Ireland: a great place to work
The workplace initiative has helped attract multinationals
Ireland has long held its own in attracting multinational companies to set up here. One key to its success is its reputation as a great place to live and work.
With a young, highly educated workforce and some of the best working conditions going, it’s not surprising that both employers and employees consider Ireland to be an attractive location.
Nonetheless, it’s a crowded market out there and we’re not the only country fighting for investment, which is why Irish subsidiaries continually need to show that any money invested here is worthwhile.
Over the years, the Great Place to Work (GPTW) initiative has played its part in helping to promote the country as a destination of choice for international companies. According to Cathal Divilly, managing director of Great Place to Work, local divisions of these corporates are now using Great Place as a way to highlight the impressive work they are doing.
“More and more we’re seeing that Irish subsidiaries of big multinational companies are being invited to speak at global get-togethers on how to build trust and engagement, and on how Great Place to Work has helped drive improvements,” he says.
“Great Place to Work is helping local divisions of some of the largest companies stand out by creating a talking point. Genzyme is a great example of this. As part of a bigger organisation, it is battling with other divisions around the world to win investment and is continually succeeding.
“Its success in our programme is helping them to win a lot of investment for Waterford because they are considered to be doing a great job in terms of building trust and promoting a good workplace culture,” Divilly adds.
Genzyme, which has been named this year’s winner of the large workplace category by Great Place to Work Ireland, has operated as a biopharmaceutical campus in Waterford since 2001 and has been part of Sanofi since 2011. Genzyme products developed in Ireland are supplied to patients in more than 70 countries. Two years ago, Sanofi announced a €44 million investment in the Waterford facility, a move that brought the headcount close to 500 employees.
Bolster its reputation
The company’s head of human resources Gavin O’Brien says Genzyme uses its participation in Great Place to Work to help bolster its reputation. “It’s a very useful vehicle for us because it is very well recognised and is evidence of a company having achieved a certain benchmark in terms of its people practices,” he says.
“It’s good to see how we measure up against our rivals here in Ireland but also because we are part of a larger organisation, our corporation looks at performance indicators and people measures when making decisions around investment, new products and so on. Partly as a result of our high level of performance in Great Place to Work, we’re winning more than our fair share of investment.”
Divilly notes that many companies are also using their participation in the initiative for recruitment and retention purposes. “Being able to showcase the Irish arm as being a great workplace and having this independently validated will certainly help in getting the talent you want,” he says.
This is certainly the case for EMC, which employs 3,000 people in Ireland and has its centre of excellence in Cork. More than 44 nationalities speaking over 25 languages work across the company’s 32 business units here. The company’s vice-president and managing director of the centre of excellence Bob Savage highlights how the Great Place initiative was of huge importance to the organisation. “EMC has always been known for its great people, its great possibilities and for being an all-round great place to work – our relationship with Great Place to Work has allowed us to continually improve and remain on top of our game,” he says.
“The model encourages organisations to do more across all dimensions including listening, respect, celebrating success and encouraging feedback. It allows you to reflect on your organisation’s practices and ‘test’ how relevant, engaging and ultimately successful these are. Furthermore, it allows you to benchmark yourself with top companies globally, as well as in Ireland,” Savage adds.
“At EMC, we view Great Place to Work as more than just an ‘event’: we view it as a process of continuously improving and driving innovative thinking.”