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Leadership quality, motivated employees, stronger innovation - what the data tells us about the Best Workplaces™ in Switzerland

For over 30 years, Great Place to Work® has been collecting and analysing data to measure the workplace culture of organisations. This data allows us to gain exciting insights, conduct in-depth analysis and gather insights. As part of this year's Award Ceremony, we wanted to know how the Best Workplaces™  Switzerland 2021 stand out from the Swiss average. To do this, we took a closer look at data from over 16,000 people from a total of 45 organisations.

The Best Workplaces™ stand out from the Swiss average

A trust-based workplace culture does not emerge overnight. It requires constant work and development. A great employer knows how to create an environment in which employees can sustainably develop their potential, which ultimately leads to increased innovation and more value creation. The basis for this is above all a high degree of trust, achieved through lived values and leadership quality.

In the past year in particular, the leadership dimension has been a central aspect of Best Workplaces™, as our data analysis shows. In a representative survey of average Swiss employers, only 53% of employees agreed with a strong leadership quality. Great Place to Work® certified organisations, on the other hand, received 66% approval, Best Workplaces™ even 81%.

Given the ongoing pandemic, it is quite understandable that Best Workplaces™ stood out last year, especially in terms of leadership quality. After all, accessibility and transparent communication, as well as personal appreciation, provide support and security in these uncertain times and thus create trust.

For example, the statement "Managers are easy to contact and uncomplicated to talk to" received 84% approval among Best Workplaces™. Likewise in the area of personal appreciation by managers, where 79% agreed with the statement "Managers show sincere interest in me as a person and not just as a worker". That is 30% higher than the Swiss average!

The Best Workplaces™ also show a higher level of innovation. This is because a trust-based workplace culture, coupled with strong leadership, leads to more room for innovation. On average, 81% of employees in Best Workplaces™ feel that they have room for development and innovation. In Great Place to Work™ certified organisations, this percentage is around 10% lower.

The chart below shows that the Best Workplaces™ in Switzerland 2021 excel in all dimensions compared to the Swiss average. There is also a difference to Great Place to Work® certified organisations, which are already highly ranked in the employee survey.

EN TI Spider3x

Investing in workplace culture pays off for employees and organisations alike

As part of our analysis, we ask about the general work satisfaction of the employees. Interestingly, while the average in Switzerland is 65%, it is around 89% in the Best Workplaces™ 2021. A high level of work satisfaction means that employees are happy and motivated to come to work.This also results in various advantages from the perspective of the organisations.

For example, let's look at the absence volume of this year's Best Workplaces™. This is the amount of time a person should normally spend at work but was prevented from doing so due to accident, illness or other reasons for absence.

While we observe an average absence rate of around 4% for organisations with a Trust Index™ of 70%, this is consistently lower on average for organisations with a higher Trust Index™. For example, with a Trust Index™ of 80%, the absence rate is only 3% on average; if the Trust Index™ rises to 90%, the absence rate falls by a further percentage point to 2%.

We assume that an outstanding workplace culture is related to lower absenteeism and contributes to a mentally and physically healthy work environment.

EN TI x Absence Rate

The so-called churn rate is another important indicator that points to the significance of a trust-based workplace culture. Indeed, the churn rate for Best Workplaces™ 2021 is on average 3.9% lower than that of their respective industry. The benefit of a low churn rate for organisations comes on the one hand from lower recruitment and hiring costs. On the other hand, low turnover is also necessary for building trust within the team. Low turnover allows trust between team members to be further developed and strengthened over time.

EN Churn rate by industry

Bonus Material: The way to the top

We can use our data not only to show how the Best Workplaces™ compare to the Swiss average. Using a machine-learning technique, we have also succeeded in identifying 3 components that the top 15% of the Best Workplaces™ Switzerland 2021 all have in common.

Would you like to find out what steps it takes to get a place "on top of the ranking"? Read the article by our data specialist Cédric Lüthi on the role of authenticity, balance and empowerment.


How Covid has affected workplace culture

Due to the uncertainty following the pandemic, the last year in particular was a great challenge for many organisations. Home office obligation was introduced, processes had to work digitally as quickly as possible and communication took place almost exclusively virtually.

These adjustments are also reflected in the results of the employee survey: normally, the answers vary only slightly from year to year. However, the extraordinary situation of the pandemic strongly influences the workplace culture of all organisations, as a comparison of the responses of the Best Workplaces™ employee surveys of 2018-2020 with those of 2021 shows.


On one hand, social factors such as celebrating successes together are no longer possible to the same extent. Especially for organisations with a strong focus on togetherness, this circumstance is challenging. (- 7%, see chart question 1)

Furthermore, transparency with regard to working methods and communication within the team is reduced. The perception of willingness to cooperate and commitment of work colleagues has slightly decreased in the past year even among the best employers. (- 4%, see chart questions 2-5).

Now that easing measures have been announced, some normality is slowly returning. At the same time, organisations are now facing new challenges. Michael Hermann, consultant and co-owner of Great Place to Work® Switzerland, sums up the future challenges:

«In many cases, employees have worked harder than in normal times, even in the home office. In the coming months, it will be important for all organisations to rebuild the sense of community, show appreciation for the effort and find flexible ways of working together to be attractive as an employer.»

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