From solid management practices to financial security to work-life balance, there are considerable elements that go into creating a successful, profitable workplace environment. Although each company is different, the industry’s Best Workplaces do share distinctive commonalities.

The parallels allow these companies to recruit and retain qualified workers—people who are more satisfied with their jobs and, therefore, more productive and efficient. Greater efficiency leads to increased profitability and a greater competitive edge. 

What if you could get behind the scenes and see what these leading companies are doing? How competitive are their wages and benefits? How do they handle health care issues? What employee training methods do they use? What incentive programs are working for them?

Each year the Best Workplace in the Americas (BWA) program judges companies based on eight main areas: management practices, work environment, training and development opportunities, recognition and rewards, workplace health and safety, health and well-being programs, financial security, and work-life balance. The practices of winning firms—the top HR programs in the industry—are compiled in the Key HR Metrics report. 

Enter the 2014 Best Workplace in the Americas program to showcase your company’s superior HR program.)

Here’s your chance to go behind the curtain of the printing industry’s top companies. Take a look at these highlights from the 2013 HR Metrics Survey and see the practices of your competitors:

Management practices

  • Sexual harassment training for all staff members should be performed every 24 months, and new hires should receive training during orientation.
  • Provide written job descriptions and annual performance reviews for all employees. (For Americans with Disabilities Act purposes, job descriptions ideally should have “essential functions” noted on job descriptions.)
  • How many women and minorities hold management positions in your organization? Top companies have comparable numbers to the national average. (Find current averages at

Work environment

  • And how about your turnover rate? Strive for 8.4% or lower.

Training and development opportunities

  • Cross-train employees. A total of 89% of BWA winners had more than 80% of their staff trained across a range of areas.
  • Create a succession plan for an aging workforce. Seventy-four percent of BWA firms  had succession plans for senior managers, 59% for key managers, and 56% for key non-managerial employees.

Recognition and rewards

Workplace health and safety

  • To keep your injury and illness rate low, you may want to institute a Safety Committee with a mix of hourly and managerial employees.
  • If your company has persistent injuries and illnesses, address the issues with a targeted training program.
  • By creating a written disaster plan in addition to maintaining a low injury and illness rate, your company can avoid OSHA citations. (Read more about OSHA citations for the printing industry here.)

Health and well-being programs

  • Examine wage and benefit surveys annually through your local Printing Industries’ affiliate to ensure you’re competitive with company/employee health care premiums.
  • Offer health-risk assessments to employees (and dependents).
  • Other wellness program investments like workout rooms, smoking cessation programs and incentives, etc.
  • Offer short- and long-term disability insurance.

Financial security

  • Review competitive practices of your retirement plans and applicable profit sharing plans with wage/benefit surveys.
  • For retirement planning, most BWA firms’ 401(k) contributions were around 6%, and they also provided financial advisors for employees (and their spouses).
  • Provide credit union membership and life insurance.

Work-life balance

  • Provide competitive employee time-off programs.
  • Encourage employee involvement in community charitable organizations and events.

Read the full report, including a breakdown of the 2013 BWA Metric Averages here.

If your company has invested in a top-notch HR program, consider entering the 2014 Best Workplace in the Americas program. Compete with industry companies throughout the U.S. and Canada. As a winner, you’ll be promoted through local and national media, gain recruiting and marketing benefits, and receive a plaque to display.

Enter the 2014 Best Workplace in the Americas program today. The deadline is September 30.