5th best small business 2016DISHER was recently named the 5th Best Small Workplace in America by Great Place to Work (GPTW) and FORTUNE. For DISHER, the award is a wonderful byproduct of our intentional investment in culture as the foundation of our success as a business. I am confident that our Founder and President, Jeff Disher, could write a book about why DISHER grew from one person to one of the best companies to work for in America. Perhaps someday he will! As an internal leader of DISHER’s internal “Attract and Retain” team, I have an inside view at how DISHER works hard every day to not only maintain the current culture but improve it.

For the purpose of this blog, I’d like to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how the application process for this GPTW award actually unfolds. Maybe your company will make the Top 50 next year! There are two parts to the application process:  the Trust Index Survey and the Culture Audit. The Trust Index Survey is a comprehensive questionnaire sent to every employee. Employees anonymously answer a series of questions rating the company in five main areas: Credibility (of management), Respect, Fairness, Pride, and Camaraderie. I am proud to say that DISHER scored 100% in many of the categories and 99% of team members said it was a great place to work.

5th Best Small Business Results 2016

The Culture Audit gets into the nitty gritty details of what your company offers. These are the tangible items such as:  does your company offer a flexible work schedule, or what percentage of medical premiums are covered by the company? In total, the Culture Audit contains several hundred questions, and per GPTW, the average company spends 100+ hours on it. Luckily for me, we have a ton of awesome people at DISHER who helped track down answers.

After completing and submitting the Trust Index Survey and the Culture Audit, we waited. Six months later, we received the email we were hoping for— we were a finalist! In mid-October, two of us attended a 2-day GPTW Conference in Austin, Texas where the final Top 50 Small and Medium-sized finalists were revealed.

The first day of the conference included off-site visits to local Top 50 companies. I spent the day at Square Root’s headquarters where I definitely got the feeling that their employees loved working there. Square Root does a great job keeping their growing team connected through frequent cross-team lunches and team-building events. The second day was a series of keynote speakers and breakout sessions focused on company culture. Since it was the Small and Medium Business conference, dealing with growth was a consistent theme. I found the breakout session on trust and how managers display it particularly useful as a coach. After the speakers was the awards ceremony. The attendees reconvened at the Texas History Museum for a fun night of food, laughter, and of course— the big reveal. It was quite an honor to go on stage with Keri McCarthy and accept the award for 5th Best on behalf of the DISHER team!

great places to work gala 2016

We are humbled by the award as we recognize that there are thousands of great companies doing thousands of great things all across our nation. It is now our responsibility to grow the DISHER culture with what we have learned from others. There is always room for improvement. While we are very proud of what the DISHER team has accomplished already, we are excited to see what we can do tomorrow to Make a Positive Difference.

Written By: Brian LaFrence – Product Development Engineer |
Brian has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and is currently pursuing an MBA from Western Michigan University. As a Product Development Engineer, he specializes in bringing products to launch and supporting current production products. He is a big sports fan and is involved with youth sports programs through officiating.