Michael Bailey Deputy editor

Michael has been a business journalist for 12 years. He has extensive experience editing magazines covering funds management, commercial property and the travel industry. In 2011 he won a Citi Excellence in Financial Journalism award for a BRW cover story on economic indicators.

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Australia’s best place to work revealed

Published 20 June 2012 21:30, Updated 21 June 2012 17:21

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Australia’s best place to work revealed

Winners are grinners ... OBS chief Andy Neumann says working his fair share of crappy jobs has helped the Melbourne-based IT company become Australia’s Best Place to Work. Photo: Josh Robenstone

After scouring more workplaces than ever before this year, the Great Place to Work Institute has declared Melbourne-based IT consultancy OBS to be Australia’s best place to work in 2012.

The company, which has over 200 staff across Australia, has featured in the top 10 of BRW’s Best Places to Work since 2009 thanks to its celebration of success, encouragement trust and openness and a razor sharp focus on its customers.

OBS managing director Andy Neumann also says his stints in sub-par jobs have helped the Microsoft services outfit create a workplace staff enjoy.

“You’ve got to have a few crappy jobs to know what matters to employees,” he tells BRW.

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Underlying the company’s success both as a business and an employer are seven core principles: good intentions, teamwork, passion about technology, continuous improvement, agility, trust and pride in being an Australia business.

And the proof is in the pudding. More than 4000 people have applied for positions at OBS in the past year.

“People like knowing they are part of a team, and knowing what that team and the organisation it belongs to is achieving,” the owner of the Australian arm of the Great Place to Work Institute’s global franchise, Zrinka Lovrencic says.

Companies that grabbed a coveted spot in Australia’s top 10 places to work include many familiar faces from last year, such as No. 2 ranked NetApp and 2011 winner Google Australia, which lobbed in a No. 3 this year.

Other repeat entrants in the top 10 include No. 4 placed E-Web Marketing, No. 5 placed Altis Consulting and No. 10 ranked Atlassian. Newcomers to the 10 in 2012 include Salesforce.com at No. 6, Cordelta at No. 7, The Physio Co at No. 8 and TRC Group at No. 2.

All the companies that made repeat appearances in the top 10 this year are technology companies, and IT organisations again blitzed the upper echelons of Best Places to Work, taking out seven places.

As OBS knows, the secret of constructing a team worthy of a Best Places to Work guernsey seems to be pretty simple, so simple it’s surprising more Australian businesses have hit on the idea.

The No.9 company on this year’s list, Atlassian, calls it the “beer test” according to co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes.

“I ask myself would I find it interesting to have a beer with this job applicant?”

OBS has a three-interview model but managing director Andy Neumann admits the textbooks are cast aside once candidates are on the final strait.

“We have a firm ‘the gut is always right’ rule and for the most part we’ve been on the money,” he says.

Getting more guts in on the decision seems to be a trend – several of the best places this year report allowing non-management staff to help interview their wanna-be teammates, while social media has become integral to the referral and recruitment process.

with Ben Woodhead

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