Google (GOOG 0.87%) (GOOGL 0.92%)employees are apparently happier with their employer than workers at any other large company in the United States, with Google taking first place in Glassdoor's latest 50 Best Places to Work survey with a score of 4.5 on a 5-point scale. While the company has ranked among the 50 best for six consecutive years, this is the first time it topped the list.
The winners are determined by employee feedback shared on Glassdoor via an online survey of the company. In a blog post announcing the winners, the Glassdoor team wrote:
As part of the company review survey, employees share what it's like to work at their company by rating their overall satisfaction as well as workplace factors like work-life balance, compensation and benefits, and career advancement opportunities. Additionally, employees share the benefits and downsides of working at their companies and offer advice to senior management.
Google was also recognized by Fortune magazine and the Great Place to Work Institute as the 2014 "Best Company to Work For."
Here are three reasons why Google employees rave about their employer.
In business school, Google is used as a textbook example of a new, top-notch style of corporate culture with more flexibility, decentralization, communication, and empowerment.
Consider this excerpt from a Glassdoor description of the company culture. It provides a window into the company's unorthodox, anti-bureaucratic approach:
We strive to maintain the open culture often associated with start-ups, in which everyone is a hands-on contributor and feels comfortable sharing ideas and opinions. In our weekly all-hands ("TGIF") meetings -- not to mention over email or in the cafe -- Googlers ask questions directly to Larry, Sergey, and other execs about any number of company issues. Our offices and cafes are designed to encourage interactions between Googlers within and across teams and to spark conversation about work as well as play.
But as Google top management often acknowledges, it's ultimately the people who make the company what it is. This is more than a cliche nod to the hard-working individuals who staff the search giant. Google's clear emphasis on talent and retention makes a sound case for the importance of individuals at the company. Google is known for hiring bright people and valuing ability over experience. Of course, it pays employees well enough to attract and keep talent, which brings us to our next point.
Compensation and benefits
Googlers do well for themselves. On Glassdoor, employees rate compensation and benefits a whopping 36.3% above average. By comparison, employees of Apple rate overall compensation and benefits 24.4% above average.
Google truly stands out when it comes to benefits and perks. From on-site physicians and nurses to reimbursement for classes and degrees that help Googlers with their jobs, the company sets the standard when it comes to taking care of employees.
Google is also famous for its food.
"Food, food, food. 15+ cafes on main campus (MTV) alone. Mini-kitchens, snacks, drinks, free breakfast/lunch/dinner, all day, errr'day [sic]," reads an anonymous Glassdoor review from an employee who worked at the company for more than eight years.
By offering above-average compensation and benefits, Google attempts to remove every barrier that could distract its employees from their ability to be top performers.
Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page receives quite a bit of well-deserved praise in the media. Importantly, employees agree Page runs an excellent show. He has a 96% approval rating (up from 93%) putting him at No. 11 on Glassdoor's Highest Rated CEOs 2014 survey.
Page is both ambitious and capable. To capture his big dreams, look no further than his emphasis on wild "moon shots" like self-driving cars and fleets of stratospheric balloons to improve the world's Internet access. His nimble and effective leadership is clearly evident in how he has rapidly and firmly led the company successfully in the Internet's sudden transition to mobile.
Best place for investors?
Google's top rank at Glassdoor as the best place to work is great news for the company's shareholders, suggesting the culture for employees is as rewarding and fulfilling as ever.
A culture that fosters fulfillment and retention of top talent is obviously an important characteristic of an enduring company. Warren Buffett, arguably the greatest investor the world has ever known and CEO and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, argued in his 2010 annual shareholder letter that corporate culture is one of Berkshire's competitive advantages: "Our final advantage is the hard-to-duplicate culture that permeates Berkshire. And in businesses, culture counts."
Obviously, it takes more than an excellent employee culture to make a company a worthwhile investment. But Google's top spot on Glassdoor's list of best places to work is yet another reason to count the company among the A-list of potential investments.