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Want to Work for a Great Company? Here Are 7 Things to Look For


There are lots of variables that go into creating the best working environment. How do we judge what a great company looks like? What makes for a happy employee? What makes a great boss?

google cafeteria

(Photo Credit: romanboed/Flickr)

In a recent article on Mashable, seven companies were highlighted as “the best tech companies to work for.” The names, including Google and Zappos, crop up all the time on these lists, but the real question is, what makes these employers so beloved? Here’s what to look for, if you want to work for a great company.

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PerksGoogle usually comes out as the front-runner for job perks. It’s hard to beat their free food, free laundry and dry cleaning services, gyms open all day and night, bocce courts, and bowling alley. SAS Institute is also known for their perks like subsidized Montessori childcare, a free healthcare center and unlimited sick days.

Salary – When a job seeker decides where to apply for a job or create a career, salary usually comes out near the top of her list of considerations. Search for salaries by job title, geographic location, or employer, here. Money is not the only thing to consider, however, and in today’s working world you might find salary ranks lower than some of the following considerations.

Environment – If you’re a woman looking for a company that appreciates you, the frontrunners are IBM, Ernst & Young, and Marriot. They all have one thing in common – more women in the ranks.

IBM has a female CEO. Of Ernst & Young’s 29,400 employees, some 46 percent are women, including 45 percent of their senior managers. And they’ve also got a mentorship program where partners advocate for promotions for women. When it comes to Marriott’s 98,400 employees, 55 percent are women, including 58 percent of managers and 34 percent of executives. And finally, here’s an infographic showing the best companies that nurture and promote careers for women of color.

Cutting Edge Work – Need a company doing exciting or forward-thinking work? Check out Plastic Logic, which debuted Papertab, a fully functional touch screen tablet computer that is as thin as a sheet of paper and flexible. Or perhaps you’d like to work on Wireless Electricity with Witricity and help create electric hubs that can power your house. For more future-work companies, click here.

Flexibility – Whether you have small children or older parents that need care, you love to volunteer in your community, or you’ve got a hobby that demands attention, companies that offer flexibility in your working hours are on the rise. At, they provide employees paid days off to volunteer and a child carecenter. And at S.C. Johnson, they provide a concierge service for your errands and other small jobs as well making childcare available. Imagine, no more standing in line at the post office!

Continuing Education – Forget about the lattes for a minute. Starbucks recently came out with their education program, which reimburses employees taking classes via online college ASU. Criticism aside, any company making strides towards education is good. Also doing education promotion, the J.M. Smucker Company reimburses employees 100 percent for tuition costs with no cap. Plus, jam!

Fun – In the fun category, Zappos is a front runner. They’ve got company picnics, holiday parties, and laughing yoga. They also try to recognize people in each department, instead of the company as a whole, to make sure more people get recognized for their efforts. And at Elite SEM, which comes in at No. 1 on the Crain’s Best Places to Work 2013 list, they not only nurture career advancement, they share the company’s profits and offer “Fun Week,” a seven-day getaway for the staff. 

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What do you think makes a company great to work for? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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