What makes Google, Google? Amazon, Amazon? Or to put it more broadly, what defines the best companies to work for?
It starts with the employees. People are the true building blocks of any company, and to build innovative, cutting-edge strategies and then execute them effectively (building a competitive advantage) requires a capacity for attracting and retaining a high-quality pool of workers.
To find out which companies are the most attractive landing spots for employees, we partnered with Fortune and asked 13,882 adults out of our pool of over 3 million daily respondents on SurveyMonkey’s platform.
So which companies are the best to work for? What ideas and activities do they share in building their employer brand? How can your organization use similar ideas to enable your own employees to be the best versions of themselves at work? Let’s find out.
And for those of us who are politically inclined…
There are a lot of lists to look at here, but to make it easier, we’ve bolded three companies that appear in each of these lists—with the exception of Trump voters. Take one more look and this time, note the bolded companies...
Why highlight these three companies? For one, it turns out that Google, Intel, and Amazon each survey their employees extensively to better understand and improve on their employees’ experience.
But how are each of these companies running surveys and in what ways has it benefited them? Let’s dig in!
The people who design Google’s workplace culture make full use of what we call Employee Powered Data. They’ve dedicated a hefty amount of resources—whether it be industrial organizational psychologists, behavioral economists, or statisticians—to continually have their pulse on the employee experience and discover improvements.
What is Google’s staff doing to uncover these improvements? For one thing, they’re using surveys! Surveys run at several stages of the employee experience, each serving a unique purpose.
These surveys are given to employees every 6 months and ask questions about the quality of the manager’s feedback, their managing style, and whether they’d recommend the manager to other Googlers. Once at least three responses are collected, the manager receives an anonymized report of the responses.
If the responses are exceptionally positive, they’d receive public recognition and become role models for other managers. Should the results be less than positive, the managers would receive extensive coaching and support, which Google claims, helps 75% of them improve within a quarter.
It has a fun ring to it, right? This survey is significantly more extensive than any of the others Googlers take, with an estimated completion time of 30 minutes. Yet, it receives an exceptionally high response rate, at 88% or higher. The survey gives employees the opportunity to evaluate issues that they find most important and create employee volunteer groups to address the issues that come up most frequently.
The terms keep getting catchier. Roughly 10 years ago, word spread that Google’s process of interviewing candidates was excessive and draining for applicants, subjecting them to interview with as many as 12 Google employees. To verify whether the process was in fact overwhelming, Google began interviewing applicants who completed the full round of interviews. The result? Google identified specific areas of the interview process that were relatively less valuable when determining an applicant’s fit for the role, allowing their team to limit each applicant to four rounds of interviews.
By efficiently reducing the time it takes to evaluate a candidate, Google’s employees can reallocate their efforts toward more productive activities within their role and the candidates’ perceptions of Google can be less harmed, as the experience is less time consuming and grueling than before.
Intel uses a variety of employee surveys to address several components of their experience. Here are some examples:
Intel surveyed 5,000 employees in an effort to gauge the demand for using a stipend to fund the employees’ ‘Bring Your Own PC’ perk. They used the survey to understand how employees wanted to be compensated and how various stipend levels impacted their willingness to participate. The Intel IT team then used the results to help decide whether or not to implement any changes and what those changes would be.
Organizational health surveys are run on a bi-annual basis at Intel and help management understand the overall level of satisfaction across their base of employees. Several of the questions are identical year over year, allowing their team to both identify trends in employee satisfaction, and continually update the benchmarks of their results with other companies in their industry. Intel’s management has gone so far as to put goals on the degree to which they’d like to see scores on certain questions improve over time, and what they want their employees’ survey participation rates to look like in the future.
They also run quarterly surveys, which they call ‘organizational health polls,’ to understand employee satisfaction at a broader level. The survey includes questions around the organization’s direction, the employee’s emotional commitment to their job and whether they trust their coworkers.
The goals from these surveys are to get constructive feedback from local stakeholders through topics like health, safety, and education. And even though the surveys don’t involve employees directly, the fact that these surveys are easy to discover and learn about, should help employees feel proud of the commitment and dedication that their employer has for engaging with the local community.
How did Amazon become one of the best companies to work for? After all, wasn’t it only a few years ago that seriously bad press came out regarding their workplace culture?
It turns out that Amazon has taken the publicly revealed issues extremely seriously. So much so that employees in both blue- and white-collar roles are asked to fill out a survey every single day about their experiences. The results are collected anonymously and a team in Seattle creates reports from the feedback that’s then viewed by senior management.
Given the short time that this system of feedback has been in place, it would be wrong to attribute the improved employee experience to this initiative alone. But with a few years since its inception, and with significant amounts of employee data collected over time, you can bet Amazon’s leadership hast been carving out policies that are in line with the demands of their workers.
As you can tell, each of these companies use surveys in different ways. Yet, each of their surveys cover one overarching goal: to improve the employee experience. As you strive to turn your organization into one of the best companies to work for, make sure that you’re holding yourselves accountable to listening to employees and continually incorporating their feedback. By doing this, you’re putting your workers in the best position possible to leverage their talents and make their experience in working at your company more positive.
Need help in crafting your own employee surveys? Check out our employee feedback questionnaire templates. They’ve been written by our in-house survey methodologists and encompass several facets of the employee experience.