We’d like to thank this year’s participants of the 2023 Best Companies to Work For. Many of you were, like most if not all companies and families in Guam, trying to make repairs, clean up and generally recover from the impacts of Typhoon Mawar. And yet, you were willing to put yourself through the scrutiny of your management and employee teams. In conversation with many of you, there was a desire, even with all that you and your employees were facing, to ensure your relationship with your team is solid and find ways to improve on areas where you may fall short. We appreciate you, but more importantly, as seen from the survey responses, so do your employees. For those companies who were not able to participate this year, we know there’s a lot going on. We thank you for your consideration and hope to see you in the next round.
By Oyaol Ngirairikl
Benefits offered by Best Companies to Work For participants
- Health and dental insurance: 84%
- 401K: 100%
- Paid vacation: 92%
- Sick Leave: 77%
- Service vehicles and/or fuel: 46%
- Uniform allowance: 31%
- Christmas/Company parties: 46%
- Life insurance: 69%
- Employee discounts: 54%
- Educational/training programs: 69%
- Disabilities pay and/or insurance: 39%
- Family assistance programs: 39%
- Flexible scheduling: 23%
- Bonus pay/help during disasters: 31%
- Mental/physical health wellness programs: 46%
It all comes down to respect and trust between employees and employers as we see in this year’s Best Companies to Work For. In this year’s Best Companies to Work For survey, 14 companies — some large and some small — agreed to ask their employees to share their overall satisfaction of their place in the company via an anonymous survey.
At least 10% of the employees were asked to respond to the survey questions on a five-point scale with responses ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. The questions were grouped into five categories:
- Attraction and Retention
- Working Environment
- Decision Making
- Performance Management and Recognition
There also were two open-ended questions about what employees liked most about their company and where their company could better suit their needs.
The management teams also participated in a separate survey, also anonymous. Like the employee groups, at least 10% of the team had to participate in the survey. For smaller companies, at least one person had to respond. Management team members were given similar topics similar to those of the employees but from the company’s perspective, as well as open-ended questions about attracting and retaining talent, promoting supervisory skills and providing employees with opportunities to share ideas.
Overall, the highest and lowest scores continue the trend that Guam Business Magazine has seen.
Across the board, the highest-ranking responses were those relating to the Working Environment, and Performance Management and Recognition. These categories were closely followed by Communication.
Among all the companies, the highest scoring rate of satisfaction was, “the company provides a safe work environment,” and “the company provides me with regular training and development opportunities.”
The lowest scoring rate of satisfaction among island companies, also followed the trend of previous years: “I think I am paid fairly compared with people in other companies who hold similar jobs.”
In Guam Business Magazine’s last survey, the responses showing second in terms of dissatisfaction at places of employment was lack of information on changes affecting the employee, and the company recognizing good work.
However, this year, employees are putting more weight on other compensation benefits — not just wages. Following closely after compensation concerns were responses to: “I feel the company’s benefits package is comparable to that of other companies of the same size,” which indicates the growing importance of various benefits.
And closely following that, are the responses to the survey question, “I would remain with my company even if a comparable job were available in another company,” which seems to indicate that people are more willing today, compared to the years of the previous surveys, to seek new employment if the environment together with benefit and pay don’t meet their expectations.
These responses seem to correlate with the responses provided by employees in their free responses:
These are in response to the open-ended question on what makes the company a great place to work:
- I honestly believe that the company values its resources, specifically its employees. And that’s what makes the company great.
- Continued training. Safe and friendly work environment. We have good and qualified leaders and easy to communicate.
- Leadership of Management. Culture of being family oriented and the ability to balance both family life and work life.
- The employees we work with are awesome.
- The fact that it aligns with most of my goals. The moral support and guidance is unmatched from any other job I’ve ever worked at.
- With respect to what companies can do to improve, responses also reflected the five-point survey:
- Improve medical and dental benefits
- Have leadership more accessible to hear concerns
- More interaction between the different departments; so we can get to know each other more and work better together as a team
- Pay and consistent annual raises
What’s great is management teams seem to be responding to these changes. In the open ended question about what the company does to help their employees some managers’ responses were echoed by other management teams in various companies.
By paying attention to the employee’s concern and answering questions about what is important and making them understanding what is expected for the work to get done.
One company noted that a “safe and welcoming workplace where everyone feels valued and respected is its priority to help recruit and retain “the people it needs to be successful.”
The company touted great benefits that include educational and training programs in preparation for career advancement, and the company hosts events that bring its people together to build relationships.
“We believe in continuous learning and development, offering access to resources and opportunities to enhance skills and knowledge. Every employee goes through new employee orientation that sets them up with a positive start complete with all their tools, training, and a special lunch with their team so they feel welcomed day one. The company also understands the importance of work-life balance, offering events that bring everyone together to share a meal and celebrate achievements.”
Also, in times of disaster, like the recent typhoon, many local companies provide some level of help for their employees who may have not had flowing water or power service for anywhere from days to months. Employees showed their appreciation for that as shown in this remark:
- The company offers a free laundromat when we really needed it, made us take our company cars home when gas was really hard to get.
All of the top five employee-rated companies offered at least four of the five best benefits offered by Guam Business’ Best Companies to Work For — a 401k or retirement plan; medical, dental and vision insurance options; paid time off starting immediately the first year and growing with tenure; and life insurance. Other benefits that trended across high ranking employers included employee product/service discounts, gas discounts/reimbursement, tuition aid, short- and long-term disability insurance and profit sharing.