It’s Christmas time – in more ways than one.
Of course, the actual holiday itself is upon us; what’s more, Glassdoor just released its list of the “Best Places to Work” for 2016. To me, that’s a pretty great gift.
I always get very excited when Glassdoor’s list comes out, because it offers us all a chance to step back and take a look at what it means to be a “great place to work” in today’s world.
So, of course, we have to ask: What does it mean to be a great place to work in today’s world?
Transparency, a Clear Mission, Great Compensation, and Awesome Perks
According to Scott Dobroski, associate director of corporate communications at Glassdoor, there are a few major traits that most – if not all – of the companies on Glassdoor’s “Best Places to Work” list share:
- A Mission-Driven Company Culture: “You always hear employees [at these companies] talking about how they understand their culture and mission, they feel the mission every day, and they are encouraged to embody [the mission and culture],” Dobroski says.
- Transparent Leadership: “The senior leaders [at these organizations] – starting with the CEO – know how to communicate with their workforces, and that includes short- and long-term visions for the company,” Dobroski says. “This allows employees to really understand why they’re working and how their roles play a pivotal part in reaching company goals. They feel valued.”
- Great Compensation Packages: Pretty self-explanatory. Essentially, the companies that make it onto the list are generally paying above average wages for their industries.
- Great Benefits and Perks: Airbnb gives its employees a $2000 travel stipend. REI gives employees great discounts on company merchandise. There are other examples, but the main idea here is that the “Best Places to Work” get creative – and generous – with their perks and benefits.
Oh, and one more thing: At the “Best Places to Work,” employers actually listen to and act on employee feedback.
“A lot of companies want to be on this list, and that’s awesome,” Dobroski says. “But the main message for employers here is the value of employee feedback. Another major theme we see is that … employees say that what makes their company different is the employer takes action on their feedback.”
A Diverse List – With Tech Once Again Leading the Way
When I spoke to Dobroski about last year’s list, he said he was struck by the list’s diversity. This year is no different.
Tech company Airbnb took the top spot this year – also the first year it has appeared on the “Best Places to Work” list – but the list is also home to workplaces like Boston Consulting Group (No. 8), Nestlé Purina PetCare, (No. 9), In-N-Out Burger (No. 13), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (No. 22), and Red Bull (No. 46).
“For the job seeker, it indicates that there’s something for everyone out there in 2016,” Dobroski says. “For the employer, it really proves that, no matter what industry you’re in, you can be a best place to work, a company that people want to join.”
As in past years, tech is the most represented industry on the list. Dobroski says that the tech industry’s prized position is the result of a couple of factors.
First, tech was one of very few industries that wasn’t massively damaged by the Great Recession, which means many tech companies never went through the painful periods of contraction that so many other organizations had to weather.
Second, tech is a highly competitive industry when it comes to attracting talent, which means tech companies have to really focus on the employee experience if they’re going to succeed.
“The industry is just so niche, and the war for talent is just so fierce and competitive,” Dobroski says. “Tech companies have to find ways to beat their competitors.”
The good thing is that organizations in other industries have started pulling from tech’s playbook when it comes to the employee experience. So who knows – maybe next year’s list will be even more diverse?
What Employees Have to Say
Glassdoor’s rankings are all based on employee feedback, so I’d like to end by presenting some of the most interesting employee quotes on this year’s winners:
On Airbnb (No. 1): “The people that work here are some of the best I’ve met in my professional career. The culture is good. The founders are great people[,] and I believe they have the best intentions for the company, the employees, and our community. There is a lot of opportunity to learn from different teams and possibly switch roles as departments grow and new teams form.”
On Zillow (No. 10): “The views are amazing, the free food/snacks/drinks are great, and the benefits are great. I’m surrounded by smart people, and am constantly learning. Little red-tape and no business politics allow for us to immediately benefit the company and have a huge impact.”
Eastman Chemical (No. 11): “Employees are encouraged to volunteer, and those opportunities are spent working side by side with management and company executives. A balanced work and home life are also stressed by management – and they grant you the time to make that happen. They truly believe that happy, fulfilled people make the best employees.”
On Delta Air Lines (No. 21): “Clear paths for advancement. You really see how your work contributes to the success of the company. Industry-leading profit sharing program and great flight benefits.”
On Gensler (No. 38): “You can make your own way and take your career any direction you want. Gensler truly lives by the ‘one firm firm’ philosophy. The network between the offices is amazing. I have had the opportunity to work with some of the industry’s top talent on incredible projects.”
(All photos courtesy of Glassdoor.)