They treat people fairly. They pay people decently and give them good benefits, including not only decent healthcare but other even rarer essentials, like paid parental leave. And they use lay-offs as a last resort.
• They help employees with their careers and understand that not all careers are built the same. They have strong training programs, reimburse tuition for education outside of work, have active, well-thought out platforms for mentoring—especially for women and minorities—and provide pathways for non-traditional career paths.
• They understand that people have lives outside of work, and that these lives might sometimes impinge on (or even take over) their time and attention. They realize that allowing for some work-life give and take means not only that they won’t waste time and money on unnecessary turnover, but that they’ll build loyalty and commitment. They know it’s give and take, not give or take.
• They see fun, humor and relaxation not as the enemies of hard work, but as its allies.
• They have a purpose — a mission — that everyone understands. Even better, every employee can tell you the role he or she plays in achieving that purpose.