What Makes a Company a “Best Place to Work”?
If you have ever wondered what the “best companies to work for” are, you’ve probably typed that phrase into Google or another search engine and scrolled through the results. In doing so, you likely found lots and lots of lists from news outlets, market research groups, and other ranking-driven companies. But how do you know which list is the best or most accurate? Which one should you pay attention to? My take: it depends. First off, it depends on whose opinions were considered when putting together the ranking. Was it all senior-level employees? A certain identity-based group, like women or Asian American employees? Employees in a certain geographic area? The more representative the audience of you and your experiences, the more likely the results will be accurate for you as well. It also depends on what matters to you and what criteria you would use to call somewhere a “best place to work.” For example, are you looking for a highly flexible work schedule, competitive benefits, or both? How about an inclusive company culture, professional development opportunities, or something else? Each ranked list you come across online is based on a specific set of criteria, and it’s important to find out what those criteria are to see how well the list matches your expectations.
10 Best Places to Work for Asian Americans
Let’s take a look at an example. Fortune and Great Place to Work joined forces in 2015 to conduct a nation-wide survey of employees at 630 companies. They published many different lists of results from this survey, one of which was the 10 Best Places to Work for Asian Americans. Upon further looking into their methodology, I learned that in order to be under consideration for this list, a company needed to have a higher percentage of Asian American employees than the overall percentage of Asian Americans in the US workforce. I also learned that the Asian American employees who were surveyed were specifically asked about 5 perceptions they had about their employer:
- Fairness of promotions
- Opportunities for advancement and professional development
- Access to senior leadership
- The feeling of honest connections with colleagues
- How comfortable they feel being themselves at work
If some of the top considerations you have in choosing a place to work appear on this list, that’s an indication that this list might be helpful for you. If not, you may want to keep looking and find another. In case these considerations do attract your interest, some fun facts about the Forbes/Great Place to Work list include:
- The 10 companies listed are headquartered in 6 different states, including one in our home state of Connecticut
- There are 2 nonprofits, 2 private companies, and 6 public companies on the list
- The companies represent 6 different industries, including biotechnology & pharmaceuticals, electronics, financial services and insurance, healthcare, hospitality, and information technology
The Best Place to Work for You
As you continue your online search for the “best companies to work,” I encourage you to keep these considerations in mind. Make sure you find lists that represent who you are and your priorities in the workplace. If you want to talk through some of the lists you find or get some advice on how to define your own ideal workplace, I encourage you to reach out to a career coach to have these conversations.