Find out how Delta employees learned to love a notoriously tough workplace
Photo: Drew Angerer—Getty Images

Trust, listen - and share

By Alan Murray
March 10, 2017

Good morning.

How do you get on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list? It starts with heart, says Mike DeFrino, CEO of Kimpton Hotels. “We believe strongly that if our employees are loved and embraced and feel safe and secure, then they are going to treat our guests the same way.” Transparency is also important, says Julie Sweet, the CEO of Accenture North America. “Transparency leads to trust.” And listening to employees is critical, says Anthony McBride, who runs human resources at Edward Jones.

Those were some of the takeaways from our event last night celebrating the 20th edition of the list, which you can find here. One of the surprises of this year’s list was the appearance, for the first time, of Delta Air Lines. If you spend much time traveling, you have to have wondered, as I have, whether there could be a worse job than having to explain flight cancellations to a crowd of angry travelers, or dealing with drunk passengers on a long flight. But it turns out Delta employees don’t just tolerate it, they love it. Part of the reason is a generous profit-sharing plan. Last month, the company handed out more than $1 billion in bonuses—which amounted to 10% of the company’s pretax earnings. You can read more about how Delta wins over its employees here.

 

Separately, two chieftains of the food world stopped by my office at separate times yesterday—Mondelez CEO Irene Rosenfeld and Ingredion CEO Ilene Gordon. Both talked about how rapidly food tastes are changing, and how trends that started in the developed world—fresh, natural, non-GMO, gluten-free ingredients—are starting to spread to emerging markets as well. “The Internet is an equalizing force,” said Rosenfeld. “Ideas are moving far more rapidly from one part of the world to another.” Gordon agrees. Her company makes gluten-free and GMO-free ingredients and artificial sweeteners for food companies, and she says “the trends are accelerating.” When she became CEO of Ingredion eight years ago, high-fructose corn syrup accounted for 25% of the company’s sales; today it’s only 10%. (By the way, if you missed Beth Kowitt’s story on the search for the perfect sweetener, you should read it now, here.)

News below. Enjoy the weekend. And at some point, take time to read Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter’s fascinating and fresh take on why the U.S. political system is broken.

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