Every year, Glassdoor – the US-based website that publishes company reviews from current and former employees – honors the Best Places To Work across North America and parts of Europe.
And as a business owner who spent a great deal of time and money to find talented employees (and want to keep them), you can learn a lot from this list!
In this guide, we take a closer look at 7 of the Best Places To Work according to Glassdoor and what makes them awesome: their great benefits, amazing culture, and amazing workplace environment – and more importantly, how you can do the same!
Twitter bagged the 2nd spot on Glassdoor’s 2014 list. And while the company has slipped down to the 26th spot this year, the benefits Twitter provides and the experience it creates for employees are still top notch!
As you would expect from a tech company, Twitter takes good care of their employees’ essential needs with:
Want to sweat and burn off those excess calories?
The company’s second-floor gym offers free yet grueling CrossFit classes, which ex-CEO Dick Costolo frequented. And if you need to unwind or soothe those sore muscles and limbs, yoga sessions and massages are just a few steps away.
Twitter’s communal area made of 2 real log cabins, known as The Lodge, hosts the company’s meetings and social events where staff members can grab their fill of coffee, wine, beer, and even fermented tea on tap.
And should you need to chill out and socialize, the 16,500 rooftop deck of Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters treats you to amazing views of the city as you chit-chat with other employees or even work on your laptop.
The company also organises a global day of service twice a year, which allows employees to participate in a number of projects and initiatives organised by local non-profit organisations.
In October 2015, Twitter’s #fridayforgood saw 1,025 volunteers from the San Francisco headquarters participate in 63 projects which included teaching kids how to code, tidying up and beautifying the Boeddeker Park, giving out hygiene kits, delivering emergency disaster kits to homebound seniors, and more.
Did you know... Cafepoint offer vending machine hire? Click to find out more.
The search giant’s employee perks are often talked about: free food and haircut, awesome wellness programs, gym and fitness classes, great pay while working with great people - what’s not to like!?
And to come up with these amazing Googler benefits, Google People experts tap into the needs of employees by using 3 methods:
For Cristina Cordova, a former Googler, the free food and drinks were her favorite and most-used perk at Google.
Cristina would start her day by visiting one of the coffee bars with a full-time barista where she could request any drink for free! After grabbing her morning cup, she would head to the building she works in to grab her free breakfast and take it to her desk.
You’re never far away from food in Google’s campuses. Micro-kitchens stocked with coffee, drinks, and healthy snacks are always close by, allowing employees to grab a bite and re-energise at any time of the day and without going out of their way.
Katy Levinson, another former Googler, missed the showers on the campus since she left. Not only did she feel comfortable riding the bike on her way to work (knowing she can take a shower to freshen up), she frequently thought and worked out ideas in the shower too!
But while free food and showers were a favorite of many Googlers, the 18-year old search giant’s maternity and paternity benefits surpass industry standards: new fathers can enjoy a 6-week paid leave while mothers can take a paid leave for 18 weeks after their child’s birth.
And to make the deal even sweeter especially for parents short on cash, stocks continue to vest while an employee is on leave!
The maternity and paternity benefits obviously do a great job of retaining Googlers. A 2008 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that over 60% of male and female employees have children under 6 years old, and foreseeing and fulfilling their needs as new parents will help keep them on board and engaged at work.
Most of Google’s employee benefits focus on improving employee happiness, productivity, and performance at the workplace. No surprises there.
What’s surprising, however, is the Google’s death benefit, which doesn’t provide any tangible gain for the search engine and tech company!
“One of the things we realised recently was that one of the harshest but most reliable facts of life is that at some point most of us will be confronted with the death of our partners,” says Chief People Officer Laszlo Bock in an interview with Forbes’ Meghan Casserly.
If a US Googler, unfortunately, passes away while under employment, the surviving spouse receives a yearly check for 50% of the deceased employee’s salary for the next 10 years. Moreover, any children of the employee will receive a monthly $1000-pay from Google until they’re 19 years old (or 23 for full-time students).
“When it comes down to it, it’s better to work for a company who cares about you than a company who doesn’t. And from a company standpoint, that makes it better to care than not to care,” says Bock, ending his interview with Forbes.
Did you know... Cafepoint offer instant boiling hot water taps? Click to find out more.
LinkedIn may not have the market value or massive user-base that networks like Facebook and Twitter have. However, that didn’t stop the brainchild of Reid Hoffman from providing an awesome employee experience and taking over the 6th spot at Glassdoor’s list.
For senior strategist and advisor Daniel Sonesson, the free breakfast, lunch, onsite gym, and bi-weekly sessions with a personal trainer are the best things about working at LinkedIn.
However, LinkedIn’s benefits and perks go beyond the usual free food, drinks, coffee, and gym – and has a particular focus on helping employees take their career and personal lives to the next level.
Take the Speaker Series, for example, where great thinkers and personalities like Arianna Huffington, Barack Obama, and Deepak Chopra inspire and talk about things that employees care about – from their careers, families, to personal accomplishments and more.
LinkedIn’s headquarters in Mountain View, CA hosts up to 3 of these inspirational lectures every month, which are open to over 6800 employees around the world. Moreover, every lecture is uploaded to YouTube so those who didn’t make it to the live lecture can catch up.
The company also wants their employees to acquire new skills and grow professionally – and LinkedIn backs it up with cash! US and Canadian employees are offered $5,000 per year to spend on job-related professional education – along with online training tools like LearnIn and ManageIn, a manager trainee programme.
But while professional growth is a top priority for LinkedIn, the company also understands that their employees have their own ideas on how to make the world a better place. LinkedIn’s Innovation Grants award $10,000 to organisations championed by their employees that are looking to launch or scale unique programmes.
In the first round of 2015’s Innovation Grants, 24 nonprofit organisations and their employee champions were awarded $10,000 to inspire and educate women about technology, help end hunger, provide free digital books in developing countries, promote dental care in South Africa, and more.
Transformation Grants, on the other hand, are given to employees looking to act on their ideas – ideas that have the power to transform themselves and even the world!
In 2013, 12 proposals from employees were awarded $3,000 to bring their transformative ideas to life – including volunteering in Indonesia to teach life skills while protecting the Indonesian reef, hosting career workshops for high school students, and completing the transformation of a school in rural Kenya.
Did you know... Cafepoint offer coffee vending machines? Click to find out more.
Facebook is the king of social media networks, boasting 1.59B active users with 65% of its user base logging in and using the network on a daily basis.
While the network owes its success to a number of factors, one cannot deny that keeping its employees happy and productive helped create a product used by over a billion people!
If you thought ‘there’s no such thing as free lunch,’ think again. At Facebook, employees get more than just free food and drinks, a common perk enjoyed by almost every tech employee in Silicon Valley.
With 11 eateries and cafeterias all over Facebook’s headquarters, employees can keep their tummies happy and full all day long with burgers, fries, Korean BBQ, vegan options, and more in between – complete with information including ingredients and potential allergens.
Of the 11 Facebook cafeterias in Menlo Park, the Epic Café is the most epic. Here, the network’s culinary team headed by Chef Josef Desimone prepares 3 meals a day, 5 days per week.
The culinary team changes the menu at every meal, making sure to serve hard-working employees something new every day.
For production engineer Gus Luxton who loves food but hates cooking, Facebook feels less of an office and more like an upscale food court that keeps him excited while introducing him to dishes he didn’t know he’d like – for free!
Former Facebook employee Scott Marlette, on the other hand, found the addition of IT cabinets in 2008 as a good move to improve productivity. The cabinets contained keyboards, headphones, USB sticks, and other tech essentials, which employees can take by simply swiping their badge at a small kiosk nearby.
This eliminated the need for filling out forms and waiting for approval for reasonably priced IT necessities so employees can focus on being productive. Recently however, the cabinets got an upgrade, replaced by vending machines all over the campus that vends IT essentials with a mere swipe!
For engineering manager Justin Moore however, the parental benefits stood out the most. Working at Facebook as a new parent gets you 4 months of paid time-off, which you can take during the first year of your child – along with $4,000 for baby expenses and $3,000/year for babysitting!
The perks helped Justin spend more time with his growing son and take him to relatives for a visit without worrying about his finances and career taking a hit.
Landing a job at Facebook is not a mean feat. While an Ivy League degree is not required, candidates need to impress with the job they’re already doing, answer tough questions, and show they’re a team player.
But with free communal beach cruisers to ride around work, great food at every corner, IT helpdesks in every building to provide support, onsite barbershop, and impressive financial perks, passing candidates find the effort worth it!
Did you know... Cafepoint offer commercial coffee machines? Click to find out more.
Hubspot is an all-in-one marketing platform, providing high-quality tools for business blogging, social media networking, email marketing, SEO, landing page creation, analytics, and more. For its employees, however, Hubspot is one of the coolest places to work!
Right from the start, Founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah made a commitment to grow not only the business but Hubspot’s employees and authentic culture as well.
Every quarter, the company sends out an Employee Happiness Survey, which Katie Burke (VP of Culture @ Hubspot) uses as a guide in her never ending effort to improve employee experience and company culture.
“I obsess over our employee experience day in and day out, and over how we invest, differentiate, and keep great people who we attract to our brand,” says Katie in an interview.
And when the company was named as one of the best places to work by Fortune, Burke and her team made sure to acknowledge their workforce’s contributions by handing out breakfast sandwiches and a “Thank You” note.
Self-sufficiency is one of Hubspot’s employee value propositions, giving each and every person in the workforce the autonomy to do his best work.
“Use good judgment” is their 3-word policy for pretty much everything the company does. No prying eyes behind your shoulders. No meticulous managers breathing down your neck at the cubicle. Hubspot didn’t hire top talents to police them, but instead trusts each employee that they’ll bring their best foot forward at the office.
But of course, you need more than autonomy to attract and keep top talents today. The guys at Hubspot clearly know this, and they built employee perks and satisfaction programs that everyone is sure to like.
One of the best bits about working for Hubspot is the unlimited vacation. This means employees spend less time waiting for a calendar holiday and worrying about balancing work and life – while spending more time staying productive and producing results.
For channel account executive Anna Norregaard, unlimited vacation allowed her to live an exciting life: a spring trip to Vietnam and Thailand, hiking Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak, indulging on street food in Ho Chi Minh, and even swimming with elephants!
Hubspot doesn’t skimp on employee fitness and health too, clearly understanding that healthy employees are happy and productive.
Healthy@Hubspot is an organisation-wide programme that invests in their employees’ well-being: a gym in Cambridge, fitness reimbursements everywhere else, fitness and nutrition classes, plus a tonne of company-sponsored fitness activities.
Mystery Dinners, on the other hand, is a fun way for employees to mix, mingle, and dine with other people at Hubspot.
These company-sponsored dinners are hosted by an executive and participating employees are informed where and who they’re going with at the day of the event. After the dinner, the whole group goes to a designated location to end the day with a celebration.
And staying true to Halligan and Shah’s vision of helping employees grow personally and professionally, the company has the Always Be Growing programme which includes classes taught by peers, tuition reimbursements, along with formal and informal programmes that help employees expand their horizons.
Hubspot may not be as massive or prestigious as other companies in this list. But with employee perks that make life easier and work-life balance programmes, it’s not surprising that it landed the 4th spot in Glassdoor’s Best Places To Work 2016.
Bain & Co., founded in 1973, quickly moved from small-time player to the top of the consulting game by adhering to founder Bill Bain’s philosophy – “results not reports!”
And looking at the unbiased reviews at Glassdoor, one gets the feeling that the company sticks to the same philosophy for delivering outstanding employee experience.
The consulting firm is no stranger to Glassdoor’s Best Place To Work awards.
It took the top spot in 2014 and securing the 2nd spot for 2015 and 2016, with employees raving about the firm’s excellent benefits including immediate health and dental insurance coverage, 401K savings plan, generous vacation policy, tuition assistance programme, and more.
For senior consultant Lori Estiverne, the best thing about working for Bain & Co. is creating awesome results for clients – getting to the heart of the issues and moving customers to take the right action. Not an easy feat and every Bainie would agree!
When you start working for the top management consulting firm, you start as a generalist who works with clients across a number of industries including media, credit cards, hospitals, consumer goods, retail, and more.
And while working across different industries provides valuable experience and opportunity to build up employee skills, it’s also riddled with challenges that can push a Bainie to his limits including long working hours. Fortunately, the company’s supportive and passionate culture is always to the rescue.
“A Bainie never lets another Bainie fail,” is a motto that everyone at Bain & Co. lives by. Should you need support, you can reach out to a Bainie from any of the firm’s 53 offices across 34 countries – and you can count on getting a helpful response.
Case teams made of partners, associate consultants, and support services work as a unit, driving results for Bain & Co. clients like a well-oiled machine.
Consultant Imogen Buchan openly admits that working at the firm can be intense, demanding her to work 50 hours per week sometimes. Not to mention the nature of their work involves traveling frequently, which can contribute to stress.
However, the firm’s awesome perks do a good job of reducing stress while helping Bainie’s stay fit and healthy – from onsite massages, in-house gyms, sleep and stress management sessions, to yoga sessions and more.
And to prepare newcomers for the challenges ahead, the consulting firm has fun training programmes in place that allow new Bainies to meet, network, and learn from other Bainies around the world.
The trainers assume no prior knowledge and will teach you everything you need to know. However, the learning doesn’t stop with Bain’s formal training programmes. Once you hit the floor, you get to work closely with direct supervisors and learn apprenticeship style.
For Imogen, this approach to employee training helped her develop skills and know-how which were completely alien to her prior to joining the company such as understanding different businesses in different industries, common pitfalls to avoid, approaching business problems with a critical mind, using analysis to find solutions, and more.
Topping this year’s Glassdoor Best Places To Work awards is Airbnb – a platform that allows traveling guests to book unique lodging with any of Airbnb’s hosts across 190 countries and 34,000 cities. However, Airbnb’s mission goes beyond bridging the gap between guests and hosts.
One of the company’s aims is to create an unparalleled workplace experience where every employee feels they belong. To achieve this, Airbnb created a team devoted to enhancing employee experience, headed by the Global Head of Employee Experience Mark Levy.
Fresh and healthy daily meals, free yoga sessions, cool office design and locations, fun-filled trips for employees, great compensation and vacation policy – Airbnb has all of these and more as one would expect from any company in Glassdoor’s list.
Where Airbnb differs from other businesses on the list, however, is in its commitment to creating a community by having an open, honest, and 2-way communication between everyone in the organisation.
Here are a few examples:
All Airbnb employees hold a bi-weekly world meeting, often held in San Francisco but everyone else joins in via live streaming. The executive team has a separate weekly meeting, and Mark Levy ensures that the notes from the meeting are distributed to every person in the company within 24 hours. This gives other employees the opportunity to ask questions, share their thoughts and ideas, and keep up with the latest developments in the company.
Walking into Airbnb’s San Francisco headquarters feels like walking into a warm and trendy inner city apartment building instead of an office, aligning with their mission of creating where people – hosts, guests, and employees – belong anywhere.
But while the company’s office and design evokes a feeling of belongingness, the secret sauce to truly creating such a culture in Airbnb is the “ground control” team according to Mark Levy.
This squad of 10 people is a part of the employee experience team, and their task is to bring the company culture from paper to life by looking after workplace environment, internal communications, employee rewards and recognition, celebrations, events, and more.
And to complete that feeling of belongingness wherever Airbnb folks go, the company provides an annual stipend of $2000 to travel anywhere in the world and stay at any of Airbnb’s hosts.
And employees make the most out of their travel credit according to one of the company’s UI designer Kyle Pickering – whether it’s traveling overseas, staying out of town for the weekend, or enjoying a staycation in a new region or city.
The travel credit programme encourages frequent travel by design: employees get $500 travel credit every quarter, which expires if you don’t use it. This encourages Airbnb employees to go on an adventure at least 4 times a year, and many go for more.
The programme isn’t just a perk, but also an invaluable tool that gives Airbnb employees incredible insight on how the service is doing, what needs improvement, and how to build on the experience.
Perhaps the 7 best places to work inspired you to take a look at your workplace and employees: are they as happy and productive as you want them to be? Or maybe there’s a lot of work to be done to improve your employees’ satisfaction and performance?
If the latter is true for you, here are 4 key takeaways from the 7 best places to work – takeaways that can help turn your workplace environment around for the better.
Nothing is as satisfying and fulfilling as free food when it comes to employee perks – and it’s not surprising that every company in this list offers it.
Providing free meals eliminates the need for employees to cook their food or go out of their way just to get a bite. A survey by grocery delivery service Peapod 67% of full-time employees with access to free food, drinks, and snacks are extremely or very happy with their current job.
You may not have the financial power to build a cafeteria like Facebook’s Epic Café and hire a culinary team to prep meals for your staff.
However, you can easily provide great meals with a micro-kitchen and a vending machine like VE Connect, which can vend fresh goodies like salads, sandwiches, and vegetable trays while pushing important company messages and announcements (employee engagement).
One fine example of making productivity easy is Facebook’s decision to add computer accessory vending machines throughout their campus. This allows employees to get headphones, USB cables, batteries, and other IT essentials without going through the time-consuming approval process.
You may want to consider having a VE Connect vending machine as it can be easily tweaked to vend technology items, pain-relievers, and other reasonably priced items your staff needs daily.
Now, that’s just one example. You can find other ways to improve employee productivity by looking at your current procedures.
Ask which processes are the most time-consuming for employees, which are unnecessary, and how you can eliminate these time-hogging processes.
Check out VE Connect and its awesome time-saving and revenue generating features. If you have any questions, reach out to us by phone and our friendly and expertly-trained staff will happily help you!
LinkedIn and Airbnb, in particular, did a great job of building a perks and satisfaction programme based on their mission and values.
LinkedIn aims to boost their user’s personal and professional growth, and their employee programmes clearly reflect that: monthly InDays for independent projects, Speaker Series from inspiring lecturers, LearnIn and ManageIn programs, $5,000-stipend for professional education, and more.
On the other hand, Airbnb’s mission of creating that sense of community and belonging wherever you go is very well mirrored by their welcoming office design, bi-weekly world meetings, their ground control team, and the $2000/year travel credit.
So have a sit with your team, review your company’s mission, and brainstorm: does your current employee perks program align with your mission and values? If not, what mission-driven employee benefits should you consider?
A flexible work schedule can do a lot for your company: healthier and happier employees, less turn-over and training costs, lower stress levels, and increased staff productivity.
Sadly, only a small percentage of businesses offers flexible scheduling – and it may not fit those companies with very limited manpower.
If that’s true for your business, at least consider gifting a flexible schedule (for about a week) as a reward for your top employees. Your best employees will surely appreciate it, and it’s a very cost-effective reward too!