What Employees Say a Great Tech Workplace Looks Like

Posted by Peter Barnes on October 14 2014

Treadmill desks, free smoothies, unlimited time off: Across the tech sector, companies have long offered some creative ways to make their organizations attractive to new employees. But what are the things that genuinely transform a work experience from a job into something people are truly excited to be a part of each day? At Great Rated!, we recently analyzed 50,000 confidential employee surveys to create our list of People’s Picks: 20 Great Workplaces in Technology. And the top ranking organization in the large-companies category offers insight into what it looks like when an employer truly looks out for the well-being of its team members.

"Find a Need and Fill It"

This phrase sums up the open-minded management philosophy of cloud solutions company Workday. Even as the business has grown to employ 3,100, managers still encourage people to explore new talents, rather than confine them to existing job descriptions. Likewise, the office culture at Workday proves that casual and hard-working need not be mutually exclusive. People work where they feel comfortable, whether that's in a cubicle, at a standing workstation or anywhere else in the spaces shared by executives and entry-level employees alike. There are even days for bringing dogs into the office. Behind all of this is a widespread sense of trust in team members, 96 percent of whom say their managers let people accomplish their work without looking over their shoulders.

"Workday leadership is honest and transparent, and they trust employees with information so that we never feel as if we are in the dark. There is never a sense that information is being filtered or withheld," says one employee.

Benefits for the Whole Person

A degree of autonomy, though, does not come at the expense of support for the employee. Workforce offers a long list of the playful perks synonymous with tech startups: game rooms, "napping stations," daylong celebrations at amusement parks and so on. These informal benefits are remarkable, not so much for their cost, but for the fact the company recognizes its team members are human and need to blow off steam occasionally to stay productive. To that end, Workday's unlimited-time-off policy stands apart from those of some other organizations because its employees actually use it. Nine in 10 Workday team members we surveyed say they're actually encouraged to create a good work-life balance – an outstanding percentage given the demands of the tech sector – while nearly all employees say they can take time off when they need it. This circles back to an overall culture of respect for employees as people with unique needs, both on and off the job.

"It sounds cliché, but Workday truly is a family. We feel protected, included and respected, like we are part of something much bigger than just our job title," one employee says.

Strong Foundation

Of course, day-to-day job satisfaction is a lot easier to cultivate when employees feel the ship is being steered in the right direction. At Workday, 97 percent of employees agree that the company's leadership is both competent and ethical. Even beyond employees' satisfaction with their careers and their benefits, Workday also shows how a broader culture of integrity can pay dividends in the workplace: An overwhelming 98 percent of team members say they are proud to be a part of the company.

"Workday is rigorous about the people it lets in the door," says one. "The people that work here preserve the company culture of honesty, excellence and fun. This place is paradise because Workday puts people first: employees, customers and the community."

Great Rated! Senior Editor Peter Barnes has spent 10 years as a journalist contributing to a variety of publications and businesses.