Your portal to
enterprise engagement

The 2015 People-Centric Award Winners

The Enterprise Engagement Alliance is pleased to announce…

The 2015 People-Centric Award Winners

What makes these 25 U.S. companies stand apart from their peers and competitors? They each have their unique attributes, but they all share a broad-based and deeply-ingrained culture of engagement that taps into the passion of employees, customers and partners while giving back to the communities in which they operate

By Andrea Montello

Working adults spend more of their waking hours at the office than anywhere else. Unfortunately, most are apathetic about the organizations they work for, and this is bad news for Corporate America. When workers don’t care about their jobs, their work quality diminishes, creating a cascading effect that negatively impacts the entire enterprise. Conversely, a company that seeks to achieve its organizational goals by strategically engaging employees, customers and communities stands apart from its peers and competitors due to this kind of “people-centric” approach. Not surprisingly, such companies are not only great places to work and do business with, they also perform better financially (see ECSI feature, page 16).
To recognize these forward-thinking organizations and hopefully provide an example for others to follow, the Enterprise Engagement Alliance recently announced the winners of its first annual 25 Most People-Centric Companies awards, based on a detailed analysis of independent research by McBassi & Company, a leading human capital analytics firm.
What these companies have in common is a broad-based and deeply-ingrained culture of engagement. They tap into the passion of employees, customers and partners while giving back to the communities in which they operate. Here’s a look at this year’s top firms and what makes them unique.

Abbott, the global healthcare company based in North Chicago, IL, maintains an emphasis on helping people build better lives and stronger communities. “Abbott fulfills its potential as a company by helping others to fulfill theirs,” says Miles D. White, Chairman and CEO. “This applies to all that we do as an innovator, as a business, as an employer and as a neighbor. When making people healthier is why you go to work every day, it shapes the way you think and act….and it breeds a deep sense of respect and responsibility for our world and the people we serve.”
Abbott was ranked the number one company overall and number one for social responsibility in its industry (Medical Products and Equipment) on the Fortune Most Admired Companies 2014 list. With a portfolio of leading, science-based offerings in diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generic pharmaceuticals, Abbott serves customers in more than 150 countries and employs approximately 69,000 highly engaged people.

Each year, Amgen commits significant financial support and product donations to help make a difference in people’s lives. Likewise, Amgen staff members devote literally thousands of hours volunteering their time and talent to strengthening and enriching their communities.
Amgen’s corporate giving initiatives are quite diverse: research grants and fellowships; medical education grants; donations of cash, product and equipment; community involvement through corporate sponsorships; and cash donations and volunteerism by Amgen staff members. In addition, the Amgen Foundation gives grants and matches staff donations to eligible non-profits.
As a pharmaceutical company, Amgen is dedicated to finding new ways to treat serious illness and improve people’s lives, and that’s reflected in their internal policies as well. The company’s long-term-incentive program rewards employees with a mix of restricted stock units, stock options and performance units based on salary grade, job performance, critical skills and contributions to Amgen’s future success.

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation
“Our people are an important competitive advantage in this industry,” explains Emily Rodgers, Anadarko Manager of Corporate Responsibility. “Consistently achieving positive results for our stakeholders largely rests upon the talent and commitment of the men and women that make up Anadarko.”
Anadarko has a comprehensive corporate responsibility program based upon three tenets: Sustainable Development, Good Governance and Adding Value. This third component focuses on social investment in the communities in which employees live and work worldwide. Anadarko develops relationships with non-profit partners to facilitate many of its contributions to communities and enable sustainability of its projects well into the future.
In Anadarko’s Denver office, Alex Hohmann serves as Stakeholder Relations Manager, reporting to Chris Castilian, Director of Engagement & Strategy. Part of their mission is to give employees the opportunity to broaden their skills and knowledge by working in different business and geographic areas of the organization, and the company offers financial support for employees pursuing higher education and works to provide an attractive and responsive work/life balance through accommodation, wellness programs and services.
Anadarko also fosters an entrepreneurial spirit through programs such as the Innovator Awards, in which employees nominate peers who push the company to operate more efficiently, cost effectively, or safely.

Bristol-Myers Squibb
Bristol-Myers Squibb constantly seeks people who are focused on its mission to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases, and who have the drive to work with a level of urgency in delivering solutions for patients. The company recruits talent from the broadest pool of the best candidates, one that best reflects its patient base and their needs.  
“We engage and empower our employees and enrich their experience, providing a work environment where they can thrive and develop in a culture that’s collaborative, powerfully diverse, broadly inclusive and committed to doing the right things with state-of-the-art facilities and tools to do their work,” explains Frederick J. Egenolf, Director of Corporate Communications and Community Affairs. “Taken together, our emphasis on people results in a better work experience as well as a better work product. We believe our people are our competitive advantage over other companies. Our efforts to promote economic, social and environmental sustainability are core to our company’s mission and reflect our ongoing commitment to patients, our employees and partners, the environment and communities around the world.”

Awareness and employee engagement comes in many forms at Celgene. “Our mission is to improve the lives of patients around the world,” says Zeba Kahn, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility. “With that in mind, Celgene strives to support and have a positive impact on the global communities where we have a presence. Working together with our employees and others, Celgene is making a difference.”
Dmitri Siegel, a Director in the Government Relations department, is an active participant in Celgene fundraisers. “I am proud to be with a company where the people I work with are so involved in helping others,” he says. “We are all patients. We all face challenges in life. Those of us that work for Celgene know that we are helping patients overcome challenges, and that is very fulfilling.”
One of its largest fundraising efforts is for the LLS Light the Night Walk. In addition to asking employees to raise funds, Celgene also offers a company match. The capstone event is the walk, which gets employees to actively participate and interact with people directly affected by blood cancers. Celgene sub-teams also organize several activities building up to the walk such as raffles, bake sales and even an opportunity to win a parking spot. 

It couldn’t be any clearer. It’s right there in Clorox’s 2014 Annual Report: “When people are engaged, committed to the same values, work well together and are fully invested in our business, we can accomplish just about anything.”  
Last year, Clorox transitioned to a new engagement survey vendor with expanded benchmark capabilities, including a global fast-moving consumer goods norm and a global high-performing companies benchmark. Consistent with past years, Clorox continues to have high employee engagement, with an 86% favorable score from its global employee population, nine percentage points above the consumer goods norm.
Diversity and inclusion are also important pieces of the people strategy at Clorox. Employee resource groups lead the way in sustaining a strong diversity and inclusion program, and also help with new business ideas. The company’s success is underscored with a perfect rating on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) 2014 Corporate Equality Index, which it has achieved annually since 2006. The HRC also named Clorox one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.” Additionally, Hispanic Network magazine included Clorox on its “Best of the Best” list for diversity, and U.S. Veterans magazine recognized Clorox on its “Best of the Best” list for veterans.

Colgate-Palmolive Company
A $17.4 billion global company serving people in more than 200 countries and territories, Colgate-Palmolive Company focuses on strong global brands in its core businesses – oral care, personal care, home care and pet nutrition.
Colgate supports and encourages leadership at every level in the organization in a number of different ways. Its strategy starts with identifying the best talent early, then offering continuous learning opportunities through a comprehensive training curriculum, constructive feedback and coaching, and work that is both challenging and exciting. The company is continually developing new programs to meet evolving leadership and business challenges, as well as strengthening and expanding current programs, which are all taught by Colgate people. The company’s “Valuing Colgate People” training programs are designed to encourage employees to meet their personal goals while helping to achieve corporate objectives.
“Colgate’s continued success around the world is tightly linked to the commitment of everyone to live by our core values,” says Ian Cook, Colgate’s Chairman, President and CEO. “Throughout the company, these values help build a strong culture based on integrity, ethical behavior and the desire to do the right thing.”

Costco Wholesale
Costco attains superior employee engagement by setting its starting pay well above minimum wage – at $11.50 per hour – and providing company-sponsored health insurance. On average, hourly employees make $20.89 per hour, not including overtime. Opportunity abounds at Costco, witnessed by the fact that more than 70% of warehouse mangers began their careers in entry-level positions.  Attracting and retaining great employees is one of the keys to the success of Costco’s business model – as important, if not more so, than the company’s low prices that keep customers coming back.

Dominion Resources
Dominion is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy and operates one of the nation’s largest natural gas storage systems. Last year the company was named Electric Light & Power magazine’s 2014 Utility of the Year.
“This reflects the commitment of our employees who have worked hard and done their jobs well,” says Thomas F. Farrell II, Chairman, President and CEO at Dominion Resources. “This award also demonstrates our commitment to serve our customers reliably while focusing on our core values: safety, ethics, excellence, and teamwork.”
Dominion has robust employee engagement and recognition programs that honor and encourage outstanding job performance, innovation and community service. “An engaged and motivated workforce drives strong organizational performance,” explains Farrell. “We know the more engaged our employees, the safer, more productive and customer-focused they will be – and also the more committed to the company’s strategic goals and mission.”
The company also continues to demonstrate its commitment to improving the quality of community life and giving back through partnerships, volunteer service, targeted social investments and other forms of engagement. For example, Dominion employees and customers partnered to provide more than $3 million in 2013 to support EnergyShare, the company’s signature fuel assistance program that has been helping needy families pay their energy bills for more than 30 years.

Eli Lilly and Company
Effective employee collaboration is critical to Lilly’s success, and the company works hard to engage its employees and foster and promote teamwork. Connecting Hearts Abroad, Lilly’s signature employee engagement program, invites 100 employees a year to volunteer, on company time, for two weeks in 10 different countries around the world. Volunteers work in communities where people lack access to basic resources, including quality healthcare.
Lilly offers its workforce competitive compensation and benefits packages, and provides a wide variety of opportunities for personal growth. Programs and activities are offered to build leadership skills. “Our long-term responsibility is to ensure Lilly has a talent pipeline for the future,” notes John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., Lilly Chairman and CEO. “Just as we work diligently to advance our drug pipeline, we need to do the same for our people pipeline.”
Employees also join together in a single, coordinated effort to improve their communities during Lilly’s Global Day of Service, with some 24,000 Lilly employees participating last year. “I’m so proud of this tradition, and of our Lilly people who devote their talent and energy to strengthening the communities around the world where we live and work,” says Lechleiter. “On this special day each year, Lilly volunteers come together to accomplish what would otherwise take months or years, and in doing so make life better for people in their communities.”

General Mills
“At General Mills, one of our goals is to stand among the most socially responsible food companies in the world. In pursuit of this goal, we work to earn the trust of our consumers, customers, employees and other key stakeholders every day.” says Ken Powell, the company’s Chairman and CEO.
Employees enjoy flexible schedules, growth opportunities, approachable managers and great perks. For example, those who work at the firm’s corporate headquarters can partake of an array of amenities and services designed to make life easier, including an infant care center, concierge, health clinic, fitness center, auto repair and several stores, as well as outdoor space for walking, running or cross-country skiing.

Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs, a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm, is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world.
The company’s Human Capital Management Strategy team focuses on a variety of strategic business and people-related needs, as well as facilitating global cooperation and coordination across the organization. The Goldman Sachs Rewards Team helps attract, motivate and retain people around the globe with highly competitive total reward packages.
Since 2008, the company has committed in excess of $1.6 billion to philanthropic initiatives. Programs include 10,000 Women, a five-year, $100 million global initiative to help grow local economies by providing 10,000 underserved female entrepreneurs with a business management education, access to mentors and networks and links to capital, and 10,000 Small Businesses, a $500 million investment to help small businesses create jobs and drive economic growth by providing entrepreneurs with a practical business education, the opportunity to access capital and business support services.    
        In addition, Goldman Sachs Gives is a donor-advised fund through which Goldman Sachs and its current and retired senior employees can recommend grants to qualifying nonprofit organizations around the world. Since 2010, more than 12,600 grants totaling $667 million have been awarded to over 3,000 charities in 35 countries.

When it comes to employee engagement, Google gets it. The company’s focus on its employees is legendary. Google’s offices and cafes are designed to encourage interaction between “Googlers” within and across teams, and to spark conversation about work as play.
Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California – better known as the Googleplex – is emblematic of the organization’s focus on the people who work in more than 70 offices in over 40 countries. Though no two Google offices are the same, visitors to any office can expect to find a few common features: murals and decorations expressing local personality; Googlers sharing cubes, yurts and “huddles;” video games, pool tables and pianos; cafes and “microkitchens” stocked with healthy food; and good old fashioned whiteboards for spur-of-the-moment brainstorming.
All of these perks weren’t implemented haphazardly. A People Analytics Team was created to pinpoint what makes employee happy. Google’s human resources department is even called People Operations, though most shorten it to POPS.

Over the past several years, Hershey has made substantial progress in environmental sustainability and has also been a top-tier performer in workplace safety. Significant employee well-being programs and other employee engagement efforts are in place that help create a superior employee value proposition.
“Doing the right thing for society and our communities has been embedded in the culture of our company since its founding more than 120 years ago,” says President and CEO J.P. Bilbrey. “It has been humbling to see our employees living the century-old truth of ‘doing well by doing good.’ That passion is reflected in the results of our many efforts to bring goodness to the world in how we operate our business and how we give back to those in need.”   
This year, more than 1,700 Hershey employees across five countries participated in Good to Give Back Week, Hershey’s global week of volunteerism. Participants have the opportunity to make a meaningful difference through social projects that have a track record of making positive, measurable impact in the community. In its second year, the number of Hershey employees who participated in the program has increased fivefold.
Hershey also integrates corporate social responsibility (CSR) into its business strategies through its focus on Shared Goodness, helping children and their communities around the world achieve a better life and bright future.

Intel is a world leader in computing innovation. Intel employees are encouraged to find ways to innovate sustainability in their jobs and are recognized through the Intel Environment Excellence Awards. Since 2008, Intel has linked a portion of every employee’s variable compensation – from front-line employees to the CEO – to the achievement of environmental sustainability metrics.
“Embedding corporate responsibility into our vision, strategy and management systems creates value for us, as well as our stockholders, customers and our global communities,” says Michael Jacobson, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Intel.
Corporate responsibility and sustainability are also deeply integrated into Intel’s reporting approach, its management practices and how it approaches value creation. Intel technology has been positively transforming the way people live, work, and play for over four decades. However, a few years ago the company adopted a new vision: “To create and extend computing technology to connect and enrich the life of every person on Earth.” In support of this vision, Intel has been developing technology solutions that not only benefit its business in the long term, but also create shared value for society – from its initiatives to transform education and expand economic opportunities for girls and women to its work on sustainable and more energy-efficient cities and healthcare innovation.

Johnson & Johnson
New Brunswick, NJ-based Johnson & Johnson embraces employee engagement. To assess engagement, the company administers an anonymous 28-question survey to all employees every other year. Questions include:

  • Do you imagine yourself working at this job 12 months from now?
  • Do you feel proud to say you work at this company?
  • Would you refer a friend to work at this company?

The company also offers programs that help employees be successful in everyday life – elder care programs, onsite day care, flexible time and space, onsite fitness centers and medical departments. There’s also a focus on volunteerism. After matching employees with a local group that needs help, employee teams spend a few hours (or even become ongoing volunteers), donating their time and skills to a particular cause.
Johnson & Johnson owns LGE Performance Systems, Inc., known as Human Performance Institute, which develops science-based training programs to improve employee engagement and productivity. Grounded in the sciences of performance psychology, exercise physiology and nutrition, it teaches employees to manage and maximize their energy so they can perform their best.

Marathon Petroleum Corporation
Marathon Petroleum Corporation promotes an environment of inclusion and respect that enhances both individual and team performance. Continuing opportunities for training and education are provided and encouraged for employees at all levels. New employees are required to take two training courses during their first few months of employment that give them a solid grounding in the importance of diversity and inclusion at MPC. Other optional training is centered around topics such as diversity awareness and skills, team building and diversity dimensions such as generational differences.
The opportunity to participate in MPC’s mentoring programs helps to recruit and retain the best, and also contributes to professional and leadership development. Some programs pair new and experienced employees, while others offer job shadowing. The company also offers employees a comprehensive benefits package that includes domestic-partner benefits, flex-time, wellness reimbursement and more.
Marathon recognizes the value of a “culturally competent” workforce, where employees from all backgrounds can successfully work together. To that end, various educational opportunities and events concentrate on increasing cultural awareness and appreciation. Programs includes five recognized History and Heritage Months: Black History, Women’s History, Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage, Hispanic Heritage and American Indian and Alaskan Native Heritage.

Marriott International
Marriott International, based in Bethesda, MD, is one of the world’s leading hospitality firms, with more than 4,100 properties in 79 countries and territories. Founder J. Willard Marriott built the company on this simple philosophy: “Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of the guests.”
Marriott International’s “people-first” culture has consistently earned it awards and recognition around the globe. And giving its associates opportunities to grow and succeed is ingrained in the company’s DNA. Example: Spirit to Serve Our Communities Day is a Marriott tradition where thousands of employees participate in activities in their communities. All around the world, this annual day of service benefits local nonprofits, schools, parks, hospitals and veterans.
Marriott also conducts an associate engagement survey every year that has around a 95% participation rate. The survey focuses on areas like leadership, how happy employees are with their compensation and benefits, assessing their current position and direct supervisor, and how loyal they are to Marriott.

Medtronic, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is a global healthcare solutions company with more 85,000 employees operating in more than 160 companies worldwide. Medtronic Traits – nine specific behaviors, skills and capabilities that create a strong organizational culture – allow the company to execute more effectively at a global level and increase its competitive advantage. The Medtronic Traits are aligned with the Medtronic Mission, focused on global growth, and are integrated into all Medtronic employee practices, including the interview process, performance acceleration, development, promotion and rewards & recognition.
The company also utilizes an annual global employee engagement survey that helps ensure things stay on track., and its health and wellness program, Total Health, proactively addresses preventable employee risk factors, including poor diet, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and lack of exercise. These efforts also improve employee productivity, reduce absenteeism and save the company millions of dollars in healthcare costs annually. And Medtronic’s Global Wellness Challenge inspires its employees worldwide to participate in an eight-week challenge focused on exercise and weight loss.

The legendary “Nordstrom Way” encourages a service-focused culture and empowers employees to go above and beyond. The company’s famous 75-word Employee Handbook contains only one rule: “Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.” Nordstrom believes that employees who are empowered to make decisions feel more satisfied, which leads to higher engagement and better interactions with customers.
“At Nordstrom, we’re focused on providing our customers with the best possible service and ensuring they have a great experience every time they choose to shop with us,” explains Nordstrom spokesperson Tara Darrow. “Our goal is to make people feel good – that includes the people who shop with us, work with us and live in the communities where we do business.”
Nordstrom’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs follow a similar simple philosophy: Leave it better than you found it. “Giving back to the communities where we live and work is part of who we are as a company,” notes Terri Baldwin, Director of Charitable Giving at Nordstrom. “We want to build a strong relationship with the community, which is why we spend a great deal of time meeting with local nonprofits to learn about the community’s most pressing needs before carefully choosing the organizations we think can have the greatest positive impact.”

Music licensing company PPL puts its workforce at the heart of its operation. The organization is responsible for licensing the use of recorded music for broadcast, online and public performance (in shops, bars, restaurants, etc.) on behalf of its 75,000 members, consisting of record companies and performers.
Employing nearly 300 staffers and working with a membership of over 90,000, employee and customer satisfaction are equally regarded as crucial components of PPL’s business strategy. The company focuses on what it calls “side-to-side communications.” In a nutshell, a representative from each of the teams in PPL’s Member Services department looks after the needs of performer and record company members. They then meet internally on a bi-weekly basis and share news from their teams, after which they go back to their own teams and share what they’ve learned from the others. As a result, employees feel like they know more about what’s going on, and the feedback allows PPL to do “temperature checks” of the staff without having to do a formal employee survey. This helps employees feel more empowered, as they’re involved in the initial planning phases to make sure that the program will actually be useful for them and to customers.

Principal Financial Group
A “Coach Approach” culture prevails at the Principal Financial Group, which has earned numerous other accolades, from a “Best Place to Work in Money Management” award from Pensions & Investments’ annual survey to being named one of Working Mother magazine’s “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers” to United Way of America’s Spirit of America Award for corporate community involvement.
“A coaching culture is expected at all levels throughout the organization,” explains Kathleen Souhrada, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources. “This approach has resulted in engaged employees taking it upon themselves to find solutions and be more proactive, [and] our high employee engagement drives tangible results in performance, productivity, higher retention and an increased willingness of employees to give discretionary effort.”
Employee opinion surveys are important at the company, and include an engagement index as well as a leadership index. Corporate social responsibility is also a key focus, and benefits include time off for volunteering, compressed workweeks and remote offices.
The Principal Financial Group is also big on culture – both corporate culture and culture with a capital “C.” The artwork collection in its corporate headquarters features more than 700 works by established and emerging artists, and employee perks include an on-site child development center, mother’s rooms, an employee financial center, game room, meditation room, recreation area, dry cleaner, pharmacy and state-of-the-art wellness facility.  
 Southwest Airlines
“Other airlines can duplicate our operating practices, our business model, our pricing, or any other facet of Southwest – but they can’t duplicate our people,” explains Melanie Jones, Senior Manager of Corporate Communication at Southwest.
Creating, enhancing, enriching and preserving Southwest’s spirit and culture is the domain of the company’s Culture Services Department. And its focus on engagement is such that Southwest even has a Senior Director of Employee Engagement & Travel and a Manager of Employee Engagement on its executive staff.
Southwest’s formal employee engagement strategy is multi-faceted and includes an employee engagement survey every two years (with results broadly shared and solutions sought for low performing areas), networking opportunities such as spirit parties, multiple recognition and rewards programs, a companywide culture committee and local culture committees in each city, culture ambassadors who are assigned to each work group and an annual opportunity to attend a rally that combines a message from the CEO and a celebration. This is in addition to many informal programs in individual departments that recognize, reward and engage employees at a variety of levels.
The company measures the link between people, performance and profits, referring to this link as one of its core philosophies. “If we treat our people right, they will offer our customers the best in hospitality, and that in turn means we will have excellent financial returns, which means our shareholders are happy,” says Jones. Employees are rewarded with profit sharing every year – last year employees shared in $355 million in profits.  

Union Pacific
Union Pacific Railroad is the principal operating company of Union Pacific Corporation. One of America’s most recognized companies, Union Pacific Railroad connects 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country by rail, providing a critical link in the global supply chain.
The company’s employee environmental stewardship program carries the theme “Caring for the Environment: My Company, My Work, My Life.” The program provides training and tools to apply stewardship on the job and at home. The initiative includes regular communication, a website with data and educational materials, and an easy way to share suggestions and success stories.
At the heart of the program is ensuring employees know their ideas are valued. Employees have submitted more than 3,200 suggestions as part of this initiative, and the company follows each suggestion to completion. About 40% of the suggestions have resulted in changes, including waste reduction programs, new recycling capabilities and greater education across the employee base.

United Parcel Service
“If you want to nurture genuine employee engagement, it has to be less top-down and a lot more bottom up,” says Alexi Carli, Global Health and Safety Manager at UPS, one of the largest shipment and logistics companies in the world. “Management needs to provide support and an overall framework, as well as set expectations. But real employee creativity comes when you loosen the reins,” she adds.
UPS has clear procedures and strict targets for reducing injuries and vehicle accidents at work, and its 3,300 health and safety committees all have management and non-management employees as co-chairs. The remaining members, approximately 4-20 people, are all operational employees. Such an approach not only gives a sense of employee ownership, but also provides the company with a ready network of peer-to-peer advocates. “When you give employees the latitude to act, and when they see that those actions have value and are making a difference, that will make them want to do more,” says Carli.
As for external engagement, a Sustainability Ambassador program was created to harness the passion of UPS employees who want to make a difference at work, enabling more than 4,500 employees around the world to participate in environmental and community volunteer activities.

Earn Big $ In EEA Referral Program
Enterprise Engagement Resources
Committed to Stakeholder Capitalism   Refer, Rate, Suggest & Earn
Engagement Solutions


Incentco: The No. 1 Suite of Engagement Technologies.

HMI: Business-to-business incentive solutions


Catalyst Performance Group





Fire Light Group

Luxe Incentives


Incentive Team