Five companies that have the best culture in the world

Date: 05 Jun 2020

Author: Chris Radley

It has to be said, we love a good list! And we love to know how companies get on them.

Forbes Best Employers list for 2019 results from collaborating with Statista to survey workers at the top 2000 companies globally. They asked workers to rate their own employer, and if they would recommend their employer to a friend or family member. For good measure, they also asked which other companies they admired.

Here’s their shortlist:

  1. Alphabet (Google) for the third year in arrow, US search giant    

  2. Microsoft, US software and programming megastar

  3. Red Hat, another notable US software and programming business (and the first time they’ve ranked)

  4. Apple, US computer hardware darling

  5. SAP, another software and programming superstar - hailing from Germany

Top view of eight people doing a high five in a circle

What makes these companies special?

Alphabet/Google pays more than lip service to the concept of employee happiness, and (until recently) has consistently ranked highly, if not at the top of most of the Top 100 workplaces lists.

Why? Google places a premium on making and keeping their people excited, fulfilled, productive, and creatively challenged - basically setting a gold standard for employers worldwide. Employees rank the company highly for job satisfaction and job meaning. Google obviously has a budget that allows them to invest in a unique workplace with extensive employee perks. They also pay exceptionally well, which doesn’t hurt either.

According to Glassdoor, who also publish a highly regarded 100 Best Places to Work list, Microsoft hits the spot with employees saying “You are working with a group of smartest people in the world. The daily work is interesting and challenging.”

Red Hat is acclaimed by its employees for delivering customer free time, a culture of openness and collaboration, freedom, and work-life balance. Workers rate the company highly for the onboarding process, flexibility in work hours, the contribution to the community and trust and responsibility placed in them. 96% of workers say it’s a great place to work, compared with a 59% average at most US-based businesses. And 98% of them are proud to work there.

Employees describe Apple as having a “fast-paced, goal-oriented environment.” They say that the firm makes personal development and team collaboration incredibly easy to cultivate. Apple also won brownie points for the excellent benefits packages they offer to both full and part-time employees.

SAP is recognised for similar cultural strengths as Red Hat. Staff say they are proud to tell others where they work and feel good about the ways the business contributes to the community, as well as rating their honest and ethical business practices. The facilities and onboarding process also get a big thumbs up.

Why do they do it?

Why do Google (and others) fall over themselves in their efforts to rank as an admired workplace?

To put it plainly, it’s about talent. Attracting great people from all generations, and rewarding, motivating, and keeping them. A commitment to well-designed human resource strategies drives down the cost of finding the right people, retaining them, and getting the most out of them.

However, just going through the motions of having a cool culture isn’t enough. An amazing workplace culture runs more than skin deep. It’s more than window dressing; it should permeate every action, communication, and relationship. Consistently, and from the heart.


How do they do it?

Without fail, these Top 5 companies (and to be honest any self-respecting business with an employee engagement strategy) have invested in sophisticated and well thought out recruitment and onboarding processes. And they’ve followed them up with structured and guided orientation programmes (which not only entrench employees in the company culture but means that they hit the ground running).
They place a strong emphasis on company culture and fit, from the very outset, and focus on integrating new hires into the workforce. After all, teamwork and collaboration drive innovation and company profits.
And to top it off, they give new employees the tools and resources to succeed.

Someone standing in front of a smiley face on the pavement

But then…the power of employee sentiment

While you’d think Google has secured their Top 5 position forever, it’s not so.

Along with other leading tech companies, like Facebook and Apple, 2019 was, in fact, a year highlighted by numerous issues that attracted criticism. In some cases, employees have even publicly opposed executive decisions. For example, Facebook employees have pushed back internally against leadership on some policy issues, including the decision not to fact-check political advertisements. For upcoming generations, this failure undermines their need to work for a business whose ethics and attitudes echoes their own.

In Glassdoor’s 2019 annual best workplace survey, HubSpot gazumped Google’s prime position. Which is proof that fame is fleeting, and a delicate balancing act for even the seemingly unassailable.


Making culture front and foremost

While it would be great if we all had Google’s money to throw at it, you don’t need that sort of budget - you can be more creative.

For example, instead of handing out cash bonuses, cannabis marketing platform Baker Technologies hosts a four-day, staff-only trip to Mexico for some relaxed team building.

Many other businesses provide constrained budgets for fun team activities with the proviso they support their company values. Other examples include a company which introduced an unlimited-vacation policy and instituted a minimum leave period when the leadership team found its employees weren’t taking off enough time.

While it’s all very well having the funding and vision to design or reinforce a great culture, applying a consistent and intelligent nurturing focus needs help. A strong company culture is about being honest, transparent, and consistent.

It certainly helps to have a Human Resource Management solution to enhance and support your HR initiatives (however modest) and goals. These solutions come with tools which allow you to gauge the power of employee sentiment, and hopefully, take it on board. And they ensure that you recognise, reward, and retain their people while attracting new generations of workers.

Watch this space to see which employers are ranked as Best Workplaces in New Zealand and Australia, and why

Explore more...

Person Holding White Ceramic Mug Beside Laptop

Latest Insights

All the tips, insights and best practices guides on employee experience, people management, wellbeing & payroll.

Explore now
A plant with books

Books & Guides

eBooks and guides to help you master employee engagement.

Explore now
  1. Jemini
  2. Insights
  3. Latest Insights
  4. Five companies that have the best culture in the world