For nearly two decades, Gallup has recognized world-class organizations with the Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award. Learn more here.
Many employees and organizations spent last year settling into their new way of working after the initial, prolonged disruption of the pandemic subsided. This adjustment period coincided with an uncertain economy, continued resignations and “quiet quitting” making headlines -- amid declining employee engagement after a decade of growth.
The disconnect between employees and employers has widened, employees’ commitment to customers has waned, and customer satisfaction is on the decline. Organizations are going through a culture shock. While employees have adopted new work preferences, leaders have struggled to find the right formula to build a workplace culture that attracts stars and retains customers.
Despite all of these challenges, a subset of companies across multiple industries and geographies made adjustments and built cultures that thrive in the new work environment.
These exceptional workplaces, the 2023 Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award winners, proved that even during some of the most challenging times, strong cultures are resilient -- they find new ways to get work done and meet customer needs. These organizations continued to make employee engagement a cultural priority in their business strategy, and they maintained record levels of employee engagement while achieving or exceeding their business goals.
Here's what our review panel found in their interviews with leaders of these organizations:
Engagement is foundational to their organization’s culture.
The GEWA-winning organizations deliberately made employee engagement a non-negotiable way of working and managing. Their commitment to employee engagement isn’t a line item up for debate -- it’s embedded so deeply in their culture that it’s impossible to disentangle it from how they approach their work. Amid constant change, engagement is the compass that leaders and employees can use for guidance during trying times.
These organizations are being more intentional about addressing vulnerabilities in the new world of hybrid and remote working, such as communication, clear expectations, employees feeling connected to the organization, and the quality of partnerships and friendships. They had a plan to address these employee needs and executed it.
These organizations navigate hybrid work arrangements with transparency.
It’s clear that hybrid work is here to stay: 71% of all U.S. employees -- and 93% of remote-capable employees -- say they prefer a hybrid or exclusively remote work arrangement. But what hybrid or remote work looks like at each organization (or even on each team or in each role) can vary greatly. In conversations with GEWA winners, our review panel took note of leaders’ commitment to soliciting input from employees -- everything from what their work location preference would be to whether they’re capable of performing their role remotely.
And after listening and considering the impact of various ways of working (often in collaboration with employees), these award-winning organizations then communicated with full transparency the rationale for moving forward, explaining in detail why some roles simply require more on-site work while others can be done remotely or hybrid. Many landed on flexibility within a framework for remote-capable jobs.
These organizations also recognized the inherent burden on their fully on-site employees who can’t enjoy the benefit of remote or hybrid work because of the nature of their job. Many have worked to address this creatively -- for example, more flexibility with shift schedules and lengths, one work-from-home day per pay period to catch up on administrative duties, or time off each pay period.
Autonomy with accountability deepens employees’ trust in their leaders. And it functions as a retention strategy, as remote flexibility has evolved to be an employee expectation -- a critical advantage for organizations at a time when 49% of U.S. employees say they are open to leaving their organization. Most who leave do so for reasons related to employee engagement or wellbeing.
Leadership understands and taps into the power of meaningful conversations to deepen relationships.
GEWA winners prioritized ongoing, meaningful conversations as an engagement and development tool. Managers who were intentional about checking in with their team members on a regular basis and asking open-ended questions were more mindful of employees’ individual strengths, insights and ambitions. They were better positioned to know about their employees’ work and recognize them for their accomplishments, set ongoing priorities and, ultimately, meet customer needs. Managers were also better equipped to resource people to projects and guide team members in their careers.
These conversations were not limited to, “What are you working on this week?” They were an opportunity to check in on employees’ wellbeing -- to cultivate a relationship with the individual contributor and learn more about what fulfills them and what gives them a sense of purpose in their work. Managers are in the best position to know each person’s situation and develop a work plan that meets their individual needs without compromising team collaboration and customer value -- and these GEWA winners leaned on the manager’s important role in building and reinforcing their culture during times of change. In doing so, they reduced the chance of burnout and increased loyalty.
Indeed, by continuing to invest in engagement as a cultural business strategy, the 2023 GEWA winners have a leg-up on their competitors in the war for talent. In a world of increased chaos, they have brought clarity and purpose, making their cultures resilient.
2023 GEWA Winners by the Numbers
The engagement level among Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award winners is 72%, based on Q12 employee engagement surveys administered between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2022. On average, these 57 world-class organizations have 18 engaged employees for every one actively disengaged employee -- 10 times the rate in the U.S. and 16 times the global average.
Exceptionally high levels of employee engagement allowed these organizations to adapt and adjust in response to the challenges last year held. Gallup's engagement meta-analysis found that top- and bottom-quartile business units and teams had the following differences in business outcomes:
- 81% in absenteeism
- 58% in patient safety incidents (mortality and falls)
- 18% in turnover for high-turnover organizations
- 43% in turnover for low-turnover organizations
- 28% in shrinkage (theft)
- 64% in safety incidents (accidents)
- 41% in quality (defects)
- 10% in customer loyalty/engagement
- 18% in productivity (sales)
- 23% in profitability
Congratulations to the 2023 Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award winners for their extraordinary achievements:
- ABC Supply (17-time winner)
- AIA Group Limited (two-time winner)
- Alimentation Couche-Tard (two-time winner)
- Alliant Credit Union (seven-time winner)
- American Electric Power (four-time winner)
- Americana Restaurants International PLC (two-time winner)
- Atria Convergence Technologies Limited (six-time winner)
- Banco Davivienda (two-time winner)
- Bandhan Bank
- Cedar Valley Hospice (four-time winner)
- CESA 6 (two-time winner)
- Children’s Health of Texas (two-time winner)
- Children’s Wisconsin
- City of Centennial, CO (seven-time winner)
- DMi Partners
- DTE Energy (11-time winner)
- Enterprise Holdings
- FamilySearch (five-time winner)
- Ferring Pharmaceuticals (two-time winner)
- FMG (two-time winner)
- Foster Group (six-time winner)
- FWD Group
- GBG Plc
- Grinnell Mutual (three-time winner)
- Grupo BBVA (two-time winner)
- Hendrick Health (17-time winner)
- Hologic (three-time winner)
- Indus Towers (10-time winner)
- Jollibee Foods Corporation (two-time winner)
- Kempinski Hotels S.A. (two-time winner)
- Kerzner International (two-time winner)
- KinderCare Learning Companies (seven-time winner)
- Life Care Services
- Mary Lanning Healthcare (eight-time winner)
- Midas Safety
- Nationwide (11-time winner)
- NFU Mutual (eight-time winner)
- Ochsner Health
- Option Care Health
- Phelps Memorial Health Center (four-time winner)
- Progressive (three-time winner)
- Regions Bank (nine-time winner)
- Relievant Medsystems
- TBA Credit Union (three-time winner)
- The Palace Group (six-time winner)
- Travel + Leisure Co.
- University Federal Credit Union (three-time winner)
- Verizon (three-time winner)
- Virginia Credit Union
- Vizo Financial
- WSFS Bank (seven-time winner)
- Żabka Group Sp. Z o.o.
What makes Gallup's award criteria so rigorous?
The Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award criteria are more rigorous than other workplace awards. While many workplace awards only require a small sample of survey participants, we ask for every employee's opinions, and winners must achieve a qualifying score that places them in the top tier of organizations. Each company measures its employee engagement using Gallup's Q12 -- a survey that asks employees questions that tie to their performance, commitment to their organization and specific business metrics. Those organizations that meet the required criteria are among clients in Gallup's historical database including more than 43 million respondents and more than 5 million workgroups from 212 countries.
Applicants submit information about their strategy, leadership, performance, accountability, communication, knowledge management, development and ongoing learning. A panel of Gallup workplace scientists and experts evaluates applicants and assesses them against criteria established by the most comprehensive workplace study ever conducted. Applicants have to measure up to some of the most productive and profitable organizations in the world.
Learn more about the Gallup Exceptional Workplace Award criteria.