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What Makes Top Companies So Attractive to Employees?

Shannon Gausepohl

Many of today's most successful multibillion-dollar corporations began as startups. And the culture that kick-started these companies is what inspires hundreds of job-seeking professionals to apply at these places and stay there.

Recently, LinkedIn released a list of 40 companies that attract the top talent. LinkedIn examined the actions of the site's more than 433 million members to rank the top companies where people want to work.

The top 10 companies — Google, Salesforce, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Uber, Microsoft, Tesla, Twitter and Airbnb — have a few things in common that make employees want to work for them. As it turns out, most of these things involve their approach to their people. Here's what these companies are doing right, and how you can mirror these techniques in your own startup.

Look out for your employees

Employees want to work for a company that they're passionate about, but they also want a company that's passionate about them.

The No. 1 most coveted company on the list, Google, goes above and beyond making its workers feel taken care of, not just now, but also in the event that an employee passes away.

According to Inc, if someone dies while employed at Google, the company offers 50 percent of that employee's salary to the spouse or next of kin over a period of 10 years.

Apple literally invests in its employees. Last year, Apple introduced a novel benefit, giving out restricted stock units to the vast majority of its more than 100,000 employees. Netflix offers a similar perk, letting employees decide what portion of their salary to receive in cash or Netflix stock.

No. 10 on the list, Airbnb truly embraces the startup culture by bringing a "practice what you preach" mentality to the office. According to LinkedIn, the Airbnb offices are furnished with "homey" details that Airbnb guests would appreciate. The office lounge areas are decorated with oriental rugs, meeting rooms are designed after popular rentals and there is an assortment of house-made sodas for employees. The company also pushes employees to "never stop being crazy" and attempts to inspire a "sense of adventure" by offering travel vouchers to employees so that they can experience Airbnb properties.

Hire the right people

The success of these brands is based on whom they hire. It's no mistake that companies are selective when it comes to talent.

"Nearly every company is undergoing transformation. The pace of innovation keeps speeding up, which accelerates and changes competition, and raises customer and client expectations," Daniel Roth, LinkedIn's executive editor, said in business journalist Suzy Welch's blog. "The only way to meet these new demands is to hire and retain the right people. That means the companies who can hire better and keep the best."

Companies like Pandora, which also made the Top Attractors list, say that they hire for "culture add" rather than "culture fit."

"We want our employees to bring their own unique, individual perspective to Pandora, rather than have them blend in with the pack," a Pandora representative told LinkedIn career expert Catherine Fisher in a blog post.

Across the board, companies on the list seek out candidates who are passionate about their brand and mission, and are agile enough to keep up with the demand of constant change. 

Have flexible leadership

According to a LinkedIn survey, nearly half of American workers would forgo the corner office job and a high salary to gain more flexibility in their schedules.  

Companies across the board, especially those on the Top Attractors list, have slowly been embracing the change, Roth said:

  • PwC boasts of the ability to create compressed workweeks, so that employees work longer hours, but fewer days a week.
  • Westpac Group has stopped assigning desks in multiple offices. Now, employees sit in "neighborhoods," and can work wherever best suits them, whether that's at a standing desk by the windows or at a quiet conference table.
  • Suncorp Group allows employees to permanently work from home.

"Generation X and boomers have this kind of misconception ... that these people that want flexibility might be less committed to their work, less committed to their career progression," Monica Marquez, Ernst & Young's west region diversity inclusiveness and flexibility leader, told the L.A. Times. "For the millennials, they're saying, we want this flexibility, but we aren't any less aggressive about our career."

Trim bureaucracy

Deconstructing the generally accepted office structure is the new frontier of business. Business leaders are transforming the way employees view them and are creating a better playing field.

Zappos very publicly dealt with the departure of the company's leaders as it transitioned into a nonhierarchical management system called holacracy.

Stryker attracts top talent in part by sticking to a (relatively expensive) decentralized structure. As CEO Kevin Lobo explained, business units operate independently, meaning employees can stay closer to end customers and quickly plan, ramp and market new ideas without worrying about corporate redundancy, Roth said.

"With the pace of change just accelerating, smart employers know that they have to rewrite their strategies and rethink who they're competing with to survive," Roth said. "Those companies who can hire better and keep the best [sic] are going to be the ones with better shots at making it to the other side of the transition."

Explore company culture and employee retention to begin the process of becoming a company that potential employees covet. You don't necessarily need to change your company from the top down, but consideration of the most-used practices is a good start.

Ready to learn more about creating a great work environment? Visit this Business News Daily article.

Shannon Gausepohl Member
<p>Shannon Gausepohl graduated from Rowan University in 2012 with a degree in journalism. She has worked at a newspaper and in the public relations field. Shannon is a zealous bookworm, has her blue belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu, and loves her Blue Heeler mix, Tucker.&nbsp;</p>