How to Spot a Great Technology Employer
Posted by Peter Barnes
on October 16 2014
Qualified job seekers in the tech field may find themselves in an enviable position today as employers compete for their highly coveted skills in areas like software development and IT. As such, job candidates are looking beyond salary and demanding a workplace that suits their personality as well as their personal and professional aspirations. At Great Rated, we recently analyzed confidential survey information from 50,000 employees to create the People's Picks: 20 Great Workplaces in Technology. These are companies that stand above the rest in the eyes of their employees, and they can give job seekers an inside look at what makes for a rewarding experience at work.
The top ranking company on our small-to-medium list, Visionist, is exceptional for the number of categories in our survey in which employees unanimously report the company does things right. This is a particularly difficult feat in sensitive areas like employee advancement. Yet 100 percent of Visionist team members say the company awards promotions to those who best deserve them, compared to an average of 74 percent of employees among the 100 Best Companies we've surveyed in all industries.
Providing a level playing field to employees, investing in their careers, and giving them the leeway to perform their jobs well are some of the more compelling ways Visionist and the other tech companies on this ranking create great workplaces for their team. For many, it comes down to the opportunity to be actively engaged in their careers.
"I really enjoy the fact that management really wants you to be happy with the project you're working on and also is genuinely concerned with your career goals," says one Visionist employee. "One of the first questions they ask you is where you want your career to go. I told them that I had a career goal of being a software architect. Consequently, management will often contact me about project opportunities with prototyping or designing, encouraging me to pursue my career goals. It feels good to know that I have the backing of my company to pursue any career path I choose and not feel stuck in a single profession."
Keeping Things Lively
Like many of its peers in Silicon Valley, this Maryland company also backs up their investment in employees with wide-ranging perks to support employees lives' at and outside work. These include free takeout meals for team members who've recently taken home a newborn, four weeks of paid time off within your first year of employment, and group activities like skeet shooting and pancake breakfasts.
But programs like these don't exist in a vacuum. When weighing the perks and benefits offered by an employer, be sure to evaluate how those programs actually affect the camaraderie that spills over into employees' work as a team.
"There are activities that influence the attitude and the value associated with being a part of something bigger than one's self," another Visionist employee says. "The company president and CEO has events during each calendar year at his home for employees. There, he caters the food, has singing, games and just all-around fun for all who attend, from the youngest to the oldest."
Whether they're scrutinizing the quality of the health plan or the cohesiveness of the culture, it can be a worthwhile exercise for job seekers to check out companies like Visionist and other great employers to identify the traits they value most when pursuing their next position.
Great Rated! Senior Editor Peter Barnes has spent 10 years as a journalist contributing to a variety of publications and businesses.