There's more than one way to be a Best Workplace. While the official 2020 Inc. Best Workplaces list is composed of companies that scored the highest on the Quantum workplace survey, other companies are worthy of recognition for the way they support and reward employees. Here are the 10 companies that made this year's Editors' List:
Affinity's relationship management software puts traditional CRMs to shame, thanks to its proprietary artificial intelligence technology. During the past few years, the San Francisco-based company has ramped up its focus on its own employee relationships, launching inclusivity and subconscious bias training programs for its entire staff. An "Inclusion at Work" team within the company also fosters engagement by discussing topics including diversity and belonging as it relates to culture and recruiting.
2. Beehive Strategic Communication
A certified B Corporation, Beehive Strategic Communication sets a high bar for "purpose-driven" firms. In addition to onsite meditation and cardio rooms, the St. Paul-based public relations company offers a wellness program that includes $1,000 per employee for mental, emotional, and physical health. Advancing gender equality in business while empowering women is also a major focus, as Beehive CEO Lisa Hannum and senior vice president Ayme Zemke help lead the Shequality Minnesota project, which aims to engender more women leaders and to achieve equality in the top positions at PR firms of all sizes.
Founded in 2016, New York City-based mortgage firm Better.com hired 1,000 people in 2019 without compromising its focus on diversity and inclusion. To foster a culture of respect and belonging for underrepresented groups, the company created an Employee Resource Group network that includes the Better.com LGBTQ+ employee group, the Better.com Minority group, and a Women of Color group. Today, 55 percent of the company identifies as a minority, while more than half of its leadership team are women. Better.com also provides a $2,500 bonus to assist with child care costs and offers 24/7 mental health care, which allows employees to speak to or meet with a psychologist, social worker, or other mental health or work-life professional.
4. Bold Insight
User experience research agency Bold Insight calls itself a "family first" company. It backs that claim up with 16 weeks of paid maternity leave and 12 weeks of partner or adoption leave. The Chicago-based company has built something of a family itself, with a commitment to long-term career goals including employee ownership opportunities for everyone. "We don't want to be a steppingstone to something better," says Bold Insight partner Pamela Stoffregen-Gay. "We want employees to grow professionally with us, and have the company evolve with them."
Recently acquired by cybersecurity giant Palo Alto Networks, CloudGenix is a cloud-based security company with an unconventional approach to rewarding employee performance. The San Jose, California-based firm measures behaviors called "cultural indicators" that it views as representative of great salespeople, such as activity, customer touches, and enabling fellow team members. "Not surprisingly to us, the correlation between the people with the highest cultural markers and revenue is extremely high," says CloudGenix vice president Lori Bertelli. Rather than waiting for an annual review, the company reinforces good behaviors on a weekly basis.
6. Coastal Cloud
Palm Coast, Florida-based Coastal Cloud has a motto every employee can get behind: "Live at the beach, work in the cloud." The Salesforce consulting partner's beachfront headquarters almost demands a laid-back atmosphere where flips-flops and Hawaiian shirts are the norm. "Surfboards and bikes are propped up against the lobby wall, waiting for a team member to enjoy a lunch break on the beach or a quick surf session," says director Sheri Nygaard. With the majority of employees working remotely, however, maintaining this company culture takes effort. Friday afternoons end with a Virtual Happy Hour where the whole team is invited to enjoy a drink or snack through videoconferencing.
Productivity software company Formstack more than doubled its head count during the past two-and-a-half years while also doubling down on one of its core values: Relationships matter. The Fishers, Indiana-based company added 16 hours a year of learning and development training for employees, switched to unlimited paid time off for mental health, and now runs an inclusivity series and workshops to ensure it's maintaining its worldwide workforce effectively and inclusively. Recruiting teams go through unconscious hiring bias training before being allowed to interview potential employees, and final interview rounds now include "culture champions" who assess candidates strictly from a Formstack culture value fit.
8. Kingston Group
In 2019, the Kingston Group did something almost unheard of for an all-male construction and remodeling firm: It leaned into author Brené Brown's clinical research on trust and vulnerability. For an entire quarter, the Nashville-based company wrestled with key concepts from Brown's book Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts, giving employees individual assignments based on its teachings. "We worked to raise emotional literacy in the workplace, set better boundaries, rumble productively through disagreements and misunderstandings, and ultimately to trust one another," says Kingston Group co-founder Ricky Scott. The company is no longer all-male, but still practices Brown's lessons on a recurring basis.
9. Owl Labs
Telecommunications company Owl Labs' core product is a 360-degree videoconferencing camera that uses predictive technology and A.I. to enhance collaboration. The Somerville, Massachusetts-based company used that product to inspire a "360-Degree Empathy" philosophy that applies to both employees and customers. While demonstrating inclusivity at every turn is the goal of many companies, Owl Labs has receipts to prove it. Remote workers, who comprise 40 percent of its workforce, can't all attend the annual holiday party, so the company lets them expense a dinner out with a friend or their partner.
Founded in 2017, New York City-based staffing firm Syfter grew out of a male-dominated sales environment. To put the company on a new path, Syfter hired a cultural manager to help build a diverse spectrum of ethnicities, genders, and ages. Today, the entire workforce helps set company policies. When the employees collectively asked to be trained more frequently, Syfter instituted weekly training. Individuality is still prioritized, however, as team members can pick what they're most passionate about working on and which clients they want to work with.