Glassdoor Lists the Best (Yes, Really!) Places to Work

From a site best known as the home of the disgruntled worker comes “The 50 Best Places to Work” list.

It’s true. It’s true. Glassdoor actually has loads of reviewers who like where they work, are happy there, and are telling the world about it. Their favorite employer? Facebook by a nose.

The social networking site made the Glassdoor list for the first time with a 4.6 rating. Next was Southwest Airlines, which headed the list last year.

This is the third year Glassdoor has released a best-places-to-work list. Based on a survey of at least 25 company employees, the list demonstrates pretty convincingly that not every one who posts to the employer review site is angry, bitter, or unhappy.

“Through anonymous employee reviews and surveys, Glassdoor offers a unique look into the top U.S. employers and some of the factors that make employees at these companies more satisfied with their jobs,” says Robert Hohman, co-founder and CEO of Glassdoor.

To be sure, there are plenty of negative reviews on the site. “AA is not worth it unless you’re not planning on going to college or finishing high school,” says one reviewer about American Apparel, a company that rated a 2.7.

But Glassdoor has plenty more to offer than just a place to vent. The list released Tuesday night in California shows a consistency with other top employer lists. A comparison with the venerable “Best Companies to Work For” list, published in Fortune, shows the two lists share 11 employers in common. Even more companies might have made the two lists but for the fact that Glassdoor lists 50 and Best Companies to Work for has 100.

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The methodologies of the two lists is also vastly different — companies have to apply and pay to be rated in the the Best Companies to Work for list. Glassdoor’s list is based on a survey. Here’s how Glassdoor explains the process:

“Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards rely solely on the input of employees, who provide constructive feedback on their work environment and senior management throughout the year via an anonymous survey. The survey addresses eight key workplace factors that include work/life balance, career opportunities, communication, compensation and benefits, fairness and respect, employee morale, recognition and feedback, and senior leadership.”

Besides rating the company, reviewers also rate the CEO, which Glassdoor turns into a ranking. Ken Powell, CEO of General Mills, topped the list with a perfect 100 percent score. The lowest scorer was Jerry Fishman, CEO of Analog Devices. However, his 55 percent was an anomaly. All the rest of the rated CEOs scored above 70 percent; in most cases, well above.

The complete Glassdoor list is here, and includes, where appropriate, the Best Companies ranking.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


11 Comments on “Glassdoor Lists the Best (Yes, Really!) Places to Work

  1. So having 25 separate survey submissions is the sole criteria for an entire company and its CEO being ranked on the Glassdoor list? If so, this renews, reinforces, and cements my lack of faith in surveys.

  2. Forgot to mention, since the surveys are anonymous there isn’t any verification that they actually work at the company. So Facebook is number one based on 59 anonymous surveys. I think to be a true great place to work the folks conducting the survey need to ensure that actual employees are completing the survey.

  3. But… If you take a look at the companies on the list majority of them land on other “best places to work” lists from more renown organizations like Fortune and Business Week.

  4. Renowned? You have to meet “eligibility” requirements and pay to be included in those renowned surveys. Is there any other survey where you would lend credence to the outcome if payment was required to participate?

    This is advertorial garbage at its corporate pinnacle.

  5. I’m in the unusual position of agreeing with Dave P. re: “Pay to Play” Best Place to Work Awards. I like to think that the “Big Guns” haven’t yet “gamed” Glassdoor, and I look forward to Glassdoor’s “Worst Places to Work 2011” List, similar to the one the published last year:

    Glassdoor Reveals Lowest Rated Companies; United Stays Grounded as Gibson Guitar Strikes A Cord (sic) With Employees

    Posted by Glassdoor Team • December 15th, 2009 • 11 Comments

    As 10% of the US population struggles to find work, employees are sounding off on providing real time ratings¹ and reviews of their employers and providing job seekers with helpful insight that include cautionary tales of companies to avoid.

    In concert with the release of the Employees’ Choice Awards for Top 50 Best Places to Work in 2010, Glassdoor has identified the 25 lowest-rated companies, according to employees who voluntarily completed a 20-question survey. Among those companies that have received at least 25 reviews from U.S.-based employees in the past year, the lowest rated is Gibson Guitar, followed closely by United Airlines and Spherion.

    Here are some recent employee reviews that reveal why these companies fall short in terms of company satisfaction:

    “Good people overall…[but] An absolutely bizarre culture that top-to-bottom seems to revolve solely around trying not to upset the CEO.” – Anonymous Gibson Employee (Location n/a)

    “Job security is always an issue and stressful to one’s life and home life. Extremely dysfunctional pay scale system. Most of the employees have placed their heart and soul in to this company only to have their face slapped for doing so.” – United Airlines Supervisor Airport Operations (Location n/a)
    “Poor communication from management regarding my assignment and other employment opportunities within the organization.” – Spherion Project Administrator (San Francisco, CA)
    One thing common among lowest-rated companies is finger pointing at senior management and CEO. In fact, only two CEOs on this list have an approval rating higher than 30%: Cognizant Tech Solution’s Frank D’Souza (40% approval) and Fastenal’s Will Oberton (42%). In addition, a handful of CEOs have consistently appeared on the Glassdoor CEO Watch List, including: United Airlines’ Glenn Tilton, Rain Bird’s Anthony LaFetra and Level 3 Communications’ Jim Crowe.

  6. Keith – I’m desperately trying to disagree with you… but I can’t. (I sure hope we don’t lose any cred over this). I can only reflect on one tiny part of your response.

    That is: I don’t think the “Big Guns” are being gamed by Glassdoor. Rather, it’s the reverse. For Glassdoor it’s a marketing coup to be able to fly the flags of many well known organizations while ostensibly evaluating them. Couple that with the “winners” posting “The Best” awards on their corporate sites (referencing Glassdoor, of course) and you have the perfect symbiotic relationship. Albeit based on nonsense, but symbiotic nevertheless.

    Three years ago a Glassdoor was something to look through as you ate your General Mills cereal. Today it’s company that “evaluates” General Mills… and gets written about in “News and Features” sections.

    All I can say is, “Game On”!

  7. Hey Dave,
    let’s toss this one up to coincidence, but if we start agreeing more……

    Anyway, I hope GD doesn’t sell out, and that we continue to have a “Worst of” list, too. IMHO, it would be better if they adopt an approach similar to what Consumer’s Reports have/used to have in which a good rating in CR couldn’t be used in a rated company’s advertising. We shall see.

    Happy Holidays, Dave and Everybody!

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