Work at these 10 companies if you want to be happy

MarketWatch

Employees at companies with self-proclaimed great cultures get a lot of perks -- among them freebies like organic meals, dry cleaning, haircuts and child care; unlimited vacation and stipends for personal trips; complimentary massages and yoga classes; dedicated rooms for napping. But do these things make them happier workers?

Job search site GlassDoor.com revealed the results of its “top companies for culture and values” survey on Friday, in which it asked employees at companies around the country to rank their company’s culture and values. Twitter, which has free breakfast and lunch and doesn’t track how much vacation time employees take, scored the No. 1 spot, ranking 4.5 out of 5, followed by PR agency Edelman (4.4) and notoriously perk-friendly Google (4.4), where not only will you never have to pay for a meal again, but you also get some on-site health care, child care and more. Glassdoor surveyed more than 600,000 employees at companies that were based in the U.S. to obtain these results.

While many of the companies in the top 10 were, not surprisingly, tech companies, which are known for their cushy perks and free-thinking environments, there were some surprises on the list, in particular Chick-fil-A. Despite its spate of bad press over comments and donations that were perceived as anti-gay and the fact that it’s a fast-food restaurant, which many workers don’t prefer, employees say they are happy working at Chick-fil-A; it ranked No. 7 on the list. Glassdoor community expert Scott Dobroski says that employees at Chick-fil-A like the family-oriented and religious (the restaurant is closed on Sundays) culture at the fast-food joint; this underscores the idea that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all company culture, he adds.

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These are the companies with the best culture and values, according to Glassdoor.com

These are the companies with the best culture and values, according to Glassdoor.com

A company’s culture and values matter because they can influence how satisfied workers are with their jobs — and whether they stay at the company. “Employees tend to be happier at work when they like the company culture and values,” says Dobroski. Furthermore, they’re more likely to stay at a place with a culture they like, which is good news for the company’s bottom line, says Michael Arabia, the founding partner of venture development firm Art & Science Collaborative and a former executive with Gallup. “At all stages of a company’s development, culture is paramount,” he says. “People who are happy with the culture are better workers.”

But while job perks like free food get all the media attention, Glassdoor’s research revealed that the most important aspects of a company’s culture for employee satisfaction aren’t what you might think. Instead, employees care most about three things, the first being that the company has a family-like environment — “it’s a feeling that once you leave your family, you’re going to your second family,” he explains. Second, that it has a team-oriented environment where you feel that others have your back, and third that the company operates with a set of values in which employees feel like the company, and thus by proxy the employee himself, is doing the right thing.

Of course, a company’s culture and values aren’t everything. Employees say salary is the most important aspect of a job for them, says Dobroski. And Paul Bailo, the author of “The Essential Phone Interview Handbook” and a professor of marketing at New York University, says that company culture doesn’t matter all that much to some employees. “Some people are much more interested in the work itself,” he says — so the team activities and other aspects of the company culture don’t play much into their happiness, as long as they’re getting to do the work they love. In other words, to each his own.

Still, most of us would rather work in a place where we like the culture. To figure out if a company you’re considering working at has a culture you’d fit into, look on a site like Vault.com or Glassdoor.com, which have information on the personalities of different companies, says Arabia. You should also ask people you know who work at the company or even the people who are interviewing you about what it’s like to work there, says Dobroski.

What do you like about where you work?

Catey Hill covers personal finance and travel for MarketWatch in New York. Follow her on Twitter @CateyHill.
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