At the top of the Forbes list: Why us?
In March 2016, Forbes magazine named Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC) as America’s Best Employer. If you ask MPC senior vice president of Human Resources and Administrative Services Rod Nichols for the formula that put MPC at the top of the Forbes list, he’ll tell you it’s simple: define your company values, articulate clearly what they mean, and consistently adhere to them.
“A company’s culture is the product of all it has done, and all it does on a daily basis,” said Nichols. “We’ve been in business since 1887, and historically we have had a high level of loyalty and low employee turnover. It’s extremely difficult for other companies to match that kind of history and the strong values and culture it creates.”
But if other employers are looking for hints, Nichols is happy to share one of MPC’s defining characteristics: “Our values are a product of our culture, and they begin and end with our employees,” he said. “We put them into words and articulate them all the time.”
Even if an employee can’t rattle off MPC’s five core values – health and safety, environmental stewardship, corporate citizenship, diversity and inclusion, and integrity – they nonetheless live them every day.
“We don’t hang a list of our five values in offices or at our operating sites, but we reinforce them in hundreds of ways,” said Nichols.
As just one example, he cites our value of integrity.
“If an employee questions the integrity of a fellow employee’s actions, it’s not just because he or she knows integrity is one of our values,” Nichols said. “It’s because we provide tools and processes to follow up – anonymous reporting and protection from retaliation, for example. So our values – and the culture they have built – are already there; we just make sure we support them.”
Some of MPC’s support for our values and culture comes through specific programs, like Diversity and Inclusion or Business Integrity and Compliance. But by and large, our culture comes from our people.
“Our employees place enormous value on safety, environmental stewardship, and on their role as good, honest citizens,” Nichols concluded. “So they want MPC to reflect that. The company’s role in most cases is not to steer people toward action, but to find ways to facilitate what they want to do anyway.”