Today's Reading

"A Great Place to Work," writes Michael Bush, "is one where employees trust the people they work with, have pride in the work they do, and enjoy the people they work with." This is not just touchy-feely stuff: the excellent data that Great Place to Work has accrued over time (and that I've used in my own studies on workplace motivation) bears it out. Some of their findings have been surprising. For example, it turns out that people worry less about monetary inequality than they do about the fairness of processes and being treated equally across categories such as gender and race. So it's OK for someone to get a larger bonus than someone else as long as the methodology used to sort out who gets what is understood to be fair and equitable.

There is no question that the engine of growth for any company is the ingenuity of their employees, while the engine of stagnation is employee apathy. This book shines a light on the importance of investments in human capital that go beyond salaries and benefits. In today's workplace, in which work and life are tightly integrated, companies need people to be thinking about work commitments practically around the clock. The only way employees will do that willingly is when they believe that their leaders care for them, that they are treated fairly, and that they're engaged in meaningful work. By investing more in human capital, companies can do much better for all their stakeholders—for shareholders, for the people who work there, and for the world.

Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and the author of several books, including Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, The Honest Truth about Dishonesty, and Dollars and Sense.



What was good enough to be "great" 10 or 20 years ago is not good enough now. To survive and thrive in the future, organizations have to build Great Places to Work For All.

Like other business leaders, John Chambers likes to win.

But his way of winning is different.

We recently spoke with the longtime CEO of tech giant Cisco Systems, and his face lit up when he talked about outlasting rival networking firms and the thrill of outmaneuvering business opponents by thinking ahead.

"The chess game is fun," said Chambers, who stepped down from the CEO post three years ago but remains at Cisco as executive chairman. "I never make the first move on the chessboard until I've already played the game forward and backward."

He plays it well. During Chambers' 20 years as CEO, Cisco's annual revenue soared from $1.2 billion to $47 billion, the company laid the plumbing for the modern Internet, and Business Insider named it one of the "Greatest Tech Companies in History."

So, in many ways, Chambers is the quintessential take-charge, no-nonsense, play-to- win business executive. But something sets him apart. Unlike most business leaders of his era, Chambers realized early on that a key to winning as a leader is tapping your people power—that is, creating a great place to work, where people bring their best selves to the organization.

Chambers calls it "culture," or you might call it the queen piece in his chess matches. "While some people view culture as not a key ownership requirement for the CEO, I respectfully disagree," he said. "I think it is the foundation."

Chambers' focus on culture is why Cisco has been a mainstay on the 100 Best Companies to Work For list we publish each year with our partner FORTUNE magazine. Cisco, in fact, is one of the 12 "Legend" companies that earned a place on our list each of the first 20 years we produced it.

At a recent Great Place to Work For All conference, Chambers spoke from the main stage to our "choir"—the community of companies that already get the importance of a great culture. But he had a sermon about the emerging digital economy that shook people up.

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