The Best Place in the World to Work

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Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Wash. Its workplace was named the best of any multinational corporation.

No, seriously, the entire world. The Great Place to Work Institute (we didn’t know it existed either) just ranked the best multinational company workplaces around the globe. And the winner is …

Microsoft. The information technology and software behemoth topped the institute’s list as the multinational corporation that keeps its employees the happiest. In fact, the top four were all IT companies: SAS, NetApp and Google, with FedEx rounding out the top five.

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So what makes these companies’ workplaces so pleasant? It differs from company to company, but the running thread in all of them seems to be that they make the little guy feel as important as the top dog. The three traits all of these companies had were employee trust in management, employee pride in the company and workers feeling camaraderie with other colleagues that they were all striving toward a common goal, according to USA Today.

But there were also some outstanding qualities specific to certain companies, like Microsoft’s Canadian division giving workers 40 paid hours annually to use for volunteer activities, and NetApp’s chairman, who calls roughly 30 employees every week to thank them for their work.

To make the list, the companies had to have at least 5,000 employees worldwide with 40% (or 5,000) of their workforce based outside their home country. The institute evaluated a number of factors for the ranking, including health benefits and turnover. One reason NetApp made the list, according to USA Today, was the way the company treated employees it had to let go in 2009, when it cut its workforce by 5%. The company’s higher-ups hosted in-person meetings and handed out a video in which the CEO explained the reasons behind the layoffs.

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Maybe the most surprising finding in the ranking was that salary ranked below a number of other attributes in importance. Respect for the company’s leaders, work/life balance, the type of work employees are performing and the quality of co-workers and leadership all ranked above pay as more desirable.

Pay aside, as a note to my editor, I’ll be expecting a call this week lauding my performance as well as a few hours off to use toward charitable causes.

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