The answer to the question is in a word, “People.”
Fortune magazine annually produces its list of “Most
Admired Companies.” In creating this listing, Fortune is
helped by the research conducted by the Hay Group.
In 2010, the Hay Group discovered that the primary factor
separating the admired companies from the rest of the pack
was that the admired companies actually believed and
practiced that old saying, “Our people are our most
Hay’s research showed that these companies focused on
making sure that employees felt engaged in their work.
This engagement factor, when tied into a long-term vision
of business, has helped these companies not only survive
the Great Recession but actually improve their competitive
HR CONTRARIAN POINTER: Numbers drive the business, but it
is people who drive the numbers. When companies lose
sight of this simple fact, they treat employees as
expenses to be controlled, rather than assets worthy of
As a final note, these Most Admired Companies did not just
launch their employee relations effort as a tactic to gain
a competitive advantage over the past 2 years. The fact
is that these companies practice this philosophy in good
and bad times.