Business Insider and Payscale released their annual report on the top US companies to work for in 2015. They evaluated companies based off of six criteria: job satisfaction, job stress, ability to telecommute, job meaning, experienced median pay/total cash compensation and salary delta.
#1 – Facebook
Hardly surprising, Facebook comes in at #1. Among the ranking criteria, 93% high job satisfaction is an incredible score.
Company headquarters has been described as an employee heaven – free gourmet food courts, on-site doctors, laundry services, commuter bicycles, an open climbing wall, to name only a few.
But more than their swank campus, the secret to Facebook’s employee satisfaction may lie in the real sense of creative freedom that they foster in their employees and the flat communication across the organization. Mark Zuckerberg holds regular Q&As with his employees – not only so that they can learn from him, but so that he can learn from them.
#2 – Google
Google comes in at second place with a high 84% of its 53,000 employees experiencing high job satisfaction. Employees at Google HQ enjoy an abundance of conveniences such as free meals, laundry, fitness services and free WIFI installed shuttles to and from work. Google also offers a great benefit packages and works hard to build a sense of camaraderie amongst their employees with events like holiday parties and open sporting facilities (no one needs to bowl alone at Google!).
Another key factor noted by employees is the ‘open and flexible’ company culture with weekly open forums with executives.
#3 – Amgen
Biotech company Amgen in The Thousand Oaks, California has 18,000 employees and boasts a 78% job satisfaction score and attractive median salary of $119,000. Amgen claims “for staff around the world, our mission to serve patients and our commitment to science makes Amgen a place where we can make a positive difference in people’s lives while pursuing a challenging and fulfilling career.” Which may explain why there is an 84% rate of high job meaning.
Work-life balance with flexibility in hours are a favourite amongst current employees, along with praise of “valuable work” surrounded by “smart employees” and great benefits.
#4 – Chevron
Chevron, whose headquarters are in San Ramon, California, is one of the world’s leading integrated energy and technology companies holding over 64,000 employees in total. With an attractive salary of $118,000 after five years working and 80%reporting a high level of job satisfaction, Chevron has owed the company’s success to “the ingenuity and commitment of its employees and their application of the most innovative technologies in the world.”
Chevron employees cite great work-life balance and the pervasive safety culture. Although they were less enthusiastic about the more traditional management structure which is less conducive to rapid innovation and change.
#5 – Bristol-Myers Squibb
New York City pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb employs around 24,000 and has an 81% rate of high job meaning. Sensible given that employees devote their time to producing life-saving medication. LIke Amgen and Chevron, they score big points for the work life balance, but receive some employee displeasure from the hierarchical and bureaucratic company structure.
So, what really matters?
A cursory look at the rankings and you might conclude that salary is the most important determinant of employee satisfaction. While it no doubt plays a role, employee feedback and employment studies have shown that company structure is the primary factor in job satisfaction.
Although highly innovative companies (Facebook, Google, etc.) tend to have less work/life balance, employees report being happier overall, most likely due to flat company structures and open lines of communication between management and employees. Companies with a more traditional structure report higher levels of employee stress, despite having more work-life balance.
While not definitive, the obvious conclusion is that employees are motivated by opportunities grow their careers within a company and are driven by a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Providing them with meaning can go farther than wooing them with perks and money.