Fortune’s Top Workplace List—Four Dale Carnegie Principles at Work

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It’s common for people to contemplate what their dream job would be, but how about the workplace of their dreams?  Most likely benefits such as great health care; tuition reimbursement; the option to work a flexible schedule, and perks like gourmet coffee would top their lists. 


Every year, Fortune evaluates more than 1,000 companies based on over 232,000 employee surveys which address company culture, employee engagement, talent and other factors.  Great perks are what helped Google nab first place on this year’s Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list for the sixth straight year in a row.  The tech giant’s employees enjoy free gourmet food, haircuts, and laundry services; and benefits not limited to strong parental leave policies and diversity initiatives. 

When reading the rationales for organizations’ rankings and comments from some CEO’s, it’s easy to see how the application of many of Dale Carnegie’s Human Relations principles propels these companies’ success.  Here are a few examples.

‘Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely,’ is Mr. Carnegie’s 9th principle.  When asked what it takes to rank on this prestigious list, Mike DeFrino, CEO of #14 ranked Kimpton Hotels, said, “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.”  Employees typically model behavior they witness.  If you want them to provide outstanding service and make customers feel important, start by ensuring your employees know how important they are to your organization.

‘Appeal to nobler motives,’ the 19th principle, underscores the importance of acting with integrity and being transparent.  Transparency in business implies openness, communication, and accountability.  Julie Sweet, the CEO of #88 ranked Accenture North America commented that “Transparency leads to trust.”  When employees of every level of an organization act with accountability, they take great pride in their work and aren’t afraid to admit when they’ve made a mistake.  They are willing to take great risks, for example with product innovation, because they trust that should they initially fail, they won’t jeopardize respect or their jobs.

‘Be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves.’  Many companies survey employee satisfaction, especially those that have a formal review process—but what do they do with the information captured?  When they actually listen and address the feedback whether by merely responding or better yet, by initiating company-wide change, employees feel valued.  The head of Human Resources at #5 ranked Edward Jones, Anthony McBride stated, “And listening to employees is critical.” 

‘Arouse in the other person an eager want,’ is Mr. Carnegie’s 3rd principle.  I’ve often wondered how some airline employees handle disgruntled travelers so tactfully, so I was shocked to see Delta Airlines on the list for the very first time.  The company’s generous profit-sharing plan is the main reason that its employees don’t loathe their jobs, they love them.  The company paid out more than $1 billion in bonuses to its employees in February. 

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