Brand Culture and Top Companies

As part of our ongoing R&D of the Brand Culture framework, we decided to take a look at data from the best 50 companies to work according to


The top 50 best companies to work for was determined by employee votes which included 57,182 reviews. We then looked at the top 5 keywords within all reviews of each company with both positive and negative sentiments. These results were then ranked based upon keywords by total reviews and keywords by company.

As we can see, the top 5 most used keywords with positive sentiment in all reviews were:

  1. Benefits (24.61%) - General benefits such as health coverage but also included employee discounts and travel.
  2. Work-Life Balance (17.57%) - Mainly based around whether or not the company promoted work-life balance and made it possible.
  3. Work Environment (13.18%) - How the employee felt overall.
  4. People (12.95%) - Included comments like "smart" and "great" along with an overall willingness to help each other.
  5. Compensation/Incentives (7.94%) - Included all earning potential.

The top 5 most used keywords, of the same top 50 companies, with a negative sentiment across all reviews were:

  1. Work-Life Balance (29.23%) - Many felt work-life balance had to be sacrificed to succeed.
  2. Management (25.56%) - Opinions of both upper and middle management along with process such as decision-making and politics.
  3. Hours (21.61%) - Included perceived hours required for job security, advancement and scheduling policies.
  4. Advancement (16.77%) - Mostly based upon lack of upward mobility and inability for part-timers to secure full-time positions.
  5. Growth/Size (9.98%) - Growing pains or current size of the company.

Based upon the above, here are some insights we offer.

Benefits are Different than Compensation 

Although many agree that benefits fall under compensation, it is the perception that benefits create for the employer brand in the mind of an employee that is important. The data shows that the more creative you can be with benefits, incorporating it into the brand and culture, the greater employee engagement and retention.

The reality is however, that competing on benefits packages can be a very slippery slope, especially financially. So what if your company simply cannot compete on benefits?

The data shows us the answer.

Make Your Culture About Work-Life Balance and People

As we can see in this chart, the data tell us that out of all the best companies to work for, 72% of them were reviewed positively for "work-life balance." This was followed by 58% of companies equally reviewed for "work environment" and "people" by the employees. And finally 56% of all companies were positively reviewed for "benefits."

While benefits are important, not to mention more concrete and measurable, the concept of work-life balance isn't so easy. Therefore, it is no surprise that the most positive and negative review sentiments are around this area. If companies can address work-life balance head on in their culture, you can manage the employer brand much more effectively.

Integrating work-life balance into your employer brand will attract better people. And better people make better work environments. This will more then compensate for any perceived lack of benefits. (Please note that your benefits still have to be fair.)

Work-Life Balance is Determined by Intrinsic Motivation

This is where MDNA can help. Work-life balance does not mean the same for everybody. Understanding an employee's intrinsic motivators drastically helps. For example, to some individuals, work-life balance means family time, while for others it means the flexibility to travel, take courses based on personal interests, or volunteer in the community. To take another perspective, there is a difference between quality and quantity of work-life balance. It's never the same for everybody. What's important is that the more you can encourage employees to approach work-life balance in alignment to their intrinsic motivations (Motivational DNA), and give them opportunities to live it, the better people you will have for a greater work environment.

In the upcoming posts, we'll break down how the actual brand and marketing of these companies play a part in making them the best place to work, and how you can integrate these best practices no matter how big or small your company is.

Liz Zurek BeaudryComment