There's no denying that the quality of a CEO can dictate whether any given company succeeds over the long run. And that's especially true in the fast-paced, ever-evolving world of technology.
Arguably, no one knows better how a CEO is performing than his or her employees. With that in mind, Glassdoor recently released its list of the top 50 CEOs in America for companies with more than 1,000 employees. The catch? The rankings depend entirely on whether the employees of the company approve of the way their CEO is leading the company.
Glassdoor's list encompasses a wide variety of industries, but I think it's telling for investors to see which tech CEOs, in particular, rounded out the top to get an idea of why the companies they lead continue to thrive. Without further ado, here are the top three highest-rated tech CEOs in America.
No. 1: Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD.DL)
First, with a stunning 100% approval rate in 2014, LinkedIn's beloved Jeff Weiner easily took the top spots both in tech and overall. That rating has changed to 99% as of this writing, which would still be enough to secure his position at No. 1.
Not that it should come as a huge surprise. LinkedIn recently came in at No. 23 in Glassdoor's Top 50 "Best Places to Work in 2015" among large companies -- just below Apple at No. 22 -- with an impressive 91% of all employees weighing in to say they'd recommend the company to a friend.
But why do Jeff Weiner's employees love him so much? For one reason, he's clear about the kind of people LinkedIn tends to hire, and with whom he prefers to work. In a LinkedIn status update last August, for example, Weiner succinctly wrote, "In simplest terms possible, the people I most enjoy working with dream big, get sh*t done, and know how to have fun."
He also provided this comically useful Venn diagram to illustrate:
Weiner elaborated in a post a few weeks later:
I've reached a point in my career where I want to be surrounded by people who not only share a vision, but a genuine commitment to upholding their company's culture and values. They are team players, don't take themselves too seriously, and "know how to have fun." [...] At the nexus of these three circles are the people I most enjoy working with. I'm extraordinarily grateful to have the opportunity to do that every day.
It also helps that -- as Weiner's own LinkedIn profile points out -- he helped foster exceptional growth at the company after taking the helm in December, 2008. From that time through the end of 2014, LinkedIn expanded to 23 languages and more than 30 offices around the globe, grew its membership base more than tenfold, to 347 million people, and increased revenue from $78 million to $2.2 billion.
Ultimately, if you strive to build a company of people who collectively work to fulfill the three tenets above, and at the same time consistently uphold these tenets yourself, the respect and approval of your employees should follow.
No. 2: Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB)
In second place among current tech chiefs and No. 10 overall is Facebook's 31-year-old co-founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, who scored a solid 93% approval rating. Incidentally, as of this writing, Zuck's employee approval rate has risen even further, to 95%. And similar to LinkedIn above, a whopping 90% of employees say they'd recommend Facebook to a friend.
Those high ratings are likely tied to the fact that Facebook is renowned for its office culture, community feel, generous pay, and perks like free food, an on-site gym with fitness classes, and even bicycles provided by the company for employees to more effectively traverse its large campus.
What's more, a common element of praise in Glassdoor reviews by Facebook employees is the opportunity to work with brilliant people in this incredible setting. And rather than focus on making money above all else, Facebook works toward Zuckerberg's stated goal of "connecting the world" through both its social media platforms, as well as the "Internet.org" movement Zuckerberg helped create to bring affordable Internet to the two-thirds of the world population that still doesn't have it.
Combine his worthy ambition with Facebook's accelerating efforts to monetize those platforms -- revenue rose 41.6% last quarter to $3.5 billion, while adjusted net income increased 28.4%, to $1.2 billion -- and it's no surprise that Facebook employees are proud of what their founding CEO enables them to do on a day-to-day basis.
Finally, in third place among current tech bosses -- and just behind Zuckerberg at No. 11 overall -- is Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page. Page secured a 93% employee approval rating in 2014. And like Zuckerberg, his rating as of this writing stands even higher, at 96%. What's more, a full 93% of Google employees are willing to recommend the company to a friend.
After all, Google's perks are practically the stuff of legend. They include free food, on-site doctors free of charge, and an "80/20" rule, which dictates that employees should spend 80% of their time dedicated to their primary job, and 20% -- or one day a week -- working on a project about which they're passionate that could also help the company.
Thanks to the massive potential of "moon shot" projects he regularly fosters at the "Google X" lab, Page was also accurately described as, "The most ambitious CEO in the universe" last year by Fortune Magazine. These projects include everything from self-driving cars to package-delivering robots, to plans to launch hundreds of small, low-flying satellites to beam the Internet to unreached corners of the globe.
It's hard not to admire that kind of world-changing ambition. And luckily for us, this seems to be something all three of America's top-rated tech CEOs have in common. With leaders like these at the helm, I'm excited to watch what LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google accomplish in the coming years.