Highlights of the Winners: Secrets of Best Places to Work Revealed - Glassdoor for Employers

Highlights of the Winners: Secrets of Best Places to Work Revealed

Every year, Glassdoor recognizes 100 large businesses and 50 small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. as a Best Place to Work, plus businesses in four other countries. This esteemed award honors the people-first employers building vibrant and engaged company cultures - and creating better places for employees to grow their careers.

This year, our world was turned upside down due to the emergence of COVID-19. Companies globally fought to keep their businesses afloat, retain and motivate their employees all while transitioning from an office workplace to remote setups. At Glassdoor, we get this question a lot: "How do I become a Best Place to Work?" The answer is simple - even in the shadow of a pandemic: companies with mission-driven cultures, transparent senior leaders and growth opportunities alongside a people-first approach take the lead. When a company operates this way, the feedback shows up organically when employees share reviews and ratings on Glassdoor.

To uncover different ways you can learn from these winning companies, we've interviewed two winners of the 2021 Glassdoor Best Places to Work U.S.. The combined insights of these best-in-class employers reveal what they did to create winning cultures, and how receiving this award has improved their employer branding efforts.

We hope these top employers inspire you to make changes to fuel your own recruiting engine and attract the talent your business needs to achieve its potential in 2021.

Zoom,  #22 Large Business, 4.4 rating

Founded in 2011, Zoom's mission is to develop people-centric cloud services that transforms the real-time collaboration experience and improves the quality and effectiveness of communications forever.

"2020 has brought Zoom to a level of attention we never anticipated. We could not have imagined a world full of Zoom weddings, yoga classes, and theater productions. It is an honor to be able to help the world stay connected during these difficult times, and it is also a responsibility that our employees feel keenly. I am proud of our employees for stepping up to keep our service running, help our new customers, and work with users to innovate new ways to make our technology support their needs. We have a "Cool and Inspiring Stories" chat internally where we share stories of innovation and gratitude that help lift everyone's mood. Whenever you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, you can click in there and get a reminder of why we are doing this work."

- Lynne Oldham, Chief People Officer at Zoom


1. Put employee happiness first.

"Zoom has always had a strong company culture, because this has been at the core of who we are from the beginning. Our CEO, Eric Yuan, often talks about how he founded the company with a mind toward building a place he would want to work at in ten or twenty years. He believes happy employees are key to innovation and customer happiness, so we have always worked to create a supportive work environment. The challenge of 2020 has been maintaining that culture of happiness during a shift to remote work as well as extreme growth. Right now, more than a third of our employees have joined during the past few months and have never set foot in a Zoom office or met a fellow employee in person. We've found ways to show employees that we care virtually, whether by providing employees with equipment to work from home or expanding our wellness benefits to help support things such as food delivery."

2. Make sure employees feel heard and supported during the pandemic.

"Working from home can look dramatically different from person to person depending on living situations. Some of our employees need to juggle parenting young children or helping children with virtual schooling, while others may be living alone in small spaces and struggling with feelings of isolation. This means flexibility in benefits is key so we can help support employees through their individual challenges. We expanded our wellness benefit, which was previously a monthly stipend for gym memberships, to cover items like grocery shopping, food delivery, and home office equipment. We introduced a mental health benefit through our provider, Lyra. We also regularly hold all-hands meetings where all employees have the opportunity to put anonymous questions for the executive team to answer. "

3. Hire people who align with your company culture - even at scale.

"To support huge increases in demand, we have hired significant numbers of new employees. Since a third of our employees were hired in the last few months and have never been to a Zoom office, it's very important that we find ways to touch our newest remote employees to make sure they feel part of Zoom. My team's job is to hire at the pace we need to support our business needs, without compromising quality. We recently introduced structured interviewing, where interviewers at each stage will ask some level of experiential values questions to make sure we are finding those candidates who share our value of care."

Salesforce, #17 Large Business, 4.4 rating

Salesforce, the Customer Success Platform and world's #1 CRM, empowers companies to connect with their customers in a whole new way. The company was founded on three disruptive ideas: a new technology model in cloud computing, a pay-as-you-go business model, and a new integrated corporate philanthropy model.

"The past year has been one of the most challenging in recent history. We've had to rethink everything - from our products to our policies to philanthropy. We've prioritized employee health and wellbeing, guided our customers through crisis, and donated more than $30M to fight the virus and its effects on our communities.

Our entire company pivoted to create a new technology solution, called Work.com, to help the public and private sector respond to the pandemic - whether it be schools that want to return students safely to campus or healthcare organizations managing vaccine distribution.

And in order to better understand the needs of our global workforce - many of whom faced extreme adversity in 2020 - we introduced new wellbeing surveys, which have helped us make data-driven decisions to better support our workforce in this new environment. The findings of these surveys have led to real change such as additional leave for parents, new time off opportunities, resources for employees to get their home offices set up and more.

This year was about living our values, and finding new ways to support our employees, customers and communities in the face of unprecedented economic and social disruption."

- Brent Hyder, President & Chief People Officer


1. As the world shifts, find new ways to connect and lead.

"Leadership today requires much more than driving results and productivity - it means keeping company culture alive and serving as a lifeline to employees as they navigate the challenges of remote work. In fact, 75 percent of our employees cite their manager as their number one most valued source of information. So we've offered new trainings and resources to help people leaders manage new responsibilities and keep our culture alive.

We also haven't forgotten to bring the fun. Whether it's our talent show "Salesforce Has Talent", our global Fitness Calendar or a reimagined bring-your-kid-to-work day, called "Salesforce Adventurers Club", we've worked hard to find creative ways to bring people together virtually."

2. Actively work to drive change in business and society.

"It's important that our workplace reflects society, and creates a culture where everyone feels seen, heard, valued, and empowered to succeed. 2020 brought systemic racism, violence and inequality into sharp focus, and made it clear that we all have much more work to do to make our friends, colleagues and community members feel safe and valued.

To help us respond to the challenges our employees are facing with urgency and care, we assembled a Racial Equality and Justice task force last year. This task force, composed of leaders and employees of all levels, is helping us drive action in four key areas: People, Philanthropy, Purchasing and Policy.

Our employees are our most essential partner in this effort and we continue to work closely with employee resources groups and allies across Salesforce to drive change in our business and society more broadly."

[Read more about Salesforce's Racial Equality and Justice efforts here]

3. Prioritize employees' health and wellbeing.

"Employers took on a new level of responsibility to protect the physical and mental wellbeing of their employees over the past year. Mental health has come to the forefront, and is an issue every employer needs to prioritize.

Through our wellbeing surveys, we were finding that the majority of our employees reported increased mental health issues. We created a task force early on into the pandemic to determine how we move forward as a company, and how we can best support our employees. Through the taskforce and data from our employee surveys, we rolled out new wellbeing programs and policies, including a half-hour weekly broadcast called B-Well Together, featuring experts like Larry Brilliant and David Agus; a meditation app available for all employees; a new global benefit program to help employees and their families strengthen their psychological and emotional health; and new time off strategies.

We'll continue to listen, learn and find ways to help our employees stay healthy and happy into the new year."


When you want to embody the very best employer traits, you need to study the best examples you can find. The Glassdoor Best Places to Work awards identify best-in-class organizations - and it's free to learn from the way these award-winning companies have built vibrant company cultures and engaged hundreds or even thousands of employees.

If you want 2021 to be the year your company becomes a better place to work, here are five takeaways from this year's Best Places to Work winners:

  1. Unlock your free Glassdoor Employer Profile to get a baseline understanding of current employee sentiment.
  2. Explore the Glassdoor for employers blog to collect resources and statistics that will help you get the leadership team invested in your company's employer branding strategy.
  3. Identify three of four ways you can learn from employee reviews to better understand their current employee experience - and how you can improve it.
  4. Consider what you can do to create more diverse opportunities for your employees to connect with each other and for prospective hires to experience those connections.
  5. Evaluate your current diversity and inclusion numbers - and push yourself to improve each critical indicator of success.

To get involved in the conversation on Glassdoor and start managing and promoting your employer brand reputation, unlock your Free Employer Profile today.