Spokane Journal of Business

Publisher’s Notebook: Employee engagement is tactical


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Talk to economic development folks, and you’ll hear more emphatic arguments that the ubiquitous mantra “location, location, location” is being replaced by “talent, talent, talent.” We are, as a community, in a fight to ensure that we have a compelling story to tell about our region’s workforce and the culture of our employers.

What is the culture at your workplace? How compelling is your employee engagement story?

Those questions are why the Journal is so excited to have embarked on the second year of Best Places to Work Inland Northwest. We launched the program last year to great response and were able to honor 25 of the region’s Best Places to Work, both in a special supplement to the Journal and a celebratory breakfast that drew about 300 people.

Beyond the recognition piece, we heard from participating employers that going through the program helped them learn a lot about how their employees feel and how they rank among their peers here. Only good can come from that kind of knowledge.

To conduct Best Places to Work, we hired a national research firm that provides the program in more than 50 markets, conducting surveys both of employers themselves and their employees. Participation is free, though employers have the option to buy a detailed report about their employees’ responses. 

Based on those surveys, the research firm, Pennsylvania-based Best Companies Group, will provide the Journal with a ranking of participating organizations, and we will publish that list in a supplement to our Sept. 28 issue. That same day, we will hold a celebration breakfast at the Spokane Convention Center to honor those employers and award the highest ranking among them in four size categories.

This is a great opportunity for employers, especially those without big budgets that can be invested in employee engagement. We chose a reputable firm to conduct the surveys because we want it done right, and with complete anonymity for employees. Participating employers are eligible to make the Journal’s list of Best Places to Work, and, if they do, to also use the Best Places logos on their websites and other promotional and recruiting materials, setting themselves apart in the competition for talent.

They also could choose to buy the optional report from Best Companies Group, which will detail, in aggregate, employee response data, as well as how the organization stacks up against others in the region.

But, and this is important, the deadline for participating is coming very soon—June 9—so you will need to act quickly if you want to participate. Signing up is easy and the research firm will then walk you through the steps, which will take place later in June and through July. You can sign up at the program’s website, www.bestplacestoworkinw.com. You can also contact me directly if you have questions, at publisher@spokanejournal.com.

None of this would be possible without the strong support of our founding major sponsors to the program, Providence Health Care and the Inland Northwest Society for Human Resource Management.

I strongly encourage you to consider participating in this program. 

  • Paul Read

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