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Have a great place to work? Let us know

Sometimes you know right away. There’s a feeling in the atmosphere; there’s a smile on the faces of people you pass by; there’s a tone in their voices that tells you they’re having a good day. Don’t you know what I mean? Some places we go are simply more pleasant to be in than others. These are places we’re willing to spend more time, and perhaps, more money.

I can go inside an office, retail store, healthcare facility, bank or professional firm and sense right away if it’s a good place to work. It’s a vibe that’s equally strong in a negative atmosphere, and that’s where I don’t want to be. How about a grocery store clerk who is slinging your food down the track, when he ought to be in a gym slugging away at a boxing bag to relieve his frustrations? Then there are the associates in a department store who seem to hide so they can’t help you find your items. Not so great.

I have often read in business publications that, “A successful business is 95% people and 5% product or service.” I believe this is a good gauge and am confident that most employers recognize that having satisfied workers contributes a lot toward their success in satisfying customers.

I work in a very positive atmosphere, where my boss sticks a hand inside my door a couple of times a day, flicks off my light switch and says, “Hello, Robbie L. Bell,” then flicks it back on and keeps on trucking down the hall. I know I’m going to get a smile and a “How are you?” as soon as I hit the front door each day. I can tour the building and see people walking briskly down the hallways with smiling faces, or hunched over computers in deep concentration, but always ready to say “Hey!” and that just-right feeling is in the air. I can honestly say, “This is a great place to work.”

Part of my job is to conduct our awards programs. The management of the Mississippi Business Journal believes that recognizing positive examples set by good companies is a service we owe our readers. We reward companies with fast growth, with great records of integrity and ethics, with good corporate citizenship, with innovations, with leaders who have become “Hall of Fame” laureates.

We identify and recognize the state’s leading young professionals under 40; and we honor the state’s leading business women. The publications that report these findings have grown in popularity and in size as readers and advertisers indicate they like to know who is “doing it right.”

‘This is a great place to work’

I want to introduce you to our newest program, one that is a culmination of awards programs we already have in place. We’re launching The Best Places to Work in Mississippi, partnering with Southern Research Group to conduct employee surveys in the participating companies that will identify which companies have cohesive policies and practices that enable their workforce to say, “This is a great place to work.”

You might be among the top companies honored at the Kick-Off Breakfast for the Mississippi Business and Technology EXPO in January and profiled in a special publication due out in March. At the very least, you’ll be able to access the findings and develop some new practices that might get you on the list next time, or better yet, to a healthier atmosphere for workers, which often leads you to a better bottom line.

Stimulating opportunity

Here are some questions I frequently see in the context of workplace analysis: Is your company an outstanding place to work? Are your employees engaged and empowered? Does your business foster an environment that makes work challenging, rewarding and positive? Does your community benefit from your presence and contributions to the economic growth of our state? Find out the answers through your employees’ eyes.

Best Places to Work in Mississippi offers a stimulating opportunity for great employers to be identified and recognized for raising the bar of excellence in our state’s business climate. The competition will be divided into four corporate sizes; we’ll include all companies meeting the scoring standard in published lists; we’ll honor all of the listed companies at the awards breakfast and profile them in the magazine.

Three companies in each size category will be recognized as attaining the pinnacle of workplace success. Southern Research Group will provide a free analysis of the data gathered for these top winners. Other listed winners will be able to purchase their results and analysis at a greatly reduced fee.

What better compliment can we pay you than to name you one of the Best Places to Work in Mississippi? That’s strong. But we can’t include you unless you register and participate in the surveys. I encourage you to read more about this exciting program at: www.bestplacestoworkinms.com and register your company to participate.

Robbie L. Bell is vice president of business development for the Mississippi Business Journal. Her e-mail address is rlbell@msbusiness.com .

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