I was at a Marriott hotel in Orlando earlier this year, attending a conference, and when it came time to go out for dinner I called an Uber car. The driver was a woman I’d guess was in her 50s, and she mentioned that she used to work for Marriott. She’d been in a staff job at one of its offices. A few years ago she took a leave of absence, and when she eventually called the office to arrange her return, she was told her old job no longer existed, and they didn’t have a place for her. I braced for a tirade against Marriott. But what I heard was just the opposite.
“That is a great company,” she said. “It’s a great place to work. I have the highest respect for them.”
And that, I thought, is a well-led business. You can’t always make everyone happy, but you can do a lot to earn people’s respect. You’ll be glad you did.
I mention this because Marriott is No. 81 on Fortune’s first annual ranking of the 100 Best Workplaces for Women, released yesterday. It’s also on our ranking of the 100 Best Companies to Work For (No. 53), its 18th appearance on that list. The larger point is that, beyond a company’s rank, its mere appearance on these lists tells us something important about its leadership, more than many readers may realize.
That’s because these two rankings are not like the Fortune 500 or Global 500. For those lists we scour the world to find every company that might be eligible, and if a company isn’t publicly traded, we take pains to obtain its audited financial results. But we can’t do that with rankings of great workplaces because we need each company’s cooperation in order to get the information we need. For this new list our partners at Great Place to Work surveyed 135,689 employees at 637 companies. That is, companies must want to be on these lists, or at least want to know where they stand, even to be considered.
It turns out that many of the companies on our new ranking of Best Workplaces for Women are also on our long-running list of Best Companies to Work For – besides Marriott, I note Acuity, SAS Institute, Edward Jones, Wegmans Food Market, and Camden Property Trust just among the top ten in the 100 Best. All the employers on these lists are focused on being great places to work for everybody. They understand that human capital is their only source of sustainable competitive advantage, and that means they’ve gone beyond having a good leader at the top; they understand leadership organizationally.
Sometimes that was built into the culture many decades ago, as at Marriott. The company was led for 85 years by just two CEOs, founder J. Willard Marriott and his son, Bill Marriott. Bill became executive chairman in 2012, when Arne Sorenson became CEO. But the Best Workplaces for Women also include small, young companies like No. 2 Squaremouth, a financial services firm in St. Petersburg, Florida, that’s only nine years old.
Any company can grasp the value of good leadership if it wants to. Our newest ranking is a list of 100 companies that actually do so.
What We’re Reading Today
Twitter set to name Jack Dorsey permanent CEO
The announcement, expected today, would be the conclusion of a circuitous route for Dorsey. Twitter fired him in 2008. He then built payment processor Square into a multi-billion-dollar “unicorn” valued company and then rejoined Twitter as executive chairman in 2010. To make the remarkable comeback complete, he looked to another CEO that famously returned to the company he founded after getting fired: Apple’s Steve Jobs. Re/code
Hillary Clinton tries to hold off a Biden run
In an about-face within the Clinton campaign, her team now believes Vice President Joe Biden could make a presidential bid. Hillary‘s increasing her efforts to commit undecided delegates, mirroring his public appearances, and even bringing up his name, unprompted, at campaign stops in an effort to stem the impact if Biden does enter the race. NYT
Questions raised over Putin’s airstrikes
US officials are concerned that Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s airstrikes in Syria to ward off ISIS have actually targeted other groups, including some trained by the U.S. The news increases speculation by American officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, that Putin may be doing this to bolster Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. and Russia will hold military discussions today to prevent disputes in the area. Reuters
Fiat Chrysler workers reject union deal
It’s the first United Auto Workers tentative national labor contract to be rejected in 30 years. The vote is a setback not only for Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, since he will have to return to the negotiating table, but also for UAW national president Dennis Williams, who promoted the deal to his members. MarketWatch
Building a Better Leader
Ever wonder what Google employees complain about? Their gripes offer some insight, if you can call everyone being “overqualified” a complaint. Inc.
United Continental CEO starts job with an apology
But Oscar Munoz didn’t apologize about the federal probe into United’s relationship with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Instead, he spoke about the rocky start to the marriage between United and Continental, which merged in 2010. WSJ
One of the biggest challenges for VC-backed firms?
Not burning through funds too fast. Money
Ralph Lauren still has control
The founder of the clothing company reiterated in a memo to staff that he still makes the decisions as chairman and chief creative officer. His pronouncement comes one day after announcing Stefan Larsson will become CEO in November. Buzzfeed
Walmart to cut 500 corporate jobs
CEO Doug McMillon hinted at the move last month. With billions spent on e-commerce and wage hikes for on-the-ground employees, the corporate cuts are an effort to contain operating costs. Fortune
Goldman Sachs No. 2 steps up
With Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein slowing down to fight a curable form of lymphoma, President Gary Cohn will fill in when needed. Cohn has gone through a makeover from when he first joined Goldman as a brusque, inexperienced leader. Blankfein’s deputy is now among the most respected executives on Wall Street. WSJ
Up or Out
Italy’s largest bank, UniCredit, has appointed Bernardo Mingrone its new CFO. Reuters
Sean Atkins has been named president of Viacom’s MTV division. He will replace the departing Stephen Friedman. NYT
Fortune Reads and Videos
Google, Microsoft bury the hatchet
The two companies will end all patent litigation against each other. Fortune
French Uber execs’ trial delayed
The allegations that the two executives operated illegally in France will return to court in February; Uber lawyers argued they needed more time. Fortune
Yelp for people is coming
But who really wants their ex rating them online? Fortune
The market needs to jump 15%…
…by the end of the year to avoid the worst yearly performance since the financial crisis. Fortune
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|Produced by Ryan Derousseau|