Is a “100 Best Companies” Rank Really Proof Enough?

Woman looking at computer screens

No. Is my short answer, and let me tell you why.

Years ago, I was temping at a pharmaceutical company that proudly displayed their “100 Best Workplaces for Women” designations in the lobby. As a woman, seeing this on my first day made me feel good about the company I was working for, if even just on a temporary basis.

Flash forward to a few weeks later, I was in a meeting in which a woman who was well respected by her colleagues had to call in from home as she was recovering from a mastectomy due to breast cancer. She had to hang up when a visiting nurse came in early to drain the tubes that she still had in her chest. After she hung up, the executive ranted and bad mouthed her for a solid five minutes, angry that she had to cut the call short and angry that she’s been taking so much time off for treatments. That “time off” comment surprised me because in the few weeks I was there, that woman was also in the office most of the time and was a very dedicated worker in a middle management position.

After the meeting, I talked with some coworkers who said that executive had been harassing the woman with cancer, and the reason she was in the office so much was that she was afraid he’d fire her. The more I paid attention to what was happening around me, the more I realized this company was not at all a good company for women to work for, let alone a “best” company. So, I put little stock in those lists.

Turning Good PR into a Story that Resonates

Today, a friend sent me a video Johnson & Johnson (J&J) created after repeatedly being named to the Working Mother 100 Best Companies list. This is one way to show people–customers and potential recruits–that you really do deserve that recognition. Watch the video below:

What better way to tell your story than to have your employees tell it for you?

J&J has been on this list for 30-plus years now and you can tell they’re not satisfied just to sit on their laurels. They asked 10 employees who are mothers to share how their career with the company has enhanced their personal and professional lives, and posted the video along with a brief message about the Working Mothers designation.

In addition, they regularly post stories on their site that reflect their company as well as their brand. For 2016, they even created an infographic that shows how J&J supports working mothers. Here’s just a little snippet:

History of Supporting Women at J&J

These days, most everyone knows that many “best of” lists are pay to play and there often may be some sort of politics that determine who wins. If you want to show that you really deserve the designation, start using real-life examples and storytelling, like J&J is doing.

Sure, posting icons issued by each rewarding organization is an easy way to let people know you were recognized, but it’s not enough. Show people why you deserve that designation–through employee and customer storytelling that demonstrates why you received the award.

Even better, keep building that trait into your company’s DNA and let it reveal itself in the benefits you offer, the way you organize and decorate your offices, the language you use internally and externally, and more. That way it’s more than just an award or designation–it’s part of your brand.

If you run a small business that needs help building its brand, contact me and we can review your needs.