7 Common Traits of the Best Small Businesses to Work For

7 Traits that Makes a Small Business a Great Place to Work

Glassdoor just released its annual list of the Best Places to Work for 2018. The report includes 50 small business workplaces ranging from tech startups to automotive companies. But while the companies on the list are diverse, there are a few qualities that many of them have in common.

The list is part of the annual Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Awards, which includes lists for the top workplaces in a number of different categories. The small and medium sized business list includes businesses with less than 1,000 employees. And Glassdoor compiles the lists by looking at reviews from employees.

So for other small businesses that are looking to recruit the best possible candidates, it can help to look at some of the qualities that employees look for in a workplace.

Sarah Stoddard, Glassdoor Community Expert said in an email interview with Small Business Trends, “Today’s job seekers are more informed about their workplace than ever before, given the plethora of information available online, including on sites like Glassdoor, about company culture, career opportunities, pay and so forth. So, by leveraging common themes among the Best Places to Work, and understanding what employees are expecting at highly-rated companies across industries, employers can evaluate their own recruitment processes, company cultures, leadership strategies, etc. in order to best fit their employees’ needs and create the best possible experiences for them to stay interested and engaged in their jobs long-term.”

What Makes a Small Business a Great Place to Work?

Here are some of the common traits that the best small business employers have in common.

They Have Open, Relaxed Working Environments

One of the factors that employees value in a workplace is the culture. Specifically, they tend to value open communication and a family atmosphere.

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Big Switch Networks is one of the companies on the list praised for this quality. A system engineer said of the company in a Glassdoor review, “Good and open culture. People are recognized at highest level on a regular basis when they go above and beyond. You can see the impact of your contributions right away (small company culture).”

They Value Collaboration

Workers also seem to love collaborative environments. They want to know that their ideas can make an impact and that they have the opportunity to work alongside other people with great ideas who can help the company grow.

Robinhood is a stock trading company on the list that offers this type of working environment. A manager for the company said, “The company really values employees. It’s really easy to pitch ideas and get them implemented. You’re part of an incredibly fast growing company.”

They Have Great Team Members

For that reason, employees also care a great deal about the other employees they’re surrounded by on a daily basis.

A company with high marks in this area is customer review platform Podium. A director for the company said, “Podium is an organization where you find yourself surrounded by people smarter than you but those same people are willing to step in and coach, contribute, and drive you to be your best.”

They Make Leaders Accessible

Leadership can also have a major impact. Employees want to work at a place where the leaders are accessible and open to new ideas.

LogicMonitor is a SaaS company that was recognized by employees for this quality. A software engineer said of the company, “Great company to develop healthy habits on. High degree of autonomy to work. High degree of access to the company’s high leadership. Working with the founders is a big plus.”

They Value Work-Life Balance

Not all of the qualities that employees value are directly related to their actual work. They also want to have fun at work and have some flexibility to enjoy their lives outside of work as well.

An account coordinator for healthcare software company CoverMyMeds said of the working environment, “This is easily the best job I have ever had. The company truly believes in what they preach and follows through — transparency, dedication, workplace happiness, work-life balance, fun, laughs, BEER, compassion. It’s all there, believe the hype :)”

They Offer Great Perks and Benefits

Of course, employees also care about tangible things like pay, benefits and other perks.

A software engineer for email delivery service SendGrid described why working for the company is a good thing, “Great perks like free lunch with a growing variety of options, snacks on snacks, many different stipends, and increasing clarity around role definition and career growth opportunities. Company is very in tune with feedback and makes real effort to change and grow.”

They Make a Positive Impact

Employees also seem to value working for companies that have a clear mission and where they can make a positive impact on the world. These initiatives can be directly related to the company’s offerings or tied to other social or charitable efforts.

Illuminate Education is an educational platform that encourages its employees to get involved in social issues. An illuminator for the company said, “We are encouraged to pursue our passions. Equity, house builds in Mexico, anti-bullying efforts, robotics … we are supported by our CEO to be socially responsible. And by doing so, each of us work that much harder at our jobs to make a difference both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Image: Glassdoor 2 Comments ▼

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

2 Reactions
  1. I have worked with a small business before. And yes. I love the environment and the camaraderie. It feels as if you belong to a family.