Culture | May 13, 2015
top 10 coolest companies to work for based in new york city
By o.c. tanner
The Big Apple. The Capital of the World. The City that Never Sleeps. As one of the major cities in the world, New York City is home to big businesses, dozens of industries, and an influx of people and cultures from around the world. With a unique workforce, companies, both big and small, take advantage with distinct company culture and employee recognition. In turn, these tactics help employees feel empowered and valuable, which results in great work.
Below are the top 10 coolest companies to work for in New York City, which we selected with our research partners at Great Rated!™, the workplace review site from Great Place to Work®.
The financial giant provides many products and services to consumers, and small, mid-size, and large corporations. With over 50,000 workers worldwide, American Express values employees’ well-being and work-life balance, and offers their employees benefits such as Healthy Living wellness centers, access to work-life consultants, flexible working options, and subsidized public transportation. In addition, personal and professional growth for employees is very much embedded in the company culture. American Express offers career coaching, mentoring, and 16 Employee Networks that range from the Women’s Interest Network to PRIDE, for LGBT employees and allies. As for recognition, American Express enables employees around the world to celebrate great work of colleagues with RewardBlue animated thank yous or monetary awards, and employee appreciation celebrations.
In addition, American Express is also active in the communities they encompass. Its Community Service program includes matching employee donations to charities, flexibility to volunteer on company time, free family access to arts and cultural institutions, and participating in local community service projects. By giving back, American Express hopes to spread their friendly company culture to those they serve. As one employee puts it, “The benefits and the positive attitude of the company and how they treat their employees is what makes them stand above any other company I have ever worked for!”
Founded in 2010, Conductor is a marketing technology company that helps large corporations, like FedEx, increase their web presence through “unpaid” channels. Though small, the employees at Conductor work hard and dive right into the work. One employee explains, “Employees are given a lot of responsibility no matter what their title and tenure. It is not uncommon to see individual contributors given full control over a project that has direct impact on the company’s bottom line. You can’t get this in a larger company.” Company culture revolves around employee networking and engagement. This can be seen through activities such as casino nights, karaoke, barbecues, trivia nights, soccer and basketball teams, as well as happy hour. Furthermore, as part of employee recognition, Conductor recognizes employees that have been with with the company since its beginning, with the Sharing the Wealth program, that not only gives these original employees “co-founder” titles, but also receive the founders’ shares of Conductor Common Stock.
Also, a big part of Conductor culture is the open communication and transparency. According to Great Rated!’s review, 98% employees, feel their leaders are approachable and easy to talk with. In addition, 96% say management keeps them informed about important issues and changes. These elements of Conductor help make the company become a leader in their industry.
The marketing technology company helps Fortune 500 brand clients empower real people to inform, inspire, and strengthen their marketing through its People-Powered Marketing Platform. Employee recognition ranges from fun outings like summertime trips to the beach to regular team dinners. The unique, no titles management style within its technology team allows for employee career growth in the industry and the chance to move between departments. One employee explains, “We’re a flat structure in that we don’t have titles, we have responsibilities, and anyone can wish to take on a responsibility and take ownership of a piece of the product. This is very unique because in every other company I’ve worked with, I’ve always been a link in the reporting chain of command.”
In addition, this corporate freedom allows employees to show their creative side at Crowdtap events. The Annual Hack-a-thon event allows employees to team up and work on projects they are passionate about without any company restrictions. Winning teams receive bragging rights and special prizes. Events like this guarantee that Crowdtap employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and encouraging co-workers to produce great work.
The global investment banking, securities, and investment management firm provides financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments, and high-net-worth individuals. Though their employee base is over 34,000, Goldman Sachs works hard to create a supportive and inspiring work culture. From fun, monthly cultural celebrations to local outings, Goldman Sachs brings a sense of unity and teamwork. As one employee explains, “I believe the GS culture really helps to make the firm a great place to work. The people are extremely intelligent and highly driven. For the most part, they are very team-focused and understand that for the firm to succeed, teams, not just individuals, must succeed. To this end, co-workers are willing to help do whatever is needed to accomplish the team’s goals.” Part of this success also comes from Goldman Sachs’ commitment to helping their employees maximize their performance and potential by offering training and other learning and development programs, such as Talks@GS, a speaker series that offers employees opportunities to learn more about some of the major issues shaping the world today.
In addition, Goldman Sachs gives back to its community in many ways. Employees receive one day of paid time to volunteer a year and in 2014, Goldman Sachs committed more than $185 million to philanthropic endeavors, including engagement through the Goldman Sachs Gives program (GS Gives) and expanding 10,000 Women and 10,000 Small Businesses to include new academic and non-proﬁt partners. GS Gives also allows partners at the firm to recommend grants to non-profit organizations, and has granted over $867 million to various organizations since 2010. All and all, the hard work achieved at Goldman Sachs would not be possible without the motivated employees.
With over 27,000 employees across the U.S., this Big 4 accounting firm unites employees through training and career growth. For instance, the KPMG Business School allows for employees to be trained on technical, business and leadership topics. Employees looking to branch out from their team can participate in job rotations or relocate within the United States or globally. Mentors are always on hand thanks to a national database. This helps the employees feel value and appreciation. “The people make KPMG a great place to work. It’s some of the brightest minds working together to accomplish tasks and goals. We’re all in it together, constantly helping one another grow in our knowledge and abilities to handle complex accounting tasks. I’ve found mentors, traveled to different places, experienced a wide breadth of industries.”
As for recognition employees can receive spot awards for great work, and the firm hosts fun social events like summer barbecues and visits to the Bronx Zoo. In addition, KPMG encourages its people to get involved in community service and provides each person with 12 hours of paid time to volunteer per year. The firm also encourages people to recognize and celebrate the higher purpose behind what they do and provides avenues for people to share their stories about how their work makes a positive impact on clients and the community, through videos and interactive social media campaigns. This helps encourage employees and demonstrates the great work they are doing at KPMG.
Founded in 2008, NewCred’s cutting-edge marketing technology empowers brands to transform the way they connect with people, build brand love, and power the entire customer experience. In the same way NewsCred is dedicated to its customers, NewsCred is also passionate about the employees that are essential to its continued success so it’s important that the company maintains a fun and inspirational atmosphere where employees can be their own boss, yet can rely on a friendly and supportive team. According to Great Rated!’s review, 97% of employees say they often or almost always enjoy their colleagues and find their workplace to be fun and cooperative. Perks include: ping pong tables, free snacks and beverages, regularly catered meals and happy hours every Thursday with locally brewed beer. NewsCred also helps employees grow within the company through company-created workshops and ongoing career training through partnerships with educational companies.
Employee recognition is heavily focused on peer-to-peer recognition. As one employee explains, “We each have an opportunity to showcase our work and inform the team of important projects. Not only does this ensure open communication among the organization, but it’s a great opportunity to get recognized.” These “Demo Days” also allow senior management to make announcements and recognize and celebrate those employees who have gone the extra mile. NewsCred honors an employee’s work/life balance and is on the fast track towards success in the digital marketing industry.
As one of the leaders in website publishing services, Squarespace provides creative tools for anyone to put their ideas online in a beautiful way. Creativity runs through the company’s veins, and Squarespace helps employees work to their potential through training and mentorship. Programs include over 80 hours of annual training for full-time staff, Leadership Labs for managers and team leads, and Hack Weeks during which employees abandon their usual tasks for a week to work on something creative and fun. Furthermore, Squarespace employees are not afraid to bounce ideas off of one another and present them to all levels of the company. As one employee explains, there are “lots of opportunities to learn. [Squarespace provides a] Transparent structure with great learning resources (people, workshops, software programs and free information).”
Squarespace employees also enjoy a fun office environment with free daily lunch, PlayStations, scavenger hunts and other seasonal outings for team development. The “no doors” office layout helps employees network and build strong relationships with each other, and extends to all parts of the org – the CEO and other members of the executive team don’t have corner offices. Leaving the corporate norm behind helps Squarespace break more boundaries in their industry.
In addition, employees at Squarespace enjoy unlimited vacation days and flexibility in their work schedule, working either in the office or at home. All in all, Squarespace cares less about titles and business cards and more about creating an environment where employees can concentrate on developing more innovative solutions for their customers.
Encompassing a diverse staff that is motivated by improving education in communities, Teach For America is a nonprofit organization that recruits and trains college graduates and professionals to teach for at least two years in high-need public schools around the country. Employee training is a top priority for Teach For America, as they provide one-on-one mentorship and feedback for staff members looking to get into leadership roles. Furthermore, Teach For America recognizes their hard working staff through creative celebrations, such as an annual “Share the Love” campaign, recipe swaps and March Madness Brackets, as well as activities like afternoon yoga classes in some of their 50 regions.
In addition, Teach For America is very involved in the communities they serve, this includes local toy drives, donating old computers, gadgets and other electronic items to those in need. Most importantly, according to Great Rated!’s review, 88% of employees report that they often or almost always carry meaningful responsibilities within the organization and are proud of their accomplishments, community impact and the company’s reputation in the world.
As one employee sums up their experience: “This isn’t just a place to work, but a place to become a better person for your community and yourself. My time working here has been the greatest professional development I could ever imagine.”
Yext’s software lets companies manage their digital presence in online maps, directories and apps. Over 400,000 businesses make millions of monthly updates across 90+ exclusive global partners, making Yext the global market leader. Because of the innovative industry, Yext encourages its employees to take advantage of group training opportunities and attend industry conferences. As one employee explains, “Yext expects a lot from its employees (like deploying code changes to production on their first day), but gives them great resources to help them succeed (like mentors when people start or training opportunities). Our interns also get to contribute more and learn more than at any internship I’ve heard of.”
Moreover, Yext creates a fun and united culture through perks and programs such as happy hours, free lunch and dinner every day, unlimited vacation, and weekly “Manifesto” meetings, a company-wide meeting led by the executive team where different departments showcase new products and initiatives via live demos. During Manifesto employees are allowed to ask any questions to the CEO, which provides unique company transparency. Yext takes great pride in promoting a collaborative environment, where each employee has meaningful responsibility, is encouraged to take initiative, and is provided with every opportunity to excel in their career. As another employee notes, “From entry level up to executive, everyone has a say and can make an impact on the direction of the company. We are laid back but get stuff done, and when you have smart, happy people working together, that’s when you produce some incredible things.”
Yodle helps 50,000+ local business owners find and keep their customers through the company’s online marketing products, and knows the importance of great company culture and employee appreciation. The New York headquarters blend fun and professionalism, with open office space, music playing, gongs to be rung when someone makes a significant accomplishment and more. Yodle just moved into an expansive new office with a lot of natural light, areas for open collaboration, and gorgeous views of New York City landmarks like the Freedom Tower and the Hudson River. Yodle recognizes their employees through official employee recognition programs like the Yodle Stars and President’s Club, as well as fun outings, happy hours, luncheons and daily peer-to-peer recognition. One employee describes, “Everything you do is recognized daily. Tons of positive reinforcement for making a sale or doing well. They are always striving for you to get better every day and for your development as a professional and a person.” Yodle cares about career growth and offers their employees tuition assistance on courses and leadership development training programs.
In addition, Yodle gives back to the community through initiatives organized by the IDEA (interdepartmental events and activities) committee. There, employees can participate in community activities such as New York Cares Day and City Harvest’s annual Skip Lunch fundraiser. According to Great Rated!’s review, 80% of employees agreed with the statement, “I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.” Overall, Yodle creates a “team feel” environment where employees are comfortable sharing ideas and learning from each other.
As you can see, company culture, community service, employee engagement, and recognition can be shown in many different ways. And we think you’ll agree each of these companies are pretty cool.
Created in 2013, the Coolest Companies to Work For award establishes public recognition of companies that provide exceptional work environments. To select this year’s winners in New York City, O.C. Tanner partnered with Great Rated! to survey almost 20,000 employees in order to identify the 10 companies where employees’ leaders are most trustworthy, their colleagues are exceptional, and people do work they are proud of.