What makes a company cool? For customers, it’s mostly about cool products and services. But when it comes to employees, a cool company is one where people take pride in working. A company that expects excellence and gives back through perks and programs that appreciate, recognize, and reward their employees. Cool companies understand that by treating their employees right, the ROI will be greater employee retention, better performance, and higher profitability.
If you’ve been wondering how to raise your own corporate cool factor, you’ll be interested to know there are companies across the U.S. doing just that every day. One place in particular, the Boston area, is currently a hotbed of corporate “cool” culture. Here’s a look at the top 10 coolest companies to work for in Boston.
1. Raytheon Company
This technology leader specializing in defense and homeland security offers its employees some amazing standard benefits such as flexible scheduling, weekly paychecks, weekends off, 24 paid days off per year, and solid health and retirement plans. Located just outside Boston in Waltham, Raytheon also works with local retailers to offer employees special discounts. Add that to a relaxed casual work atmosphere free from micromanagement and a milestone program that recognizes and rewards employees for their contributions—it’s easy to see why this 90 year old company is considered one of the cooler companies to work for.
2. Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc.
Providing products and services for the scientific community, Thermo Fisher Scientific, also of Waltham, has received high marks from both management and personnel. In addition to offering a competitive benefits package, the company prides itself in providing a work environment that fosters teamwork, communication, and cooperation for its nearly 39,000 employees. Thermo Fisher Scientific has also instituted milestone and performance rewards programs to celebrate the individual career achievements of employees and further acknowledge those whose efforts have made a difference for customers, co-workers, and the company.
3. TripAdvisor, Inc.
Operating in 30 countries and headquartered in Newton, TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site. Priding itself in being flexible, the company allows its employees the opportunity to assume new roles, rotating through teams and departments—even working from home—until they find the best possible fit. In addition,TripAdvisor employees enjoy excellent compensation and a decidedly cool benefits package which includes comprehensive health insurance, 401K plan, pet insurance, adoption assistance, generous vacation and sick days, free catered lunches, an onsite gym, discounts on travel”¦and the list goes on. With serious online learning and development classes, TripAdvisor is one travel company that’s making sure its employees’ careers are going somewhere.
Founded upon the need for small businesses to make an impression that sets them apart from the competition, Vistaprint provides a vast array of affordably priced professional marketing products and services. Recently, the Dutch company with regional headquarters in Lexington, was recognized by the Boston Globe for offering its employees a very cool and popular perk—free lunch. Every other Wednesday, two catering trucks show up in the parking lot and dish up an all you can eat buffet of hot dogs, tacos, and Korean barbecue noodle bowls. This kind of tangible and tasty show of appreciation is just one of the many ways Vistaprint helps its employees feel appreciated and connected.
5. Analysis Group, Inc.
Offering economic and financial analysis to Fortune 500 companies, top law firms, and government agencies, Analysis Group’s coolness comes from what could be called a “collegial” corporate culture. That’s because Analysis Group encourages and helps its employees to advance their careers through higher education—helping them prepare and apply for business schools while paying up to half of their tuition if they return to work for the company. In addition to bonuses for workers who reach their goals, the Boston based company also provides mentors and advisors to help employees broaden their skills and work towards promotions.
6. Boston Harbor Hotel
Located on the site of a 17th century battery in the heart of Boston, the Boston Harbor Hotel prides itself in delivering five-star service to its guests and employees. Management offers VIP treatments to all of its employees, making these “internal guests” feel as important and appreciated as the clientele. And the free employee cafeteria overseen by the executive chef and often frequented by the General Manager, creates a sense of family and community. An integral part of Boston Harbor Hotel’s recognition program is its monthly “Milkshake Moments” where the company honors employees who go above and beyond to accommodate a guest’s request.
7. Enterasys Networks, Inc.
“I feel valued and validated.” “I have freedom to express my ideas, and my opinion counts in the company.” “I have the opportunity to interact with people from all over the world and assist them in achieving their goals.” These are just a few of the employee accolades that helped put Enterasys Networks—a leading provider of wired and wireless infrastructures to large and small enterprises—on the Boston Globe’s prestigious list of “Top Places to Work in Boston” for 2012. In an interview with the Globe, Chris Crowell, President and CEO of Enterasys, explained employees are the company’s greatest asset, and they are encouraged to “share ideas and collaborate at every level.” Their philosophy of “happy employees means happy customers” has made this Andover company a very cool place to work. No wonder the company’s employee attrition rate is less than five percent.
8. Hill Holliday
With a management style described by one employee as “wonderfully chill and open,” Hill Holliday, an upscale advertising and marketing firm, has a family office dynamic that makes it a cool and creative place to work. Eliminating hierarchies and focusing on teamwork and the open exchange of ideas allows all—including interns and juniors—to have their ideas heard in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Plus the free massages, manicures, and end of the month parties do a lot to make employees feel valued and recognized for their efforts at this Boston company.
9. HubSpot, Inc.
Specializing in marketing software for small and medium sized businesses, HubSpot has garnered employee praise for providing an open and transparent environment. A quick walk around the office and you’ll see a fridge stocked with free beer and snacks, foosball tables, x-box stations, and games galore. But the cool factor for this Cambridge company? They don’t track their employees’ hours. That means unlimited vacation. They simply ask their employees to use good judgment.
ZeroTurnaround, a tech firm that creates tools to juice up Java applications, has a very unique cool factor. This Estonian based company sent several of its top performers in the Boston office on a working vacation to Crete. Why? Because the company’s founders had always wanted to go there. They even got to sail on a pirate ship. This is the second Grecian go-around for the company. And it’s set to become an annual way to recognize and reward those employees who reach their goals. How cool is that?
So there you have it—the coolest of the cool in the Boston area. HR professionals who get it, know that companies with cool corporate identities have an edge over competitors that are perceived as old school. After all, cool companies attract top recruits—talented and motivated people—who want to be a part of an organization that stretches their abilities, values commitment, rewards performance, and provides a fun and relaxed atmosphere. That’s the kind of corporate coolness that drives innovation and increases employee retention.