- Southwest Airlines is the top-ranking company in the 2019 Workforce 100, which recognizes companies that have excelled in human resources during the past year.
- In ranking employers, Workforce editors and researchers from the publication's Human Capital Media Research and Advisory Group reviewed publicly available data on HR performance, as well as Glassdoor data on employee feedback.
- Southwest has gradually been climbing the list since the Workforce 100 began in 2014. Other companies, including T-Mobile, Microsoft and Hilton have had similar trajectories, demonstrating that change efforts often take time to bear fruit, Workforce said.
What does it take to become an HR employer of choice? The definition of "success" in this area can be a moving target, depending on what's considered most important at a given moment in time.
Top HR concerns for 2019 have included talent acquisition challenges, the evolving role of artificial intelligence (AI) in HR, how to best utilize data-driven insights, and an increased emphasis on agility. Of course, traditional HR pain points — including compliance, culture, diversity — remain at the forefront as well.
People-centric practices and culture are becoming more important than ever, and this is reflected in Workforce's decision to include employee feedback from Glassdoor as part of its ranking system. Along similar lines, during a talk at Workhuman 2019, Marriott — No. 91 on the Workforce list — revealed that its "secret sauce" was "the human spirit." Marriott actually enlists over 15,000 volunteers to serve as champions of the company's culture.
As the Workforce 100 indicated, broad cultural changes don't take root overnight. Employers have to be patient and willing to play the long game and have a deep understanding of what culture actually looks like. Culture relies on the "stuff" in an organization — how people work, the actions workers and managers take — and can't be treated as something vague, Jamie Notter, co-founder and consultant at Human Workplaces, noted during the Society for Human Resource Management's 2018 annual conference.
Ironically, a culture of success is often built on a willingness to fail. This is a key part of a growth mindset, according to Karen Hebert-Maccaro, chief learning experience officer at O'Reilly Media. Learning-focused leaders help teams develop, bring out their true potential and use failure as an opportunity to get smarter, Hebert-Maccaro previously told HR Dive.