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Great Place to Work programme helping firms improve work environments

‘Having that external benchmarking gave us better clarity on what we need to work on’

Great Place to Work certifies organisations that excel in creating, supporting and delivering a high-trust work environment. Photograph: iStock

Great Place to Work certifies organisations that excel in creating, supporting and delivering a high-trust work environment. Photograph: iStock


The Great Place to Work Certification Programme is a three-year framework designed to build and sustain a high-performance culture in organisations. Through the programme, Great Place to Work certifies organisations that excel in creating, supporting and delivering a high-trust work environment. The programme also provides a mechanism for organisations to leverage and develop their internal and external employer brand, which in turn helps them attract and retain key talent in an increasingly competitive labour market.

Roofing contractor Crown Roofing achieved certification in August 2019. “The programme aligned with our core values of integrity, honesty and caring for our people,” says chief operating officer Emma O’Gorman. “It allowed us to step back and see what we could do better. It was perfectly suited to the journey we were already on. We are always trying to make the company an even better place to work.”

Crown Roofing achieved certification in August 2019
Crown Roofing achieved certification in August 2019


The business was founded in 1993 by O’Gorman’s father Oliver and she and her brother Owen took over the business in 2009 after he passed away. “It was quite a small company at the time and has now grown to employ 200 or more at one time, including sub-contractors,” she says. “We also expanded into Europe. We have found a niche in the data centre sector and are now working for all of the top names in digital throughout Europe.”

Achieving certification took time and effort and comprised employee surveys and a culture audit. “It really wasn’t easy to get it,” says O’Gorman. “We had to explain to people the purpose of what we were doing and what it was all about. We had brilliant results in our last survey. We had to build up to that. We had to do a culture audit as well; how we care, how we listen, how we train people, how we give feedback. In addition, we had to do a lot of communication and workshops to explain that we really wanted it to be a great place to work.”

Mainstream Renewable Power is another company which has recently achieved certification. The world’s only independent developer of utility-scale wind and solar power assets, Mainstream has 270 employees based in 13 offices across five regions with a diverse team of 60 people working in its Dublin HQ.

“We have a great culture here at Mainstream, but we know there is always room for improvement,” says global head of human resources Elaine Quinlan. “For our current employees, we wanted to benchmark ourselves objectively against the best companies in the country. It has given us that external validation, pinpointing the things we do well, or better than others and the things we don’t do so well. Having that external benchmarking gives us better clarity on what we really need to work on.”


Mainstream went through the same two-stage process as Crown Roofing. “We decided from the outset that it would not be a HR-led initiative and a committee of volunteers from across our Dublin office came together to run the process,” Quinlan explains. “We found that approach worked well because it empowered everyone to help shape and improve the future of our working environment. The committee is looking on our weak areas and working together to come up with solutions to improve things; it really is a collaborative and open process.”

The benefits have been clear. “Employees are seeing the benefit of our involvement because the survey highlighted our damp spots and we are working together on coming up with solutions to address them. It has been a very productive process because people feel they are playing a direct role in shaping our workplace; helping come up with new policies, new ideas and it helps promote buy-in across the organisation because it’s not a HR initiative it’s a group initiative.”

It has also helped with recruitment. “The recognition we get from the accreditation gives us outside validation; it’s not just our employees who think we’re a great place to work, but a trusted global organisation thinks so too. It’s that globally recognised mark of quality that helps ensure we attract the best talent.”

Crown Roofing has seen similar outcomes. “Everyone here is so happy with the certification,” says O’Gorman. “They are delighted and proud that we have received this badge of honour. And the calibre of people applying for jobs with us has shot up – that’s been the most tangible benefit. Most of the other benefits have been intangible. There is a great sense of belonging here now. We had thought it was a great place to work and know we know it for sure. But we are constantly making improvements. We really appreciate the efforts of all of our employees who mucked in and helped us achieve the certification and helped make the company a great place to work.”

Great Place to Work certified companies

  • Novartis Integrated Services
  • Bewley’s Grafton Street
  • Osborne Recruitment
  • Mainstream Renewable Power
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb Cruiserath Biologics
  • Johnson & Perrott Motor Group
  • Takeda Dunboyne Biologics
  • FCM Travel Solutions
  • Walls to Workstations
  • Asana 
  • Trócaire
  • Version 1
  • Icon Accounting
  • Crown Roofing
  • Avantcard DAC
  • Capspire Ltd
  • eShopWorld
  • Stelfox
  • Tesco
  • Codex
  • Fáilte Ireland
  • AbbVie Ireland
  • Dropbox
  • Laya Healthcare
  • Ibec
  • Alcon Labs
  • Lotusworks
  • IRFU