Great Place to Work® Conference features Robin keynote

Dr. Jennifer Robin

August 5, 2011

By Ivy Hillman '12

Business Management and Administration instructor Valerie Vogt Pape is always eager to learn more. As part of that quest, she attended a conference called “Great Place to Work®” in Denver, Colo., last spring.

“The conference included keynote speeches, breakout sessions, and workshops,” Pape said.

Bradley Assistant Professor Dr. Jennifer Robin was a keynote speaker at the event, along with Michael Burchell, Ed.D. They highlighted the research from their new book “The Great Workplace.

“Other keynote speakers were Tony Hsieh of zappos.com, and executives from SAS, Mercedes-Benz USA, and Build-A-Bear Workshop,” Pape said.

The breakout sessions consisted of small group presentations.

“During these, I was exposed to best practices in the areas of organizational culture, talent management and training and development. The presentations were led by executives from a variety of industries,” Pape said.

The workshops emphasized small group discussion, sharing of advice and networking.

“One workshop I attended allowed me to discuss strategic human resource management with top-level HR executives,” Pape said. “One of the main themes of the conference was the importance of culture to overall organizational performance.”

What makes a great workplace is a combination of elements: trust, pride and camaraderie. Employees and managers must be able to trust each other, while employees must have pride in the job that they are doing and good relationships with those they are working with. These “Dimensions of a Great Place to Work®” emphasize not so much what great companies do but how they do it.

So, which are the best companies to work for? Software firm SAS, Boston Consulting Group, Wegman’s Food Markets, Google, and Netapp – a data-storage firm – are a few examples.

“This conference will not only help me become a better teacher by introducing cutting-edge training techniques, but it has provided me with relevant examples to use in the classroom,” Pape said.