Herman Miller Journal, What's Up
March 31, 2010
In 2008, only six companies in the U.S. (Microsoft, Cisco, Apple, Google, Whole Foods, and Herman Miller) made three top lists: FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For and Most Admired Companies, and FastCompany’s Most Innovative Companies. In 2010, four of those six made all three lists again—Microsoft, Cisco, Google, and us. Why are we telling you about it?
For many reasons, but mainly because we think it means good things for our customers. When you work with a company—and its people noted for pioneering new approaches and advocating for a better way—the chances you’ll benefit go way up.
In any case, we’re proud to be the only company in our industry on any of these lists, and we’re humbled by the organizations we appear with.
The reality behind these rankings—at least in the case of the FORTUNE lists—comes from employee surveys. Making these lists is a sign of the health for our business and our communities. It also says something good about the relationship between our leadership and our employees. We know our customers ultimately benefit.
In the case of the FastCompany award, we were further distinguished as an “Innovation All-Star,” the only Michigan-based company on the list. We guess our selection has something to do with our award-winning Herman Miller Performance System.
We do a lot of talking around here about working for a better world around you. By “you” we mean our community of customers, employees, shareholders, and contributors of all sorts. Whatever else these awards mean, others are recognizing us for doing what we say.
Technology, What's Up
March 24, 2010
Social media tools like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can be frivolous or useful. Frivolous: More than 724,000 kids (my son included) are Facebook fans of “Don’t complain about grading 140 essays over the weekend, you assigned it.”
Powerful: 18,000 people bypass the hype-steria surrounding the H1N1 flu by following the Center for Disease Control on Twitter. The CDC provides factual updates as information becomes available.
For most people, social media lies between the two extremes.
According to Forrester Research, almost 60% of Internet users use social media. Other research shows that a third of social media users are quite active, updating their statuses at least once a week. Their reasons vary, but 54% say they do it to stay in touch with friends and family. Less than five percent report they “regularly” use it to make buying decisions.
That will likely change. Nielsen says global consumers spent more than five hours on social networking sites in December 2009. That’s an 82% increase over December 2008. With that kind of growth, more and more companies are using social networking. They see an opportunity to build their brands and strengthen their connection with customers.
Carnival Cruise helped an unhappy customer locate the t-shirts he thought the cruise line stole from him. They only way they knew he was unhappy about it was that he tweeted about it. But companies like more than just broadcasting via social media. In fact, for the individuals who actually tweet for a company, the best part is hearing from followers.
Herman Miller uses Facebook and Twitter to share good news (such as its inclusion on FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list), product information, and job openings, and to find out what’s on customers’minds.
What is on their minds? Sometimes it’s their chair’s warranty, but other times it’s a pet. Take the tweet from @stacyharmon: Apparently my cat finds my Aeron chair as comfortable as I do. http://post.ly/KL10. All of it helps “humanize the brand,” social media experts say.
Social media—especially Twitter, which doesn’t allow tweets to be longer than 140 characters—also forces companies to be clear, concise, and clever. That’s good news for consumers. If they don’t have us at hello, then we say buh-bye.
Photo via: Harmon Enterprises
Herman Miller Journal, What's Up
February 2, 2010
FORTUNE magazine recently published its 13th annual listing of “100 Best Companies to Work For.” Several recognizable brands made the list, including SAS, Whole Foods Market, Google, FedEx, and Herman Miller. These brands represent a variety of industries, so what do they all have in common?
According to FORTUNE and the Great Place to Work® Institute, a global research and consulting firm, the listings are a result of a survey that solicits information from organizations and their employees about credibility of management, job satisfaction, camaraderie, recruiting, and employee services.
But this year’s list also considers the ways companies are helping their employees weather the recession. Although this past year wasn’t an easy one for Herman Miller, we reinforced our commitment to our employees by developing supportive programs and initiatives. These programs and initiatives are highlighted in three categories–Balancing, Including, and Celebrating–included on the Great Place to Work Institute Culture Audit©, which is used in part to establish the overall FORTUNE rankings.