely to stick around.

Our employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) is the cornerstone of our company’s culture. Because our employees are also owners, each of us has a vested financial interest in the company. That’s the core driver for everything we do, from our client interactions to the amount of care and detail that goes into every single project to the united bond of company pride and camaraderie among all our employee-owners. Our collective ability to determine Burns & McDonnell’s success creates a sense of pride and mutual respect that you won’t always find at other companies.

Open Communication

When it comes to creating high levels of trust within an organization, open communication is key. When leaders communicate directly, openly and honestly with their fellow employees, the employees feel genuinely respected and view those leaders as more sincere and credible. That shared sense of respect fosters trust, and when employees believe in their leaders, it creates a happier, more productive workforce.

We’ve always been big believers in transparency and communicating openly with our employee-owners. Sharing significant business information with our employee-owners is important, but giving our employee-owners a voice to provide feedback on our organization is equally important. This reverse top-down approach to communication is key to creating trust and mutual respect.

Opportunities for Growth and Development

Building on that people-first mentality, we’re committed to providing our employees with opportunities for personal growth and professional development — not only in job-specific skills but also through character-building opportunities. It’s a simple gesture that goes a long way in showing employees how much they’re valued. By investing in our people, we’re investing in our future.

We’re one of few employers that offer unlimited tuition reimbursement for employees pursuing career-related coursework. We also provide access to ample training opportunities, professional registration, technical certification and professional society memberships to help employees advance their careers by expanding their existing craft and helping them develop new skills.

Creating a highly desirable workplace for our employees is a top priority for us, and we’re always looking for areas of opportunity. So tell us: What attributes do you look for in a great workplace? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Be sure to check out our Great Rated review to see what our employees had to say about working at Burns & McDonnell.

Renee Gartelos is director of human resources at Burns & McDonnell. She leads a talented team of HR professionals in developing and implementing the firm’s human resources strategies and is committed to making Burns & McDonnell the best place to work.

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