So I was both curious and dubious to read about the Michigan Business and Professional Association's "101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work for in West Michigan" list.
On the one hand, the companies on this current list had to be nominated. So some worthy candidates don't appear on the list merely because they were not considered. That diminishes the worth of saying this list truly represents the top 101 companies in the region. In fact, I would love to know how many nominations were entered--to demonstrate rigor in the process, it would be instructive to know that some nominations were not considered worthy (without naming names of course). Also, in looking at the list, some 'winners' have their HQ outside West Michigan, which may be a minor point but it changes the meaning of "West Michigan companies."
That aside, I would argue that there is PR value in the list. The MBPA press release asserts that the list is the product of independent evaluation. Also, while they tout the companies for exemplary human resource practices, from a broad perspective I would say the categories listed represent PR practice and evaluation as well: Communication, Community Initiatives, Compensation and Benefits, Diversity and Multiculturalism, Employee Education and Development, Employee Engagement and Commitment, Recognition and Retention, Recruitment and Selection, Small Business and Work-Life Balance.
While many outside of PR don't recognize this, PR is one of the broadest management functions because it considers all publics, including employees. Therefore, one key objective of PR is to position an organization as an "employer of choice," meaning a place where people would love to work if given the opportunity. At a time when area business leaders are saying that recruiting and retaining talent is their number one concern, this is a vital management issue and matter for measurement.
So, kudos to those of you who made the list. And for others, consider that maybe you should add nominating your organization to your list of PR goals for next year. Nominations for 2010 are being accepted now.