It's A Lot Bigger Than You Think

An interesting press release was issued recently by Great Place to Work® Institute, the firm behind popular best places to work rankings like Fortune Magazine's annual "100 Best Companies to Work for" list. The press release title was "Stocks of Best Companies to Work For Beat the Market by Over 300%.”

The release stated that stocks of the public companies on FORTUNE's 100 Best Companies to Work for list produced more than 3 times the gains of the broad market over the last seven years. The study suggests a strong link between workplace culture and a business's financial performance.

So what does this have to do with human resources?

A lot. Aside from the fact that human resources can probably take partial credit for making any company a great place to work, the news story also highlights the fact that there is a lot more to human resources than what most people intuitively think – i.e., payroll services, outsourcing, HR technology, HRMS software, etc. These types of HR products & services often get the media coverage because they generate interesting news (e.g., Oracle buying Peoplesoft) and because that’s where a lot of the VC money is (hence, the increased attention and coverage).

But there is an entire cottage industry of service providers within human resources that helps companies become and stay a great place to work. Some are consulting firms like The Great Place to Work® Institute and hundreds of others who consult on everything from workplace culture to flexible work arrangements for employees. Others are employee benefit companies who offer unique Work/Life programs such as corporate concierge or child/elder care referral services. There are literally thousands of these types of companies.

At, we work with many great HR service providers who provide valuable and unique programs and services that, prior to them signing up for HRmarketer, we had never heard of. Some are four-person boutiques and others are multi-million dollar companies with 20+ years of experience. What’s most amazing to us is the diversity and number of HR service providers in North America – some say there are tens of thousands of providers (see a related blog posting entitled Making Sense of the Human Capital Industry on how to classify the various types of HR service providers).

We may not know the specific number, but one thing is for sure, whatever you want to call our industry - HR, human resources, human capital - it’s a lot bigger than you think!