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Best Companies to Work For Co-author of Fortune Study Replies

February 2, 2001
Related Topics: Featured Article
Bruce M. Longnecker recently questionedthe methodology of Fortune's "100 Best Companies to Work For"selection process in an article on the Workforce Web site. Since I am theco-author of this article (along with Milton Moskowitz), I would like to explainhow we do select the companies.

    We acceptnominations from anyone who feels their company should be on the list. All candidate companies must be willing to let us send our employeesurvey (Great Place to Work Trust Index©) to a randomly selected group ofemployees as well as fill out a detailed questionnaire (Great Place to WorkCulture Audit©).

    Two-thirds of thescoring is based on what employees tell us. Last year, for instance, we receivedsurvey responses from more than 35,000 employees, some 15,000 of whom also gaveus written comments about their companies.

    That's the mechanicsof our process. While we do ask each company's PR and HR departments to presenttheir case, we place the greatest weight on what a broad cross-section ofemployees tell us. That is how we try to avoid being "snowed" (to useMr. Longnecker's term) by the companies.

    In general, ourprocess has been very successful. Mr. Longnecker acknowledges that a number ofcompanies he knows about firsthand are deserving of our accolade - ContainerStore, Southwest Airlines, Enron, Alcon Laboratories, and Whole Foods.

    But Mr. Longneckercites instances where he has met employees of other companies that don't agreethat their company should have been listed. It is impossible for me to commenton these firms since he did not mention their names. So we don't know whetherthe individuals he has met are representative of a large percentage of employeesor are relatively isolated.

    Obviously, not everyemployee of every "100 Best" company is thrilled about working there.We typically receive at least some negative comments from employees at most ofthe companies. Our list is the "100 Best Companies to Work For," notthe "100 Perfect Companies to Work For." The bottom line, however, isthat we only should include companies that "walk the walk," as Mr.Longnecker put it so well.

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