“Talent must lead strategy.” That’s the message of a new book coming out next month from three titans of the business advisory world: McKinsey chief Dom Barton, Korn Ferry’s Dennis Carey, and author Ram Charan. In today’s rapidly changing business world, they argue, strategy can no longer be handed down in five-year plans from the C-suite. Instead, it involves people “sensing and seizing new opportunities in a rapidly changing environment.” And that gives the edge to companies with the best talent. Talent, the authors argue, is today’s key to business success.
That’s why the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list has become, over the last 20 years, our most popular franchise. It grabs the attention not only of people looking for jobs, but of companies eager to learn how to attract the best and brightest. The list is based on a thorough methodology, including an extensive employee survey, developed by Great Place to Work, that you can read about here. And companies know that securing a place on the list can help them win the battle for talent.
But enough with the buildup. This year’s top ten, out this morning:
3. Ultimate Software
4. The Boston Consulting Group
5. Edward Jones
6. Kimpton Hotels
9. Hyatt Hotels
You can see the full list of 100 here. Getting on the list is not just a matter of good pay and benefits—although that clearly helps. Kimley-Horn, for instance, provides an unheard of 2-1 match in its 401-k program; Wegmans gives generous scholarships to many of its young people.
It’s also about giving employees a sense of being truly valued, and a sense of purpose. Many of the employees of these companies talk about a “family” environment. Salesforce, which took the top spot for the first time this year, is known for its 1-1-1 pledge—it gives 1% of its equity, 1% of employees’ time, and 1% of its products to charity.
Also out this morning, Aaron Pressman’s fascinating story about T-Mobile CEO John Legere’s unique approach to attracting talent. Legere summarizes his management philosophy this way: “Listen to employees, listen to customers, shut the fuck up, and do what they tell you.” He doesn’t adhere too slavishly to that third point, but his method has brought him success. T-Mobile’s revenues have doubled in the five years since the brash and trash-talking CEO took the helm.
More news below.
South Africa’s New President
Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to be formally installed as South Africa’s new president today, following Jacob Zuma’s long-awaited resignation late yesterday (which automatically made Ramaphosa, as Zuma’s former deputy, the acting president). The big question now is whether Ramaphosa installs a new finance minister or keeps Malusi Gigaba, a Zuma pick, in the role. Fin24
U.S. Inflation Comeback
Consumer prices rose more than expected last month—a seasonally adjusted 0.349%—suggesting that the days of low inflation are fading. Bond yields were up on the news, but analysts said the inflation rise was manageable, and stocks don’t seem to have been hit just yet. Wall Street Journal
Soros’s Latest Moves
George Soros’s Soros Fund Management has become the third-largest shareholder in Overstock.com (which recently announced a move into cryptocurrency trading) and has also been getting rid of Facebook shares. Soros has been a notable voice on the recent tech-skeptic bandwagon, arguing that Google and Facebook deliberately engineer addiction. He’s also been one of those calling Bitcoin a bubble. CNBC
Snapchat’s latest big redesign is really, really unpopular. Remarkably, a million people have signed a petition calling on the company to roll back the change, which separates branded content—including that from celebrities and “influencers”—from regular people’s updates. Snapchat says the change was important in order to combat fake news, but users say the new app is difficult to use. BBC
Around the Water Cooler
The Financial Times has an in-depth report into Dyson’s plans for electric cars, the first generation of which will apparently include three models—but will only be manufactured in a relatively small run in the single-digit thousands. The idea there is to learn from experience and “establish a route to market, a supply chain and a potential customer base.” FT
“Polar Silk Road”
China’s eyebrow-raising assertion that it is a “near-Arctic state” with hopes to build a “Polar Silk Road” has alarmed Japan, which is less than keen on seeing more Chinese warships in nearby waters. As some have noted, China similarly said its interest in the South China Sea was primarily economic, and just look at the tensions that were created there. “They talk about the economic opportunities, and it is true this will increase trade and commerce, but every decision that Beijing takes is reached with the military in mind,” said international relations professor Yoichi Shimada. South China Morning Post
Israel’s police found that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had accepted nearly $300,000 in bribes, but he says he’s not going anywhere. Netanyahu is in a position of popular support, and here’s what he said about the investigators’ report: “I can say this is a slanted document, extreme, full of holes, like Swiss cheese, and holds no water.” New York Times
The gun debate is back again after a teenager killed at least 17 people in a Florida high school yesterday afternoon. The suspect, named as Nikolas Cruz, was reportedly expelled from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He is now in custody. The police say he had an AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle. The NRA-backed Florida Governor Rick Scott said: “There is a time to continue to have these conversations about how, through law enforcement, how through mental illness funding, to keep people safe, and we’ll continue to do that.” NBC News