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Employee Recognition

How to Build Amazing Company Culture and Become a Great Place to Work

Bucketlist Rewards is thrilled to share that we are Certified™ by Great Place to Work® (GPTW) for the second year in a row! We’re proud and humbled to receive this distinguished award, especially because the GPTW certification™ tells us how much our employees enjoy our company culture. 

We sat down with our very own People leader Katie Wray to find out what the Great Place to Work® Certification™ is all about, what it means for Bucketlist Rewards’ company culture, and how companies can achieve this certification too. 

About Great Place to Work® Certification™

If you’re wondering what Great Place to Work® Certification™ is, it’s a sought after award for companies wanting to distinguish themselves as an employer of choice. Since it’s the only certification based only on what employees say about their company culture and workplace experience, it is trusted by brands in more than 60 countries.

With Great Place To Work Certification®, organizations are more likely to land top talent and earn the best in their respective industries.

Nella Gonzalez, People Operations Manager, IDOC shares that ”90% of our new hires said that Great Place To Work Certification was the key deciding factor in selecting IDOC.”

In essence, Great Place To Work® helps organizations quantify their company culture and improve business results. 

How Bucketlist Rewards decided to become Great Place to Work® Certified™

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Katie shares, “We were looking for an employee survey to measure employee engagement and collect feedback from the team. The GPTW survey covered areas that were important to us.”

She continues, “The 5 dimensions measured in the survey are based on the GPTW Institute’s definition that ‘a great place to work’ is one where you ‘trust the people you work for, have pride in what you do, and enjoy the people you work with.’

Additionally, this certification is based solely on the feedback from employees, and not from a panel of judges.”

In case you were wondering, the five dimensions of employee survey statements are:

  • Credibility: The trustworthiness and competence of management.
  • Respect: Recognizing personal and professional worth and contribution.
  • Fairness: Equitable sharing of opportunities and rewards.
  • Pride: Value attached to one’s job and association with the company.
  • Camaraderie: Friendliness and sense of community 

These 5 dimensions illustrate to employees that your organization has earned credibility, respects employees, operates in a fair environment, and current employees feel a sense of belonging, pride, and camaraderie by being a part of your company. 

How to become Great Place to Work® Certified™

In general, these are 3 main steps to becoming Great Place to Work® Certified™:

  1. Employee survey: Your employees will receive a survey to complete. You can choose a two-week period to launch the survey.
  2. Culture brief: You’ll need to complete a short questionnaire about your company culture and workforce.
  3. Promote and celebrate: If you meet GPTW’s criteria and employee feedback benchmark, it’s time to celebrate! You’ll get a whole suite of branding and promotional tools, including a custom, royalty-free Certification badge for your recruiting efforts, a digital toolkit with social media assets, press materials and more, and an interactive Certified company profile on

Katie confirms that GTPW provides a whole host of support and walks you through the process of becoming Great Place to Work® Certified™: “GTPW provides communication templates and suggested timelines so you have an idea of how to communicate the survey to your team ahead of time. 

Once the survey launches, GPTW sends out reminder emails to employees who haven’t completed their survey.”

In the case of Bucketlist Rewards, Katie shared that “Internally, we also remind the team in our weekly Huddle and via Slack.”

GPTW also provides the results quickly—according to Katie, Bucketlist Rewards received the results within a week of the survey closing.”

Certification criteria and cost

If you’re wondering how GTPW determines if a company should be certified, the minimum average score is 65%. Companies also need a survey participation rate of 90% for the results to be credible. However, this minimum survey participation rate is based on company size—Bucketlist Rewards has under 50 employees.

As for cost, Katie shares, “There are 4 different packages to choose from, depending on the outcomes you’re looking for, how segmented you want the results, if you want benchmarking, and if you want someone from GPTW to present the finding and conduct coaching sessions to create action plans tailored to your organization.”

How Bucketlist Rewards has improved recruitment and employee retention with a Great Place to Work® Certification™

Kate explains that as a result of the GPTW survey, Bucketlist Rewards improved recruitment and employee retention by adding a mentorship program, home office allowance, and improvements to our benefits plan. This year, Bucketlist Rewards is focusing on the employee journey and professional growth, and providing more opportunities for our distributed team to be more social with each other.

Although we always felt like we had a strong workplace culture at Bucketlist, the data and feedback from the team were really rewarding and validating.

The first year we received the certification, we were pretty sure we’d score at least 65% to become certified. We were quite pleasantly surprised and excited when our overall average score came in at 96%!”

According to Katie, she really enjoyed the long answer questions because they allow employees to give specific feedback and comments. It’s a great way to gain valuable insight into what employees thought about the culture at Bucketlist Rewards.

“We know there is always room for improvement and we are constantly encouraging constructive feedback. The scores, benchmarking data, and feedback from the team really help us direct our efforts and focus. We are also able to use the results to set goals and see progress against those goals by comparing to next years’ results.”

How to maintain a Great Place to Work® Certification™

We asked Katie what she thought contributed to Bucketlist Rewards getting a Great Place to Work® Certification™ for 2 years. 

Here are a few things that we think are crucial for success and maintaining our GPTW certification: 

Mapping out the employee experience

At Bucketlist when people join our company they go through a journey, and expectations are largely set over the first 100 days. And first impressions matter. You need to plot out all the touchpoints and ensure you’re providing a great experience. And load it up with some surprises and delight. 

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Using our company vision to win the recruitment game

70% of employees say their purpose is defined by their work. That is a large number of people who derive their meaning and sense of worth by working for you

The vast majority of staff get their purpose from work and yet, in many companies most employees don’t know what ‘the purpose is’. There’s a big misalignment in many organizations.

Therefore, we leverage our company vision throughout the employee journey to ensure employees understand and have a purpose. We use our company vision during recruitment, during the onboarding process and during Quarterly updates.

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Implementing a strong mentorship program

Here’s how we run our mentorship program at Bucketlist: 

  • Staff apply to the mentorship program
  • We source a mentor (internal and external)
  • We find, really, really good mentors. Best in class.
  • Accept 10 staff per quarter
  • We provide meeting templates.

What’s the value?

Gartner estimates the minimum return on investment (ROI) of a company mentoring program to be 600% of the program’s costs.

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Asking the team for input, feedback and ideas

We survey our staff very regularly on all sorts of topics and gather their feedback before implementing any major program/process. We value our staff’s ideas and feedback and it helps to overall ensure success in all that we do! 

Continue to grow and evolve the way we work and do things

We pride ourselves in never settling… We are continually improving and innovating. For example, when onboarding employees, we encourage new hires to give input and feedback on their onboarding experience to develop the “leave it better than you found it” mentality.

Building a strong culture of appreciation

Not only do we help other companies build a strong workplace culture through employee recognition and rewards, we also walk the talk. We’ve ingrain recognition into our every day and continue to practice what we preach.

Want to learn more about how you can leverage employee recognition and rewards in your workplace to help become a great place to work? Book a free demo with us today!

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