After surveying nearly 60,000 undergraduates from 318 universities this year, Universum published a list of what new grads cited as being the most “ideal” employers.  Student opinions were grouped by major of study and top 100 lists were formed accordingly. Who made the list?  Well, we skimmed off the top 3 to share with you for a sort of medal-winner only version, but Universum divulges the full lists on their website if you are interested.  And, the “winners” are:

IT Majors

  1. Google
  2. Microsoft
  3. Apple

Liberal Arts Majors

  1. Walt Disney Company
  2. United Nations
  3. Teach For America

Business Majors

  1. Google
  2. Apple
  3. Walt Disney Company

Engineering Majors

  1. NASA
  2. Boeing
  3. Lockheed Martin Corporation

Natural Sciences Majors

  1. National Institutes of Health
  2. Mayo Clinic
  3. Centers for Disease Control

Top honors, if there were such an award, would to go to Google, who ranked in the top eight in each of the five major categories.  What makes Google such an attractive place to work?  To find out, we looked at Glassdoor to see what their current employees had to say.  First off, employees at Google’s 30+ US locations ranked the company 4 out of 5 stars and gave their co-founder and CEO Larry Page a 90% approval rating.  The four most recent employee comments:

 “Google is a dream company to work for! Perfect work-life balance.”

“Great coworkers, interesting work, great benefits.”

“Fun projects.  Easy to have a big impact on the world.”

“You can grow at the pace you are comfortable at. Great place to work as there is a good work and personal life balance. Management sensitive to employees.”

  Sounds pretty great, right?  (Who wouldn’t want to work in a place like that?)

 Employers, if asked, what would your employees say about you?  About the company?  Would they rank it 4 out of 5 stars?  2 out of 5?  Is your perception of employees’ satisfaction anywhere close to what it really is?

You may not be Larry Page, and your company is probably nothing like Google—that’s OK though, very few are.  No matter how big or small your staff, how magnificent or minimal your infrastructure, a positive environment, regardless of size, is a successful one.

While you may not hire in great volume, you certainly want to hire great, right?  You can be an “ideal” employer even if your company hasn’t turned into a verb or a household name.  You can create an atmosphere and an employer brand that is so desirable current employees never want to leave and prospective employees are lining up at your door.

What does it take to create a must-have work environment?  Every industry and organization is different, but the most basic system is this:

Observe -> Ask -> Execute


Set aside one day or series of days where you (inconspicuously as possible) watch the body language, facial expressions, and interactions of your employees.  Do they appear to be relaxed or uptight?  Are they yawning, groaning, smiling, laughing?  How about their lunch or break time habits?  Do employees stick to themselves?  Do interactions seem forced and awkward or are they comfortable and friendly?


For the most part, employees are willing to share their thoughts and suggestions so long as 1) there is no threat to their job if they expose negative feelings 2) they will be given an opportunity to do so anonymously 3) they feel like they will be listened to.  Some ways to do this: interviews, online satisfaction surveys, suggestion boxes, or focus groups.


Gathering the information is the easy part; implementing change (if necessary) is often more difficult.  Steps toward improvement (even small ones) will not go unnoticed.  If you ask, expect answers and a subsequent task list.  Also, if you ask, expect employees to expect some visible signs of change.


Maybe being “the place to be” doesn’t really interest you all that much—but it does interest the 5, 25, or 500 people who are behind your brand, product or service.  Investing in your employees and the health of the workplace is one of the best things you can do to retain and attract talent.


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