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Beanbags are good, trust is better

At the Great Place to Work Institute, we believe that any organisation can be a great workplace, and we certify and recognise those who are

Do you feel your organisation is a Great Place to Work?

Do you feel your organisation is a Great Place to Work? Photo: Getty Images


While there is sometimes a perception that great workplaces are filled with beanbags and complimentary pastries, we consider it more to do with a culture of pride, respect, camaraderie, fairness, and trust as experienced by employees. There is little value to decadent surroundings and sweet treats when the social and emotional environment of an organisation does not support positive and productive employee experience.

What do we mean by this? That question is best answered by sharing examples of organisations which have recently been certified as Great Workplaces in Ireland. As you will see, these organisations represent a variety of industries and sizes. Yet despite their differences, they all maintain the highest of quality standards, while placing the employee experience as paramount. Let’s begin our illustration with an undoubtedly familiar name.

Tayto Snacks

Giants of the savoury treat market, Tayto Snacks produce up to 2 million bags a day from close to 30 thousand tonnes of potatoes, turning the beloved Irish spud into iconic goodies. Their vision is to create moments of happiness for their customers through their snacks and their people. As Ireland's favourite crisps, their vision has most certainly been realised already. In addition to their products being certifiably delicious, we are delighted to certify Tayto Snacks as one of Ireland’s great workplaces.

Through our tried and tested methodology, we identified recognition as one of Tayto’s key strengths. Their people-first philosophy and unique thanking practices certainly resonate with their staff, with the majority surveyed indicating their efforts are consistently recognised by the organisation’s leadership. Let us break down one of their recognition practices, the excellent “TAG’ed” programme.

Linked to their values of “Thinking Responsibly, Acting Entrepreneurially and Growing Together”, this peer-to-peer recognition programme captures behaviours indicative of their unique culture. With each employee eligible for nomination by their peers, and a committee of staff determining the winners three times a year, this truly is an all-inclusive, employee-centric practice. A plaque for each nominee and winner adorns the main corridor of their Ashbourne site for all to see. It is programmes like this, replicable for any organisation, that ensure fairness in recognition, where a job well done never goes unnoticed.

Mainstream Renewable Power

Now for something a little different, we turn or attention to Mainstream Renewable Power, a global wind and solar development company based in Ireland. Set up by Eddie O’Connor in 2008, it has a powerful mission: To rid the world of CO2 and make it a sustainable place to live for generations to come. With a presence on every continent, this organisation places the community at the heart of what they do, working towards their vision of driving the once-off transition from fossil fuels to a world electrified by renewable energy.

Mainstream’s community-focused philosophy not only applies to their customers, but to their employees. They go to great lengths to foster a culture where their staff are united under their compelling mission statement, implementing a range of effective initiatives on a consistent basis. These inspiring practices have struck a chord with employees, with an overwhelming majority surveyed reporting a sense of pride in their daily roles, and the work of the organisation as a whole.

Rather than calling attention to a particular practice, we shall highlight Mainstream’s overarching approach to inspiring their employees. Every milestone reached, every award received, and every employee achievement is promoted across the organisation. This is accomplished through a variety of communication channels, both internal and external. Perhaps you may think it is their industry which lends itself to inspiration, and this is partly true. Yet all organisations have stakeholders which derive value from the work conducted. It is in connecting employees into this value which motivates and inspires continued effort.

Version 1

As our final example, we take a trip to Version 1, an organisation who have been involved in the Great Place to Work programme for quite some time. Founded in Ireland in 1996, Version 1 has grown to a 1,300-strong team across Ireland, the UK and India. They work closely with their technology partners to provide independent advice that helps their customers navigate the rapidly changing world of IT. No doubt this hard-working team have been busy supporting their clients as remote working has become more prevalent.

When surveyed, Version 1’s staff strongly agreed that they are given a lot of responsibility in their daily roles and that they have faith in the decisions made by leadership. The common thread here is trust, the cornerstone of the Great Place to Work framework. Version 1 operate an excellent performance review process, provide a clear career competency guide, and support development through a range of programmes. Having such a framework in place makes it easier to trust employees will work to the highest standards for their customers.

That trust, however, must work both ways, leaders must be seen to be credible for staff to rally around them. Version 1 has a track record of doing just that, consistently seeking suggestions and ideas from employees and, crucially, acting on these suggestions where they provide value to the organisation. It is a dynamic such as this that creates a culture of trust, with each employee knowing they can count on those around them to achieve the best possible outcomes.

To conclude, a great culture places its employees at centre stage, and while everyone likes creature comforts, these alone are unlikely to help organisations attract and retain the best talent. Each organisation discussed above has demonstrated a culture of pride, respect, camaraderie, fairness, and trust, this is why we are proud to certify them as Great Places to Work.

Do you feel your organisation is a Great Place to Work? Let’s make it official, get in touch with our team to start your certification journey today at 01 678 8438 or visit for more information.