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Did you ever wonder why a few companies consistently earn the Employee’ Choice Award for the Best Places to Work? And, do some award-winning organizations surprise you as you’ve never even heard of them?

Although Glassdoor’s list is based on quantitative measures (of employee ratings), it is the qualitative traits that influence employee decisions, to accept a job offer and stay with a company. “Soft” factors, such as culture and mission motivate people to show up to work each and every day – and the awards reflect just that.

After scouring through Glassdoor’s pages and underlying quantitative ratings. This distillation has helped us uncover the traits every Best place to Work has in common. The bullet points below each category are the specific items that fell into each of the four overarching traits.

#1 Mission

It is the reason for the existence of a company, giving employees a sense of purpose and motivating them to work. Research states that mission-driven companies have 40% higher retention levels and 30% higher innovation levels. Additionally, they tend to be first or second in their market segment. Most companies use their mission to inform everything they do:

  • Mission / Vision / values-driven
  • Challenging and exciting work
  • Direction of the company

#2 Culture

According to a recent survey of business and HR leaders, culture and engagement are the primary challenges faced by most companies around the world. Having a robust culture of engaged employees has now become an essential for retaining, attracting talent. Additionally, it also enhances productivity. Investing in company culture pays off with happy employees. And, in analyzing award-winning company traits, a consistent thread with high marks is the company culture.

  • Unique Culture that Aligns with the mission of the company
  • Great benefits and perks

A people-focused company helps its staff grow to become their best. If culture is all about the work environment that makes a company great, a focus on people is about empowering the individual employee. “The balance of power has shifted from employer to employee, forcing business leaders to build an organization that engages employees as sensitive, passionate, creative contributors.”, wrote Josh Bersin in the Deloitte Review article Becoming Irresistible.

  • Smart colleagues
  • Employees feel valued

#4 Transparency

Being on the list does not mean you have to be perfect. Numerous factors are considered to determine a placement on the list, one of the most important is the company rating. The average for the Best Places to Work 2017 U.S. Large Employers List is 4.3 on a scale of 5. The average overall rating for Glassdoor companies is 3.3. Award winning companies know that they are not always going to get it right, and are willing to admit when they don’t. This, is often reflected in the management’s approach, and in the willingness of the company to engage. Transparency is enhanced by completing a robust profile on social media and responding to reviews. 62% of Glassdoor users agree that their perception improves after seeing a company responding to a review. Actively joining the conversation and sharing your organization’s point of view is essential.

  • Transparent Senior leadership
  • Opportunity for Advancement

Now, it is your turn to take a step-forward toward being the Best Place to Work at! As every winner will attest, taking an active approach by focusing on people, culture, mission and transparency may just be what lands you on the list in years to come!