- Adam Berry/Getty Images
Thanks to the premium Google places on its employees’ happiness, the tech giant has proven itself to be the gold standard for employers.
Headquartered in Mountain View, California, Google – recently renamed Alphabet in a corporate restructuring – just topped Business Insider’s 2016 list of the 50 best companies to work for in America, based on exclusive data from PayScale.
The search giant dethroned Facebook (ranked No. 5), which held the top spot in 2015.
US employees who work at Google gave the company high marks on PayScale’s employee survey in a number of areas, including compensation, job satisfaction, and job meaning.
Here’s why Google ranked the best company to work for in America:
A high percentage of Googlers say they’re satisfied in their job.
According to PayScale, 86% of Google employees say they are either extremely satisfied or fairly satisfied with their job.
“What’s beautiful about this approach is that a great environment is a self-reinforcing one: All of these efforts support one another, and together create an organization that is creative, fun, hardworking, and highly productive,” he writes.
A major contributor to Google’s unique work environment is all the amazing perks the “Googleplex” has to offer.
More than 64,000 Google employees can take advantage of perks like free healthy and gourmet meals, laundry and fitness facilities, generous paid parental leave, and on-site childcare. One employee in Mountain View describes Google as “a company that treats their employees great and in return gets motivated and loyal employees.”
Employees also report that Google allows them flexibility to work on passion projects and tap into their creativity. Google also encourages its employees to become teachers and coach one another to help build a more creative, satisfied, and intimate community of employees.
Most Googlers think their work makes the world a better place.
- Justin Sullivan/Getty
PayScale reports 73% of Google employees find their jobs to be meaningful. This isn’t surprising, considering the company’s mission: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
As Bock explains, this is “a moral rather than a business goal,” and one that is intentionally impossible to achieve.
“This creates motivation to constantly innovate and push into new areas,” he writes. “A mission that is about being a ‘market leader,’ once accomplished, offers little more inspiration. The broad scope of our mission allows Google to move forward by steering with a compass rather than a speedometer.”
Googlers have responded well to this mission, saying on Glassdoor that meaningful and challenging projects are what attracted them to and keeps them at the company.
Googlers say their compensation is the best.
- Stephen Brashear/Getty
Google attracts and keeps talent with its competitive salaries. According to PayScale, the median salary of experienced workers is $140,000, the second highest on the list, and even employees with less than one year of experience earn on average about $93,000.
Google also gets high points for paying above market for its employees.
It’s worth noting that two people in the same role at Google can be paid drastically different amounts, and this is intentional.
“It’s hard work to have pay ranges where someone can make two or even 10 times more than someone else,” Bock writes. “But it’s much harder to watch your highest-potential and best people walk out the door. It makes you wonder which companies are really paying unfairly: the ones where the best people make far more than average, or the ones where everyone is paid the same.”
More than one-quarter of Googlers telecommute at least some of the time.
- David.Orban / Flickr, CC
With a perk like free Wi-Fi-enabled shuttles to and from work, it’s easy to understand why only 28% of employees work from home or telecommute some, most, or all of the time.
Still, PayScale finds that this is more than some other major tech companies like Amazon, Netflix, and Apple.
“The company is flexible,” an employee who works at Google’s headquarters writes on Glassdoor. “If you’re lucky, you won’t have a micromanager boss and you can be somewhat flexible in how you work. But don’t get me wrong – you’ll work a lot. But you don’t have to do all of it chained to your desk.”
Some employees say their job is low-stress.
While 12% of employees reporting their job isn’t stressful may not seem significant, compared to other companies on the 2015 Fortune 500 list, this is a relatively high score – only 53 companies had more employees report low stress levels at work.
Perhaps one contributor to lower stress levels is the various perks like on-site massages, free fitness classes and gym memberships, and a generous vacation plan that help employees unwind.
Another possible contributor: “The work environment is laid back, and less competitive than others. It really allows room for creativity,” writes a Google product manager.
While the work at Google is inevitably demanding, and the company encourages its employees to set ambitious goals for themselves, Google managers don’t expect people to meet these goals, and instead they make a point to help people learn from their failures.
What’s more, the company encourages a culture of transparency and has a unique way of preventing backstabbing.
“The way we solve the ‘backstabbing’ problem, for example, is that if you write a nasty email about someone, you shouldn’t be surprised if they are added to the email thread,” Bock writes. “I remember the first time I complained about somebody in an email and my manager promptly copied that person, which forced us to quickly resolve the issue. It was a stark lesson in the importance of having direct conversations with colleagues!”