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The Definition of a
Great Workplace

When people think of a great workplace, they often picture an organization with lavish perks, fancy parties and amazing benefits. While those elements are present in many of the well-known Best Workplaces, the definition of a great workplace goes far deeper than perks and benefits. In fact, at its core, a great workplace is about the level of trust that employees experience in their leaders, the level of pride they have in their jobs, and the extent to which they enjoy their colleagues.

While trust, pride and camaraderie are far more challenging to sustain than a great set of perks, they are all attainable by any organization willing to work on them.

The Global Standard

Business leaders, research institutions, and the public all rely on the Great Place to Work® Trust Model© as the definitive standard of what it means to be a great workplace. Our annual research represents more than 12 million employees from thousands organizations of varying sizes, industries, maturity and structures in over 50 countries.

Through our Certification Program, our Best Workplaces lists and our Culture Consulting Services, thousands of organizations each year use this Model to assess their workplaces and benchmark themselves against the Best Workplaces in the world.

What is a Great Workplace?

In our 30 years of research, we have found that people experience a great workplace when they consistently:

  • Trust the people they work for
    (assessed through employee perceptions of Credibility, Respect, and Fairness, described below);
  • Have Pride in what they do; and
  • Experience Camaraderie with their colleagues.

The Employee View: The Great Place to Work® Trust Model©

Based on the definition of a great workplace above, we have developed the Great Place to Work® Trust Model©, which serves as the lens we use to assess the employee experience of workplaces around the globe, and is the foundation of our Trust Index© Employee Survey.


The Trust Model© consists of these five dimensions:

Trust: Credibility

Employees see management as credible (believable, trustworthy); assesses employees’ perceptions of management’s communication practices, competence, and integrity.

Trust: Respect

Employees feel respected by management; assesses employees’ perceptions of professional support, collaboration and involvement in decisions, and the level of care management shows for employees as people.

Trust: Fairness

Employees believe management practices and policies are fair; assesses the equity, impartiality, and justice employees experience in the workplace.


Measures how employees feel about their own individual impact through their work, their pride in the work of their team, and their pride in the organization overall.


Measures whether employees believe their organization is a strong community where colleagues are friendly, supportive, and welcoming.

The Manager’s View

From the manager’s perspective, a great workplace is one where managers:

  • Achieve organizational objectives;
  • With employees who give their personal best; and
  • Work together as a team / family in an environment of trust

Through our work, we’ve identified the nine areas where leader and manager actions, behaviors, and communications have the greatest impact on the level of trust in an organization. They are:

  • Hiring

    Hiring practices ensure new employees fit into the culture and are welcomed.

  • Inspiring

    Employees see how they contribute to the organization’s higher purpose.

  • Speaking

    Leaders provide information honestly and transparently.

  • Listening

    Leaders are accessible and actively seek employee input.

  • Thanking

    Employees are appreciated regularly for their work.

  • Developing

    Leaders help employees to grow professionally and personally.

  • Caring

    Employees are supported as people with lives outside of work, especially in times of need; workplace is inclusive and embraces diversity; benefits are meaningful and distinctive.

  • Celebrating

    Organizational and team successes are regularly celebrated.

  • Sharing

    Rewards of mutual efforts are shared equitably with all who helped produce the results and are shared with communities.

9 Practices Circle

Becoming a Great Place to Work®

These fundamental concepts about great workplaces are universal and consistent year-over-year, country-to-country. They apply to all organizations, including those with diverse employee demographics and globally distributed workforces. We invite you to learn more about how you can create a great workplace as defined by the global standard today.

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