The title of being one of Australia’s best places to work has again been claimed by a number of fast-growing technology companies, with the likes of Atlassian, Canva and Salesforce featuring in this year’s list of the 50 great workplaces compiled by Great Place to Work Australia.
The 11th annual study was dominated by local and international tech companies, with the average age of companies on this year’s list being 48 years old. Of those companies, 75% of their workers are full-time, with average non-management salaries of $94,000.
At the top of the list for companies with over 1,000 employees is international marketing software company Salesforce and home-grown success story Atlassian. Both companies were in the top three for companies with 100-999 employees last year, showing their consistency as good places to work.
“At Salesforce we believe a strong culture lays the foundation for a strong business. Testament to the passion and purpose that goes into creating Salesforce’s workplace culture, we’re extremely honoured to again be recognised as the number one Best Place to Work in Australia for 2018,” Mark Innes, general manager of Asia Pacific at Salesforce, said in a statement.
At the top of the list for companies with between 100-999 employees is another local startup success story Canva, which earlier this year was pronounced one of Australia’s latest unicorns, thanks to a valuation of more than $1 billion. Following Canva is medical technology company Stryker and accounting company Intuit.
And for the small end of the pack for businesses with fewer than 100 employees, dental company Avenue Dental took the top spot, followed by IT services company Insentra, and data and analytics firm Altis Consulting.
The survey involved 63,740 Australian employees from 160 companies, with scores deduced by a 58-question survey provided to employees, as well as an assessment of the company by Great Place to Work against nine key practice areas.
In a statement, managing director of Great Place to Work Australia Zrinka Lovrencic said maintaining a fantastic workplace culture is leading to businesses having better retention rates. While there was a general 21.4% increase in unfilled positions in the broader job market between May 2017 to May 2018, voluntary turnover at the companies on this year’s list decreased by 30%.
“This is telling us that despite the labour market shortage and an abundance of opportunities, the employees at the 50 Best Places to Work are less interested in looking for new opportunities,” Lovrencic said.
“Being a great workplace is no longer something that is just ‘nice to have’: today it is imperative to business vitality and success.”
Never too late to look at culture
Tristan White’s business The Physio Co has been on the Best Places to Work list for the past 10 years, coming in eighth this year for companies with between 100-999 employees. But the chief executive tells SmartCompany when he started the physiotherapy business in 2004, a focus on workplace culture was nowhere to be found.
“For the first five years, I had no freaking idea what culture was, and I was running a business with about 20 people, all doing our very best, but really I didn’t know what I was doing,” he says.
“None of us really knew where the business was heading, and I began to wonder if business was for me, but then I decided to find a solution.”
It was at that point White’s “obsession” with culture started, as he set about transforming Physio Co from a “haphazard” group of people to a group with a clear set of core purposes and values. White says sticking to those values over time has led his business to success, so much so that he centres all business actions and communications around those values.
While it was hard to move the goalposts for all his employees literally overnight, White believes it’s never too late for businesses to get cracking on culture. However, he advises business owners to try and find that sweet spot on the continuum of focusing on people, and focusing on business performance.
“When tough times come, you can find yourself focusing a bit too much on the numbers and not enough on the people and culture, so it’s about finding that balance,” he says.
The 50 best places to work in Australia are:
Over 1,000 employees
3. Cisco Systems Australia
5. Mecca Brands
7. Kennards Hire
8. Dhl Express
9. Sap Australia
10. Campbell Arnotts
Between 100-999 employees
4. The Bluerock
7. Abbvie Australia
8. The Physio Co
9. Summit Homes Group
10. Nova Systems
15. Jetts Fitness
17. Richard Crookes Constructions
18. Wavemaker Australia
19. L’occitane Australia
20. Autodesk Australia
Under 100 employees
1. Avenue Dental
3. Altis Consulting
5. Invest Blue
7. Maple Event Group
9. Melbourne Real Estate
10. Bluefin Resources
13. Stanford Brown
16. Frontier Advisors
17. Corin Australia
19. I2c Architects
20. Elantis Premium Funding