Execution and principles of the Company of the Year survey

The execution

Gallup is responsible for the execution of the VR survey of Company of the Year as well as for the processing of results.

The Company of the Year 2020 survey covered members who were registered in VR when the survey began. In addition, companies were invited to allow employees other than VR members to participate in the survey. A total of 131 companies took advantage of this invitation.

The Company of the Year 2020 survey involved VR members receiving an e-mail if an e-mail address was available. VR members who did not have a registered e-mail address in the VR member registry were telephoned and invited to take part in the survey on the Internet. If they agreed, their e-mail address was obtained, and the survey sent to them. Also telephoned were members who did not appear to receive the survey, as their e-mail address was incorrect. In addition, the employees of the companies who invited all their employees to participate were sent a list on the Internet. The companies sent in a list containing the names and e-mail addresses / mobile numbers of the employees. The employees and members who did not have e-mail addresses were invited to participate on the Internet, in which case they were sent an URL and password to their mobile by text message.

A total of 40,699 persons were in the original sample. Responses were received from 14,079 employees of approximately 800 companies. The responses of 451 responders proved unusable, and as a result, the responses of 13,628 persons were processed, or a response ratio of 37,8%. The response ratio increases from 2019, when it was slightly less than 34,3%.

It is important to keep in mind that these responses are from the entire group or sample, as all VR members, on fulfilment of the above conditions, had the option of participating. In order for companies to be included in the analysis of Company of the Year 2020, there needed to be a certain number of respondents. Companies were required to provide a 35% response ratio. In addition, a minimum of 7 respondents were supposed to respond from companies with fewer than 50 employees, a minimum of 10 employees from companies with 50–99 employees, 20 from companies with 100–499 employees and 50 employees from companies with 500 employees or more. A total of 180 companies fulfilled these conditions, and the selection of the Company of the Year 2020 is based on the responses of 8,045 employees from these companies.

The results are published on the VR website according to the total scores of companies and their scores for key components. Companies may purchase more a detailed analysis of the results, with Gallup being responsible for drill-down analyses and collecting payment for them.


The Companies of the Year 2020 were selected by sending a questionnaire to the employees of companies requesting their assessment of the internal working environment of their company. The measurements covered nine key components in the working environment of the companies. By having the measurements cover a range of components, a comprehensive image can be gained of their internal working environment. Such extensive measurements also help management to better understand the status of issues in their companies, as they receive the results of each component of the working environment. As a result, it is easier to see where improvements need to be made and which components are acceptable. Factor analysis was used to identify underlying components that explain correlations between questions. Using this method shows what questions measure particular terms or components, i.e. what terms are measured in the questionnaire and how many they are. The factor analysis revealed, in all main respects, nine components.

The nine components revealed are employee attitudes toward management, wage terms, working conditions, flexibility of work, possibility of employees making independent decisions in their work, satisfaction and pride, morale in the company and equal rights. The nine components are collated from the questions falling under each component. The questions that relate thereto can be seen further down the page. Each question can be answered by using a five-point scale where one end of the scale indicates considerable satisfaction regarding the question asked and the other end indicates considerable dissatisfaction. Scores for each component represent, therefore, the average satisfaction among responders of the questions that fall under the component in question. The questions are listed in the table in the order of their weight regarding the component so that the question with the greatest weight is at the top.


The selection of Company of the Year 2019 is based on the total score, which consists of these nine components. All the components are given a score of between 1 and 5, where 5 indicates the employees are extremely satisfied with the compnent in question in the working environment of the company. If the company has a score of 3 on component, this indicates that employees are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with the component in question in the working environment of the company.

The weight of the nine components differs in the composition of the total score (see Table 1). The same criteria applies to the total score and to the components; the lowest value is 1 and indicates significant dissatisfaction, or the most negative stance, while the highest is 5 and indicates the greatest satisfaction, or the most positive stance.

Table 1. Wage of components in total score

Management 15%             
Morale 14%          
Wage terms 10%          
Work facilities 11%          
Flexibility 8%          
Independence at work 8%          
Company image 11%          
Satisfaction and pride 11%          
Equal rights  11%          

In factor analysis, the principal axis method was used with oblique rotation, and the correlation between components was in all cases higher than 0.3. Collectively, the components explain 68% of the total distribution of the variables (see variables/questions in Table 2 at the bottom of page). The weight of individual components in the total grade is based on how large a proportion of the distribution each component explains as regards the distribution of all the questions.

The factor loading was assumed to be 0.3 or higher on the component in question. In such case, each item explains at least 9% of the distribution of the component. Item analysis supports the contention that these factors were well at home on the components in question. Overall, the components had a good factor loading for their components.

Item analysis showed that the nine components have good internal consistency (see table 2)

Table 2. Reliability of surveys that form the total measurements of the Company of the Year


  Cronbach’s Alpha  Average correlation Lowest correlation Highest correlation
Management 0,95 0,67 0,54 0,83
Wage terms 0,85 0,66  0,57  0,79 
Work facilities 0,87 0,50  0,39  0,65 
Flexibility 0,83 0,50  0,40  0,69 
Independence at work 0,83 0,56  0,45  0,68 
Company image 0,88 0,71  0,68  0,75 
Morale 0,82 0,62  0,58  0,70 
Satisfaction and pride 0,93 0,77  0,71  0,81 
Equal rights 0,89 0,57  0,43  0,84 


The average score of companies on the list of Company of the Year was 4,22, as table 3 shows. There is a considerable difference in total scores by company size.

Table 3. Components averages

  Companies on the list with fewer than 30 employees Companies on the list with 30 to 69 employees Companies with 70 employees or more All companies on the list
Total average 4,35 4,16 4,16 4,22
 Management 4,40 4,12 4,19 4,24
 Morale 4,50 4,33 4,34 4,39
 Wage terms 3,65 3,45 3,30 3,47
Work facilities 4,27 4,04 4,01 4,11
Flexibility 4,60 4,44 4,38 4,48
Independence at work 4,53 4,29 4,32 4,38
Company image 4,44 4,31 4,23 4,33
 Satisfaction and pride 4,51 4,28 4,28 4,36
 Equal rights 4,39 4,25 4,39 4,34



Table 2 - The components forming the measurements of the Company of the Year 2020

Click on the plus sign in front of each component for more information.



  • I receive support and encouragement from my immediate superior.
  • My immediate superior highly respects the employees.
  • My immediate superior is fair to employees.
  • I can seek the assistance of my immediate superior if I need to.
  • My immediate superior ensures that I have the opportunity to develop my talents.
  • My immediate superior improves working conditions when necessary.
  • My immediate superior makes it clear what is expected of me.
  • Employees in my workplace are praised when they do well.
  • How well or poorly do you feel that your workplace is managed?
  • I fully trust the management of the company.


  • As a rule, I feel that morale is relaxed and unforced.
  • Communications are open and honest among my colleagues.
  • I get on well with my colleagues.
Wage terms

Wage terms

  • Satisfaction with wage terms.
  • The wages of the employees in the workplace are fairly determined.
  • Do you consider that your employer provides better, similar or poorer wage terms than is the case in other comparable workplaces?
Working conditions

Working conditions

  • Satisfaction with facilities, i.e. work or office areas.
  • Satisfaction with lighting.
  • Satisfaction with ventilation.
  • Satisfaction with acoustics (satisfaction or dissatisfaction with noise in the area).
  • Satisfaction with cafeteria facilities.
  • Satisfaction with safety in the workplace.
  • Satisfaction with computers and technological equipment.
Flexibility at work

Flexibility at work

  • I can leave work with little notice to run private errands.
  • I have scope to run errands during working hours when necessary.
  • Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the flexibility you have at work?
  • I find it easy to co-ordinate work and family life.
  • I find it easy to take summer/other vacation when it suits me.
Independence at work

Independence at work

  • I feel I have a good mastery of all aspects of my work.
  • I feel I have a good overview of all the aspects required of me at work.
  • The goals in my work are clear.
  • On the whole, I have a considerable influence on the manner in which my work is carried out.
Company image

Company image

  • When the company that I work for is mentioned, such mention is generally positive.
  • On the whole, the company’s customers have a positive attitude toward the company.
  • On the whole, the company I work for is considered very trustworthy.
Satisfaction and pride

Satisfaction and pride

  • On the whole, I am satisfied in my work.
  • On the whole, I enjoy my work.
  • I can recommend the workplace as a good workplace to my friends.
  • I am proud of the company that I work for.
Equal rights

Equal rights

  • In my workplace, the focus is on gender equality.
  • My workplace has clear policies on gender equality.
  • I believe that men and women have the same opportunity for career development in my workplace.
  • In my workplace, employees are not discriminated against (e.g. as regards age, gender, origin, sexual orientation, religion or life stance).
  • My workplace employs a diverse group of individuals (e.g. as regards age, gender, origin, sexual orientation, religion or life stance).
  • Both men and women hold positions of responsibility in my workplace.

Principles and philosophy

In the VR survey for the Company of the Year, employee attitudes toward key components in the working environment or the workplace are assessed. The survey is a venue for members to air their views and lets management know what has been done well and what improvements may be made. The results are a gold mine of information for management and a useful guide to whether and where improvements are needed. Not only do they show the position of the company in the eyes of employees, but also its position in comparison to other companies in the labour market.

Harnessing human resources

The ideology behind the Company of the Year is that the internal working environment of companies has no less an effect on their results as do external operating conditions. The companies that for some reason harness their human resources poorly or not at all can neither take advantage of external conditions nor respond to negative operating conditions or external difficulties.
The internal working environment in this context refers first and foremost to the attitudes that are foremost among employees. How do they view their work, working facilities, colleagues, superiors and the policies and management of the company? How do superiors respond to their subordinates? The more negative these attitudes, the poorer the internal working environment of the company.
This can be measured in many ways. The VR survey bases its conclusions on nine key components: management (previously entitled management credibility), morale, wage terms, working conditions, flexibility of work, independence in work, company image, satisfaction and pride and equal rights. Equal rights were first included in 2016. These components reflect the trust found in communications within the company, how proud the employees are in general as regards their work and the company that they work for, the respect that superiors have for their employees and the prevailing atmosphere in the workplace.

Satisfied employees = increased quality

Companies that are considered a desirable workplace can take their pick from among the best qualified employees and enjoy the benefits of employee loyalty. Manufacture and services improve in quality, as the synergetic effects are that all employees make every effort to achieve success. A good working environment reduces pressure and stress and increases general job satisfaction, which again leads to a decrease in the number of sickness days off. Employees show initiative in their work, which furthermore encourages innovations in company operations and successful developments. As a result, the company becomes more flexible with respect to changes in its operating environment or in changed competitive conditions. The company’s image strengthens, both internally with respect to its employees and externally, and the company enjoys, moreover, the benefits of positive discourse.

The survey highlights where improvements are needed 

The Company of the Year survey enables managers to approach their internal working environment in a focused and effective manner. First, the results offer reliable measurements of the performance of the company as a workplace. They reveal whether and, in such case, what problems need to be addressed and, at the same time, what options it has to advance. Second, the Company of the Year survey provides important comparisons between years. Third, the definitions in the Company of the Year survey provide dynamic tools that management can use in co-operation with employees to make the workplace desirable.

A powerful tool for VR

The results of the survey provided VR with a clear and comprehensive view of member attitudes toward their workplace. This information is of use to the union in its wage term negotiations, provides VR with the opportunity of assessing where it should focus its efforts in its demands for collective wage agreements and whether the perceptions of superiors and/or the public sector need to be changed. The survey thereby adds to the foundation supporting the operations and services of the union.