We’ve selected Missouri’s Best Places to Work for 2014!

By Marty Steffens

By Marty Steffens

Click here to learn about Best Places to Work 2016!

For Hillary Liddick, it was a family tradition: her mother and sisters all work for the same St. Joseph manufacturer.

Sydney Friar loved her job in Branson so much that when she married and relocated, she chose not to look for a new job but to telecommute from her new home in Oklahoma.

And for graduating University of Missouri senior Alex Spiva, he ended his summer by accepting an offer to begin work in 2015 at the same Kansas City company where he interned, spurning the chance to make more money elsewhere.

Six companies are being honored in our inaugural competition to find Missouri’s Best Places to Work. They are as different as their locations across the state. Speaking with scores of employees who gladly work at these winning companies, we found shared traits:

  • Many employees were recruited through word-of-mouth, not help-wanted ads.
  • Employees are allowed to fail, without fear of punishment, as a way to learn.
  • Managers and bosses are approachable and seen as friends, not someone to be feared.
  • Expectations are set high, and employees feel a sense of achievement.
  • Workers love their company and proudly wear the company logo, though they aren’t required.
  • Community service is encouraged, rewarded, and celebrated.
  • Family life is embraced.

So, how do companies become a dream place to work?

Business academics have studied happy work environments by surveying employees at companies across the country. Professors Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones of the London Business School wrote in the Harvard Business Review that the best workplace is one that is authentic and where trust is paramount.

In addition, they wrote, a successful culture nurtures individual differences. Information is not suppressed or wrung through an employee-relations spin. The company values employees, rather than extracting work from them. The organization has goals bigger than itself and stands for something meaningful. The work is intrinsically rewarding, and there are no “stupid rules.”

Creating a great workplace isnít just a smart way to find and retain great employees; it is very good business. Research from Hay Group found that highly engaged employees are 50 percent more likely to exceed expectations than less-engaged workers. Companies with highly engaged people outperform firms with disengaged folks by 54 percent in employee retention, by 89 percent in customer satisfaction, and by fourfold in revenue growth.

Meet the winners!

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