December 15, 2011

Press Release

Multinational Companies with Strong Workplace Environments Continue to Re-Invest in Employee and Workplace Initiatives Despite Challenging Economy, Study Finds

Companies Report a Strong Workplace Environment Helps Drive Firms’ Success

New York, December 15, 2011 – Companies rated as having among the strongest workplace environments are continuing to make investments in workplace and employee initiatives, according to a survey by global public relations and communications firm Burson-Marsteller and global research training firm Great Place to Work®. The study surveyed senior executives working at companies that were listed on the inaugural Great Place to Work World’s Best Multinational Workplaces ranking which was announced in October.

The research provides insights into the perceived return-on-investment (ROI) companies generate from making investments in their employees such as: programs designed to educate employees about the brand’s mission and values, programs that promote career development, and programs designed to encourage work life balance such as maternity and paternity leave and flextime.

The study found that despite challenging economic conditions respondents confirmed that developing and maintaining a good workplace environment positively impacts the company’s performance. The survey’s respondents also report that their spending on workplace programs has either increased (30 percent) or remained the same (70 percent). Ninety-five percent of respondents indicated that gaining external and internal recognition for workplace initiatives positively impacts the company’s performance.

“We know from previous Great Place to Work research that there is a direct relationship between those companies who are listed on all our Best Companies lists and strong financial performance,” said Jose Tolovi, Jr, Global CEO of Great Place to Work. “This new research with Burson-Marsteller reveals that the world’s leading workplaces continue to build this investment into their business planning even during challenging business climates.”

Strong company culture was named the most important benefit of a strong workplace by 80 percent of respondents, outranking business benefits such as market valuation, innovation and competitiveness. Recruitment and retention was named the second most important benefit by 70 percent of respondents.

“While it may seem counterintuitive to make significant investments in a weak economy, these companies have reaped the substantial business benefits of having a great workplace,” said Deidre H. Campbell, Managing Director, Burson-Marsteller. “The findings indicate that the leading workplaces in the world go above and beyond the standard suite of employee benefit programs to be competitive workplaces on talent acquisition and retention.”

Methodology
Burson-Marsteller and Great Place to Work® Institute surveyed a random sampling of senior executives in Human Resources, Corporate Communications and Marketing roles at 20 of the companies listed on the 2011 inaugural World’s Best Multinational Companies list. The survey was fielded in October 2011. To view the entire World’s Best Multinational Workplaces list, please visit www.greatplacetowork.net/worldsbest.

About Burson-Marsteller
Burson-Marsteller, established in 1953, is a leading global public relations and communications firm. It provides clients with strategic thinking and program execution across a full range of public relations, public affairs, reputation and crisis management, advertising and web-related strategies. The firm’s seamless worldwide network consists of 68 offices and 81 affiliate offices, together operating in 109 countries across six continents. Burson-Marsteller is a part of Young & Rubicam Group, a subsidiary of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), the world’s leading communications services network. To learn more about Burson-Marsteller, please visit bm.com.

About Great Place to Work®
Great Place to Work® Institute is a global research, consulting and training firm that helps organizations identify, create and sustain great workplaces through the development of high-trust workplace cultures. Great Place to Work serves businesses, non-profits and government agencies in 45 countries on all six continents. For more information about Great Place to Work, please visit www.greatplacetowork.net.

About the World’s Best Multinational Workplaces List
The World’s Best Multinational Workplaces List, released this fall, ranks the top 25 global companies to work for. The ranking marks the first time Great Place to Work has presented a global best workplaces list. Qualifying companies must have appeared on at least five national Great Place to Work lists, have at least 5,000 employees worldwide, and at least 40 percent (or 5,000 members) of their global workforce must work outside of the company’s home country.