What Landed These Companies on the “Most Admired” List

The results are finally in. The World’s Most Admired Companies (WMAC) of 2015 were recently announced by Fortune.

Each year, the magazine partners with Hay Group to research the coveted list of companies that redefine the management bar.

Hay Group looked into what makes these companies so great. The research identified six megatrends that will determine the future of employee engagement. Hay Group’s New Rules Of Employee Engagement Report suggests companies need to adopt qualities that align with these trends to retain talent and thrive in the future workforce.

The most admired companies don’t seem to have any trouble with this. They’re already exhibiting qualities that will continue to drive engagement from their most loyal fans: their employees.


Based on Hay Group’s findings, here are a few qualities the most admired companies possess and how they use them to drive engagement:

They’re global.

Unsurprisingly, Walt Disney tops the list of companies doing global business right, followed by Nestle and Apple. Eighty-six percent of WMAC respondents said their leaders are effectively managing a global perspective.

These companies enable meaningful collaboration. They establish company norms, values, and processes that are easy to follow and translate well to other cultures. They equip employees with the skills they need to succeed. Most importantly, engagement strategies are adaptable to local teams.

They support individuality.

We’ve moved into an age where most people have something in their life more important to them than work. Leaders will need to take note of employee’s individual needs and preferences like meaning, fulfillment, self-development, and work-life balance.

Take Google, for example. They’ve crafted a workplace reminiscent of a colorful playground to encourage employee creativity and freedom. Perks like free meals, nap pods, and hair salons help employees achieve better work-life balance.

They’re environmentally conscious.

Employees will increasingly become concerned with climate change and resource scarcity, Hay Group predicts. Businesses are already responding to the demand for sustainable initiatives, and that’s why companies like Whole Foods and Disney scored highest for community responsibility.

Whole Foods worked with suppliers in 2009 to reduce the use of plastic in their product packaging and encourage the switch to glass to make items recyclable. Not only that, Whole Foods supports local community suppliers, and engages in projects to support healthy eating and sustainable food growth. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that movement?

They embrace digital’s reign.

Digital technology increases productivity in nearly every area of life. It was only a matter of time before employees would demand the use of digital to make work more convenient.  Leaders need to have a flexible approach to where and when employees do work.

Several companies like Suncorp from Australia and New Zealand, for example, have implemented telecommuting to increase engagement and reduced likeliness that employees will leave. Suncorp allows employees who have longer than a 30-minute commute to work from home.

They embrace diversity.

The most admired companies understand how to foster procedures that enable a staff of diverse cultures and age groups to perform. The company culture centers on values important across generations, from Baby Boomers to Gen Z.

Not only did Walt Disney Company land a spot on the WMAC list, but also it was named one of Profiles In Diversity Journal’s Diversity Leaders of 2015.

“At Disney, we strive to include and attract individuals who reflect the diverse world in which we live,” said Paul Richardson, Walt Disney Company’s Chief Diversity Officer, in an interview published in the Disney Post. “We also seek to ensure that our workplace is inclusive and provides the opportunity for all of our people to contribute and develop to their full potential.”

They empower employees to make decisions.

Hay Group predicts advancements in science will accelerate the pace of change in product markets, placing high demands on employees and making it harder for teams to stay on the same page. Managers and employees will need to possess high levels of mutual trust to collaborate more efficiently.

At Netflix, employees have freedom not typically seen within corporate structures, so it’s no wonder it ranked No. 6 in the “most innovative” category of the WMAC list. They are empowered to make decisions as long as what they decide is in the Netflix’s “best interest.” For example, Netflix employees get unlimited vacation and have the power to expense things without first getting manager approval.

It’s not hard to see why we love these companies. Forward-thinking leadership successfully engages the companies’ most important audience first, its own employees. Then the love of the brand flows from the inside outward.

What’s your favorite company on the WMAC list? Why?

Author: Heather Huhman

Waldorf, Md.-based Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager and president of Come Recommended, a content-marketing and digital-PR consultancy for job-search and human-resources technologies. She is the author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle.

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