Company Culture
8 min read

How 13 organizations climbed the best employers lists

Alexis Croswell

Alexis Croswell

Senior Content Marketing Manager, Culture Amp

As competition for talented employees increases, more and more organizations are focusing on employer branding. Employer awards and ‘best employer’ lists provide an independent source for people considering a new employer or assessing their current employer. From Glassdoor’s Employee Choice Awards, to Great Places to Work rankings in many categories, and many other global and regional awards, the avenues for recognition are vast. Achieving awards sends a powerful message to candidates. It shows prospective job seekers that your organization prioritizes company culture.

We’ll take a look at some of the most recent successful organizations in each category, and explore what makes them special.

Glassdoor - 2017 Employees Choice Awards (United States)

Glassdoor is a website for employers, employees and candidates focused on helping people find jobs they love. The annual Employees Choice Award recognizes the most popular places to work based on current and past employee feedback and reviews.

Bain and Company

Receiving 4.8 out of five stars, Bain and Company sits at the top of Glassdoor’s employee choice awards this year. In 60 positive reviews, the following terms were used: Work/life balance (for assistants); benefits; little to no micro-managing; PTO; maternity leave.

CEO Bob Bechek won Highest Rated CEO in 2016 with a 99% employee approval rating. In an interview with Poets and Quants, Bechek says he was drawn to Bain and Company because of its extraordinarily people-oriented company culture.

Facebook

Facebook is often mentioned as a great place to work and their seeming lavish workplace is emulated by other companies. Their Glassdoor profile has nearly 2,000 reviews from employees describing what it’s like to work for the social media giant. In 161 reviews, “great free food” is mentioned as a pro, and  “really smart people to work with” is mentioned in 159 reviews. In their own words, “Facebook is defined by our unique culture – one that rewards impact.

Boston Consulting Group

In a featured review for Boston Consulting Group, one employee says that BCG is the best consulting firm because it provides opportunities and fosters professional growth while remaining personal. With a 4.3 star rating, it’s likely that other employees feel the same way. In 2015 and 2016, BCG was also ranked in Glassdoor’s top ten for the Employee Choice Awards.

Culture Amp Customer spotlight: Adobe

Adobe’s dedication to employee engagement is recognized by their placement in the top ten employers in Glassdoor’s Employee Choice Awards. Adobe’s CEO, Shantanu Narayen, has featured on Glassdoor’s highest-rated CEOs list for two years. Adobe uses Culture Amp employee engagement surveys to collect, understand and act on employee feedback, driving employee engagement. Over 2,000 Adobe employees have submitted reviews to Glassdoor and the company regularly posts updates and videos showcasing their unique culture - an excellent way to draw in potential candidates.

Great Place to Work – Best Companies List 2016 Medium Size

Great Place to Work (GPTW) is a consultancy firm that studies great workplaces. They operate in over 40 countries and their Best Companies List covers many industries. Their findings are based on global surveys of more than 10 million employees.

GoFundMe

According to Great Place to Work (GPTW), all 143 employees of GoFundMe say their workplace is great. They were ranked number one on this list last year, and number two in Best Workplaces in Technology in 2017. What makes GoFundMe unique is a combination of programs, perks, and benefits. Their Gives Back program allows employees to nominate a GoFundMe campaign that is moving or inspirational to receive a donation on behalf of the company. Their GPTW profile states, “This program has been an employee favorite for over three years, and GoFundMe gave back more than half a million dollars in 2015.”

Grovo

A repeat winner of the Great Place to Work award, Grovo scores highly on all areas of Great Place to Work employee ratings. Grovo take the opportunity to highlight the characteristics of Grovo people in their Great Place to Work employer branding profile.They are looking for hardworking, playful yet disciplined, eager to learn, team oriented, humble, curious, respectful and honest candidates. At Grovo, employees have an inclusive parental leave plan, gym and personal trainer access, unlimited PTO (with at least three days used per quarter) and more.

Neighborhood Loans

Neighborhood Loans is placed on four Great Place to Work Lists, and has been recognized by INC 5000 as one of the Fastest Growing Companies for three consecutive years. On Neighborhood Loans’ Great Place to Work profile, they highlight that employees receive paid time off for volunteering and are supported to pursue philanthropy through the Neighborhood Loans Gives Back Program.

Culture Amp customer spotlight: SendGrid

SendGrid’s profile on the Great Place to Work website focuses on the many programs that make their culture unique. From an annual trip to Mexico every winter to kick off the new year, to showcasing their inclusion initiatives, they provide something for every step of the employee’s journey. SendGrid uses Culture Amp engagement survey to understand what’s driving employee engagement. They also use Culture Amp onboarding surveys to help refine their new hire onboarding process.

Korn Ferry Hay Group – The world’s most admired companies 2016

Every March, Fortune magazine publishes The World’s Most Admired Companies list. Candidates for the World’s Most Admired Companies are selected from Fortune 1000 and Global 500 companies, as well as other major non-US companies. Inclusion on the list is not only great employer branding, but underscores the organization’s overall value to shareholders and investors.

Apple

For the ninth year in a row, Apple holds the title of world’s most admired company. They’re ranked third on the Fortune 500 list, where Fortune also calls out CEO Tim Cook as the world’s greatest leader. Apple holds first position for all nine of the criteria for this award, including innovation, people management and social responsibility. Apple’s Fortune 500 profile also includes information on how Apple is creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Alphabet

Google’s parent company makes a top spot on this list once again. According to Fortune, Alphabet’s crown jewel is still Google, which includes advertising (through AdWords), Android (an open-source operating system used for smartphones and tablet computers) and Youtube. However, that doesn’t mean that more innovative products (like self-driving cars) are taking a back seat. As Google says, “It’s really the people that make Google the kind of company it is.” Fortune also recently released an inside look at Google’s diversity efforts.

Amazon

Rising from the fourth spot to third, Amazon is another large company that’s no stranger to the spotlight. Compared to many of the companies on the list, Amazon is relatively young (less than 40 years old). In that time they’ve become many consumers’ one stop shop for all things retail. Amazon has also had their share of not-so-great press coverage regarding life at work, which CEO Jeff Bezos commented on in a letter to shareholders. In it, he says, "Someone energized by competitive zeal may select and be happy in one culture, while someone who loves to pioneer and invent may choose another."

Business Insider with Payscale – The 50 Best Companies to work for in America 2016

Business Insider publishes the 50 Best Companies to Work for in America annually in partnership with PayScale—a remuneration information company. To be featured on this list, businesses must be listed in the Fortune 500.

Google

On this list, Google outranks Facebook for the number one spot. The profile highlights employee's ability to work on passion projects and feed their creativity as part of what makes them great. Since a partner on this list is Payscale, Google’s median salary is revealed, which amounts to $140,000 annually for an experienced employee.

Bristol-Myers Squibb

Biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb comes in second with 78% of employees reporting they are satisfied with their jobs. Business Insider also highlights gender diversity at Bristol-Myers Squibb, reporting that  54% of employees are female and 46% male. In their own words, Bristol-Myers Squibb is looking for employees who will help them,  “...discover, develop and deliver innovative treatments that make a difference in the lives of people around the world.”

Symantec

As a cyber-security company competing for engineering talent, Symantec comes out on top according to this list. Payscale found that the best-paying skillset within the company is Python, though employees are often expected to know multiple computer programming languages. Symantec says they encourage team members to bring their whole selves to work. They believe that their diversity fuels innovation.

Sunday Times 100 Best Companies

The Sunday Times is Britain’s best-selling broadsheet newspaper, and they publish the 100 Best Companies to Work For annually. It focuses on UK-based companies and research from the consultancy firm Best Companies.

Simply Business

For the second year in a row, Simply Business takes the number one spot on the Sunday Times list. According to the Sunday Times, “Employees buzz around the open-plan London space, hold meetings via Google hangouts, and a number of staff live abroad and work remotely full-time.” Simply Business’ Chief executive Jason Stockwood won the Sunday Times Best Leader award.

Chess

Telecommunications reseller Chess scores highly among employees for helpfulness and fun. Core values at Chess are quality and passion, and employees can take one paid day a year to volunteer at a charity of their choice. They’ve also been a regular winner on the Sunday Times list and other company culture awards.

Red Carnation Hotels

President and founder of Red Carnation Hotels, Bea Tollman, says their culture encourages individuality, and allows for weaknesses, while creating opportunities for success. On the career section of Red Carnation’s website, you can hear success stories from current employees. They offer extensive training and development programs and look to promote from within.


Increasing awareness of your employer brand both internally and externally is a great way to showcase your company culture. See what it takes to win these employer awards and more (including Aon Hewitt – Accredited Best Employers and the The Employee Engagement Awards) in our free eBook: Seven ways to get recognized as a great place to work.