Erika von Hoyer
March 25, 2014

Have you been named a Top Workplace?

Kelly Services Top Workplaces 2013

Top Workplace Winner

Kudos to Kelly Services! They found a great way to use their Top Workplaces 2013 logo.

Featuring the Top Workplaces logo in your marketing materials, email signatures, and website is just the beginning. We’ve heard of companies putting the logo on umbrellas, hats, even cakes!

Have you found a way to proudly show-off your Top Workplaces logo or merchandise? If so, share your story or pictures on the Top Workplaces Facebook page for a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card.

May 10, 2013

The 2 things employees most want in the workplace

Our survey consistently reveals, year in and year out, across all different types of companies that employees really want the following two things above everything else:

1. To be excited about the direction of the company

Employees spend a third of their waking lives trying to make the organization they work for more successful. If an employee is not invested in where the company is headed or what the company stands for, then they’re only there for a paycheck (and we know from our surveys that that is not very important). Get employees excited and bought-in to what the company stands for and the employees will really enjoy the journey and deliver more effort in getting there.

2. To feel appreciated for their contribution

If employees are devoting a third of their lives to help build a better company, then they deserve some recognition for doing so. When employees don’t feel appreciated they become disconnected and mentally check out. That’s when employees start looking for a new job. Quite simply employees want to love their company and for their company to love them!


Simple things companies can do

Leaders need to be really clear about the company’s goals – and don’t be afraid to over-communicate this! Leaders should be passionate about those goals and get employees excited about them too. Remember to include what the benefits of achieving those goals are for society, customers and employees – a message of ‘this will make a lot more money for our shareholders’ is not meaningful.

Secondly, companies should create a culture of appreciation – as role-modeled by the leaders. It’s great when leaders spend some casual time with employees – asking about their roles and thanking them. If you are a leader, why not carve out an hour a week to walk through the office speaking with different people? Leaders role-modeling appreciation is important as it encourages managers and employees to do the same.

We know creating a Top Workplace isn’t easy, but it is important. These few tips can get you off to a great start.

March 11, 2013

How good is Glassdoor?

The growing popularity of job review sites like Glassdoor and CareerBliss is causing problems for many companies. We appreciate that these sites are trying to bring more transparency into what it’s like to work at a company—but unfortunately these sites are often not an accurate reflection of the workplace.

To test the accuracy of these sites, we compared WorkplaceDynamics’ data on 406 large companies surveyed in the last year, with those same companies’ corresponding reviews on Glassdoor. We found that there was virtually no correlation—the overall Glassdoor star rating was a very poor indicator of what it is really like to work at a company.

There are two main issues that we identified:

  1. Glassdoor typically has reviews from only a small percentage of employees at the company. At the 406 companies in the sample, there were 8,123 Glassdoor reviews, an average of 1.6% of the employees. As a comparison, we surveyed 315,212 employees at these companies, an average of 61.5% of the employees.
  2. Glassdoor reviews are posted by a disproportionate number of “grumpy” employees. We conservatively estimate that a company’s negative employees are 5 to 8 times more likely to post a review on Glassdoor than their positive employees.

These two factors can make the overall Glassdoor scores inaccurate. Good examples of this are Quicken Loans and The Container Store, which we recently named as #1 and #2 on our National Top Workplaces list.

Quicken Loans has a score of 3.2 stars on Glassdoor, and 46% of employees do not recommend this company to a friend (based on 140 reviews).

However, we found in our survey, based on 935 survey responses from employees at Quicken Loans, that only 2% of employees would not recommend the company (with a further 5% neutral). On average, employees rated working at Quicken loans a 90.3 on a scale of 0-99.

The Container Store has a similar score of 3.1 stars on Glassdoor and 46% of employees do not recommend this company to a friend (based on 218 reviews):

We found, based on 1,516 survey responses from employees at The Container Store, that only 3% of employees would not recommend the company (with a further 4% neutral). On average, employees rated working at The Container Store a 90.1 on a scale of 0-99.

So, while the intent of sites like Glassdoor is good, job seekers should think twice before making any decisions based on reviews from these sites when looking for a new employer.


How we did the analysis

As a dataset, we took the WorkplaceDynamics survey responses to the questions ‘I would highly recommend working at this company to others’ and ‘Out of 99 (where 99 is best and 0 is worst), I would rate working at this company as…’ for all the large companies that participated in the Top Workplaces program in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Des Moines, Detroit and Minneapolis, and looked up the corresponding reviews (filtered by location) on Glassdoor for the questions ‘Your overall rating of this company’ and ‘Recommend this employer to a friend?’ There were 406 companies that had corresponding Glassdoor data.

Based on WorkplaceDynamics data (the total employee response rate and percentage of negative and positive responders) , we estimated the total number of grumpy and positive people working in those companies in those regions, and then looked to see the percentage of each category that had left a review on Glassdoor. This gave us the conservative estimate that grumpy employees are 5 to 8 times more likely to leave a review on job review sites than happy employees.

January 14, 2013

Employee Confidence Lower in 2012

Employee Confidence 2012

Employee Confidence in the US trended lower through 2012

Employee Confidence has trended gradually lower throughout 2012. This is a turnaround from 2011 when Employee Confidence made strong gains. While we haven’t hit the lows of December 2010 when confidence sat at just below 50%, the index finished 2012 at 52.8% – levels that we haven’t seen since March 2011.

The index is based upon over a million survey responses in the US each year, with an average of 85,000 employees responding each month in 2012. It represents opinions across more than 5,000 organizations that have carried out the WorkplaceDynamics employee survey.  The level of employee confidence is a 3-month moving average.

November 22, 2012

Top 10 tips to run an employee survey

We’ve learned a lot from running employee surveys over the last six years.

So we thought we’d share some of our experiences and have published a list of our  ‘Top 10 tips for designing an employee survey‘.Here is the shortened version:


  1. It’s got to be anonymous.

  2. Keep the survey short.

  3. Keep the questions short.

  4. Test your questions.

  5. Get a benchmark.

  6. Be wary of demographic comparisons.

  7. Craft your open-ended questions carefully.

  8. Don’t get bogged down in statistics.

  9. Take on the scary topics.

  10. Over-communicate.

Have a look at our survey > thinking section to read more about why each of the ten guidelines are important.