The Power of Two: Do your employees think you’re a great place to work?

The Power of Two

Andrew McNeil and Rosario Avila are award-winning senior benefits advisers collaborating to use their different perspectives to bring better solutions to employers. Reach out: or 707-992-3789.

Read their past columns.

For the ninth consecutive year, our firm has just been named one of North Bay’s Best Places to Work — recognition that comes directly from our own internal team members. Our colleagues took the time to complete the survey, giving them the chance to express what it’s like to work with our group — and they used their voices to tell the community that our company is a great place to work. It’s a fantastic feeling and many other outstanding organizations also made the list.

Like beauty, “greatness is in the eye of the beholder” it’s always subjective, especially when an employee shares their feelings about their employer. A company’s greatness, or its absence, is influenced by outside economic pressures, personal work relationships, managerial and supervisory dynamics, community engagement, and internal policies. These factors, and more, all shape one's perception of their employer.

Being on the "Best Places" list equals much more than the prestige it brings. Having this designation helps attract and retain talent, improve morale and productivity, and enhances your company's overall success and reputation. It represents your intention to improve your company culture. Just striving to be on the list is a testament to your commitment to creating a truly great place to work.

There is no one right way to make the list and to stay there. Award or not, we do have initiatives organizations can implement internally to be viewed as a great place to work (hint: it doesn’t have to be expensive!):

Culture and values

Over the years, we’ve discussed the importance of company culture many times. A positive workplace philosophy which aligns with the company's principles is the foundation for any organization. Employees want to work in an environment where they feel respected, valued, and included.

“Whatever you're thinking, think bigger. Your culture is your brand. Never accept or be too comfortable with the status quo, because the companies that get into trouble are historically the ones that aren't able to adapt to change and respond quickly enough.” — Tony Hsieh, Former CEO.

Career development

Employees are more likely to stay with — and have a favorable view of — an employer that offers opportunities for professional growth and development by providing regular training, mentorship, and clear paths for advancement. Investing in an employee for the long term doesn’t guarantee they will stay with you forever, but it does help! Even when employees leave, they are more likely to refer their friends and offer high recommendations.

Work-life balance

The importance of work-life balance cannot be overstated.

To be great, employers need policies and practices that support maintaining a healthy equilibrium between our personal and professional lives. Look for ways to support your team’s life events, vacation, and hobbies outside of work in any way you can. This will help them find that much-needed balance between work and home. Where possible, offering flexible start and end times can allow employees to work the hours where they are most productive, and which meets the needs of their families.

Be competitive: Benefits and compensation

While not the only factor, your benefits and compensation packages are essential to how an employee views their workplace. They should feel that their efforts are rewarded, which includes not only salary but also benefits and incentives. A company doesn’t need to offer Google-level perks to build a valuable program. With a creative package, employers can offer perks outside of traditional medical, dental, and vision. Voluntary benefits are an excellent way to build loyalty with little or no cost to the organization. Your team will appreciate access to programs such as pet insurance, additional paid disability, tuition assistance, or travel and entertainment discounts.

Employee well-being

Just like promoting work-life balance, prioritizing the physical and mental health of your workforce is crucial. This includes providing health care benefits, counseling services, and encouraging a healthy lifestyle through wellness programs. On the backside of the pandemic, we have seen this become more important with choice employers putting more emphasis on employee well-being. Do your best to be the best by considering new options for your people. While most organizations can’t offer on-site workout facilities, partnering with local gyms and yoga studios for discounted memberships is an option. Supporting employee volunteer activities — in terms of time off or direct financial contributions — goes a long way in promoting a balance between an individual’s work life and personal fulfillment.

There is no single recipe for becoming a preferred employer. After all, an organization is made up of people with differing needs. Respecting and rewarding your employees takes many forms and can set you on the path to becoming a beloved and respected organization. Perhaps we’ll see you on the list next year!

The Power of Two

Andrew McNeil and Rosario Avila are award-winning senior benefits advisers collaborating to use their different perspectives to bring better solutions to employers. Reach out: or 707-992-3789.

Read their past columns.

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