Every year Fortune magazine releases its list of the country's best companies to work. But it's pretty silly when you think about it: Do you really think that the culture and benefits of working at The Container Store can be directly compared to the perks associated with a Google job? Putting them all on a list makes it seems like they succeed along similar dimensions, when it really couldn't be further from the truth. Every company is different, and they treat their employees differently with regard to the culture, benefits, and job roles.
We're happy to report then that Fortune has made an interactive infographic of their top 25 companies to work for in 2011, produced by Tommy McCall, that really gets to the root of why people like working at certain companies. Essentially, it boils down the thousands of employee surveys they gathered into an easily digestible format, showing exactly what works people most often cite when raving about their jobs.
The above Fortune Best Companies To Work For is an interactive chart that works as follows:
- It starts off with a company view. Using the blue elevator bar you can view all 25 companies.
- Clicking on each company, brings up a word cloud, where words most frequently mentioned show up larger.
- You can click on any of those words to bring up the actual quotations. It gets interesting is when you compare the words that pop up for different companies.
You might think that pay and benefits loom large in what makes a job there good. But in fact, people are far more likely to cite being a "member" of a "team." The quotations tell you a lot about each company. You may hear that one reason that people enjoy their jobs so much is that they feel like they're part of a collective effort, working with people who share a common goal. The culture somehow really does instill a sense of shared purpose, which is perhaps the hardest thing for any organization to accomplish.
If you click on BCG's word cloud, the words "Team" and "client" often come up, telling you that the massive consulting firm also instills something like a client-focused culture -- in other words, a sense of purpose beyond your own job. But workers are far more likely to cite "people" and "benefit," showing you that the culture seems more about individual relationships with co-workers, and cushy 401K matches make the long hours worth it.
If you click on Google, #2 on Fortune's list, the words "People" again comes up often, but "team" isn't even on the radar -- this isn't a hugely team-oriented culture. But the other words that loom largest are "free," "food," "perk," and "benefit." Google might be a fun place to work, and you might work among amazing people, but it's hard to escape the idea that the firm simply buys people's satisfaction by throwing free stuff at them. That's a far cry from The Container Store or BCG.
The infographic is perhaps even more useful in it's second way of viewing the survey results. Instead of looking by companies, you can look by words, then you can click on them to see what people say at different companies, while using that word. Thus, you can use the list to search for companies who value the same things you -- whether it's big perks or a family oriented environment.
COMMENTARY: Fortune hit it on the nail when they pointed out that Google was more about "people" than "teams". If you read my previous blog post about Google's new Pittsburgh offices, you can clearly see how Google showers its employees with a sort of playground office environment. Whether that type of office environment is conducive for teamwork is questionable. Facebook does the same thing by serving free four star cuisine. You will also recall that in November Google showered its entire staff with Christmas bonuses and a $10,000 raise. That action were more to stem the tide of defections of their engineers to Facebook, their mortal enemy.
Just so you know, Fortune's Best Companies To Work For in 2011 lists 100 companies. You can find the complete list HERE. Fortune's Best Companies To Work For in 2010 list is HERE. SAS makes #1 two years in a row. Google maintained its # 4 ranking in both 2010 and 2011. Zappo's, Boston Consulting Group and Recreational Equipment moved up several notches in 2011. Qualcomm dropped out of the 2011 list. World Foods and Container Store made the top 25 list for the first time. Surprisingly, Apple never made either list. Ain't that weird?
Here's the Fortune Top 25 Best Companies To Work For in 2011:
Courtesy of an article dated February 4, 2011 appearing in Fast Company Design