Glassdoor recently released their 2021 list of the best places to work. They write about their number one, Bain & Company, that on the “heels of a tumultuous and life-changing year due to COVID-19, it’s no surprise that the #1 Best Place to Work winner is an organization that creates solutions and delivers results that shape the world for the better”.

Bain & Company has a score of 4.6/5 on Glassdoor and is the winner for the thirteenth year in a row, followed closely by NVIDIA (with a score of 4.5) and In-N-Out Burger (also a score of 4.5).

What’s valuable about Glassdoor’s top employer lists is that they are all user generated, meaning they’re based on reviews written by employees (past or current). Although there’s no one specific thing that all these top companies have in common—as they vary across a wide range of sizes and industries—there are some common elements. 

Continue reading to learn more about what makes a company one of the best places to work, and what your organization can take as inspiration from them. 

A culture of growth

For the majority of people, career growth is essential to their happiness. According to an article on what makes a company a great place to work for, professional growth should be a priority for employers and rather than focusing on growing skills that will benefit the company, “great companies look for ways to grow the company based on employees’ passions”.

Related Reading: 10 Definitive Statements to Create a Company Culture of Growth

For growth, companies need to offer advancement opportunities, learning and development programs, and have organizational growth plans in addition to roles and projects that challenge their employees. According to research, almost half of millennial employees (42%) say that being able to grow at a company is their number one priority. 

Purpose over profits

One of the common elements mentioned in many of the top companies’ reviews is core values, and how important they are to employees aligning themselves with the work they do. A senior software director at NVIDIA writes that “[t]he core values at NVIDIA – intellectual honesty, innovation, speed, excellence and working as one team – are ingrained into everything we do” and that’s why employees love working there.

Related Reading: How a Purpose-Driven Workplace Impacts the Employee Experience

The importance of purpose at work can’t be overstated. One survey found that employees are three times more likely to stay with a company if they’re able to derive meaning from their work. Additionally, according to LinkedIn’s Purpose at Work Global Report, 73% of professionals that identify as purpose-driven at work are satisfied with their jobs. 

Care and support

Remote work means that office life and home life are more integrated than ever before. Employee support has become virtual and much more holistic in nature, with employers introducing new perks and benefits for remote workers. 

Related Reading: Outside-the-Box Company Perks to Improve the Employee Experience

One survey found that 60% of employees rated benefits as “a very important contributor to job satisfaction”. While it’s true that employees may be willing to sacrifice pay and comprehensive benefits for work they’re passionate about, they’d still rather earn competitive wages and have their wellness needs met. 

Ultimately, employees want to feel valued and supported by their company. A big part of that, this year and last, is how organizations are responding to COVID-19 and the measures they’re taking to ensure their employees feel safe and supported.

Other considerations

Here’s a (non-comprehensive) list of other factors that make a company one of the best places to work for:

  • Transparent leadership, where leaders hold themselves accountable and encourage two-way feedback
  • Flexibility, which gives employees the opportunity to work out their own schedule, prioritize tasks themselves, and have the freedom to get their work done in the way that makes the most sense for them
  • Trust, where employees feel they can rely on their leaders and coworkers, and in turn be trusted that they are capable of doing their jobs 
  • Recognition, which means taking the time to acknowledge both professional and personal achievements of your employees


Did this article on what the best places to work have in common give you some inspiration? Share it with your network, and inspire others. 

Want more content like this,
straight to your inbox?

Subscribe to our monthly email roundup of helpful HR resources.

Related Posts