Years ago, I worked at a government agency that made a "Best Places to Work" list. Reading the methodology, the process of making the list was rather simple -- the agency was one of many that paid an external group to survey the staff, and the survey provided evidence for a few different measures. An organization that made the top 20% on any single measure was awarded a "Best Places to Work" trophy. A full three-fourths of all agencies that paid into this "Best Places to Work" initiative thus received an award; my response wasn't to celebrate my employer being on the list -- it was to (rightfully) feel sorry for the employees of the agencies who didn't make the list. Life had to be really bad in those groups! And that brings us to rental cars, where one of the three major rental car companies was recently honored by Forbes.
We don't know about all that ...
I learned a few things from my "Best Places to Work" experience. One, I shouldn't put much credence into the process and two, I definitely shouldn't read the methodology of the studies.
However, executives and PR personnel clearly will respond glowingly when placed on lists like Forbes, especially in an industry (rental cars) well known for having employee tenures almost as short as fast food workers; if you visit a major airport and never see a familiar face at the rental car counter, there's a good reason! So AvisBudget Group crowed about their recent assignment to Forbes' listing of Canada's Best Employers.
"We are committed to delivering an unrivaled customer experience today and in the future. In order to do so, we must recruit, train and retain a workforce of talented people who passionately share our vision and are committed to delivering on it ... We're thrilled that our employees have rated Avis Budget Group a great place to work, and are proud to be among Canada's best." -- Bill Boxberger, vice president and general manager, Canada, Avis Budget Group.
Of the 300 companies on Forbes' Canadian list, AvisBudget Group is ranked 37th and is the highest ranked of sixteen Travel & Leisure companies making the list. The survey asked one question that was ranked -- on a scale of zero to 10, how likely was the employee to recommend their employers. Parsippany, New Jersey-based AvisBudget made the list in Canada when no other rental car company was listed within the top 300.
How did Parsippany's own AvisBudget Group do on Forbes' America's Best Employers listing? Well, let's just say that zero rental car companies were represented in the top 500 listing in the United States, despite 20 other corporations in the Travel & Leisure category making the list. Not even Enterprise Holdings, whose Enterprise subsidiary is frequently cited as having "fervent" employees. The presence or absence of rental car companies on these listings doesn't mean much unless one's thinking of running the local rental car shop -- the rental car companies don't show up on lists of best franchises, either!
Yet AvisBudget Group did make off better than Hertz Global Holdings; it's much easier to spin making a best employers list (albeit in Canada) than to "rank" in the "Top 10" of a Worst Companies to Work For listing. That's not the type of reputation one wants to have in an organization that already needs a re-envisioning.