bptw

Best Places to Work 2020

By Bradley Johnson. Illustrations by Yiffy Gu.
Published on January 13, 2020

Ad Age Best Places to Work 2020 honors 50 companies that have figured out what works.

The winning workplaces—25 companies with 200 or fewer employees and 25 companies with more than 200 employees—reflect the highest overall numerical scores based on an analysis of questionnaires submitted by employers and survey responses from thousands of their employees.

Ad Age’s scoring system includes six key satisfaction areas: employee benefits, company culture, company environment, employee perks, employee development and employee engagement.

The scoring system factors in the importance of those six key satisfaction areas, an aggregate of each company’s ratings in those key areas and a collective workplace rating to arrive at an overall score.

For the second year, we produced Ad Age Best Places to Work in partnership with Latitude Research, a market research firm. Ad agencies and digital agencies accounted for a majority of entries in this year’s survey, with other agency disciplines, ad tech and media ventures accounting for most of the remaining entries.

Among key takeaways:

What’s most important to employees: Unsurprisingly, core employee benefits (fair pay, health insurance, paid time off) are must-haves.

What most affects the workplace ratings: Employee benefits alone don’t translate to a high workplace rating. Instead, company culture and a supportive environment are most likely to be associated with high marks.

Don’t overplay perks: Many employers offer a host of perks, such as providing free food or allocating space in the office for games and relaxation. But relative to other areas like employee development and engagement, perks matter less to employees.

What distinguishes top performers: Companies that invest in their employees both at work and beyond the office yield big dividends. Offering unique extras will improve workplace scores—from family leave and learning stipends to mentorship programs and time off to give back to the community.

The good news for employers is that most of the surveyed employees perceive their workplace positively and give their company high marks.

Company size matters. Companies with more than 200 employees are slightly less likely to earn a top rating across key areas, but especially when it comes to company culture, environment and employee engagement.

Employees at large companies are just as likely to enjoy their colleagues and feel their individual performance is strong. But they feel less valued and less excited about their career compared to employees at medium and smaller companies.

Best practices

In-depth interviews conducted by Latitude with top-ranked companies show how much thought, planning and work goes into building the foundation for a top ranking in Ad Age Best Places to Work. Top-ranked companies invest significant time and effort in creating, writing and sharing company culture and visions to foster an atmosphere of support and caring for their employees.

The factors that most relate to high workplace ratings encompass feelings of support, encouragement, empowerment and purpose—areas where top-performing companies exceed expectations.

Leaders of top-ranked companies make a conscious effort to provide support and benefits to empower their employees—both as workers and as human beings who have a life. Investments in employee empowerment and supportive services result in happier, more productive employees.

Employees’ experiences at a top-rated company tend to be better across the board. Employees at top-performing companies feel differently about their relationships with their co-workers and management. They respect and have fun with their colleagues and feel there is opportunity for advancement.

Core benefits matter, but are only part of the equation. Employees value basics—fair pay, health coverage and time off. These factors drive a high employee benefits rating, but alone they don’t necessarily drive a high workplace rating.

Perks can add value but are not game changers. Companies tend to overdeliver on free food and happy hours but fall short on some other desirable extras, such as technology stipends. When all is said and done, employee perks have minimal impact on workplace ratings.

Policies and benefits are essential tools for communicating caring and demonstrating supportive management and leadership. However, top-ranked organizations don’t focus on benefits and perks themselves, but on how the company can use benefits and perks to take care of employees and remove barriers that hinder growth and success both professionally and personally.

Whether it’s parental leave, the ability to work remotely, unlimited vacation time, company retreats, free lunches or game rooms, everything is about signaling to the individual that the company wants the employee to succeed in work and out of work.

In this case, there is a clear quid quo pro: We expect a lot from you. And you can expect a lot from us in return.

That’s how the best places work. Adage End Bug

See what works: Check out Ad Age’s 2020 Best Places to Work Industry Report. To learn more and purchase that report, visit AdAge.com/bptwreports.

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201+ Employees

Ad Age Best Places to Work 2020: Top 25, 201+ employees
RankCompanyBusinessTop executive% senior leadership% employees
   FemaleMinority/
multicultural
FemaleMinority/
multicultural
FemaleMinority/
multicultural
1TinuitiDigital agencyNoNo47%21%60%25%
2CrossmediaMedia agencyNoYes4756040
33Q DigitalDigital agencyNoNo42235525
4HealthlineMediaNoNo5036428
5Samsung AdsAd techNoYes15403051
6KlickAd agencyYesNo38105238
7Kepler GroupDigital agencyNoNo3755032
8Digitas HealthAd agencyNoNo5776111
9WpromoteDigital agencyNoNo54616150
10BounteousDigital agencyNoNo38103620
11Critical MassDigital agencyYesNo47234830
12Carmichael LynchAd agencyNoNo42146312
13Firewood MarketingDigital agencyYesYes4386440
14Horizon MediaMedia agencyNoNo60126522
15PwC Digital ServicesDigital agencyNoNoNANANANA
16Publicis Health MediaMedia agencyYesNo69126720
17UMMedia agencyYesNo51436531
18Havas Health & YouAd agencyYesNo48175728
19W2OMarketing and PR agencyNoNo71367343
20Code and TheoryDigital agencyNoNo4604932
21FoursquareAd techNoYes34203839
224CAd techNoNo35254035
23WavemakerMedia agencyYesNo59306342
24VaynerMediaAd agencyNoNo46155028
25FCBAd agencyNoNo59246030
Source: Ad Age and Latitude Research. Numbers rounded. Minority/multicultural: Hispanic or Latino, black or African-American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, two or more races, LGBTQ, persons with disabilities.

Up to 200 employees

Ad Age Best Places to Work 2020: Top 25, up to 200 employees
RankCompanyBusinessTop executive% senior leadership% employees
   FemaleMinority/
multicultural
FemaleMinority/
multicultural
FemaleMinority/
multicultural
1Artisan Media GroupAd agencyNoYes20%100%40%100%
2BakeryAd agencyNoYes42804575
3Jump 450 MediaAd agencyNoYes20203333
4LinkedIn Creative StudioIn-house agencyNoNo3305423
5InfoTrustAd techNoNo30104213
6RocketBrandAd agencyNoNo33175030
7PulsePointAd techNoNo33113030
8TatariAd techNoNo13252533
9ElicitMarketing agencyNoNo42254815
10Happy CogDigital agencyNoNo10253422
11PMGDigital agencyNoNo46245631
12J Public RelationsPR agencyYesNo100107530
13Night After NightAd agencyNoNo55156722
14Marcus ThomasAd agencyNoNo3615539
15Good AppleMedia agencyNoNo65188119
16StiristaAd techNoYes30403545
17NinjaCatAd techNoNo14502550
18Digital RemedyAd techNoNo2504229
19Closed LoopDigital agencyNoNo2505624
20Cogent Entertainment MarketingEvent/experiential marketing agencyNoYes40504744
21Hanapin MarketingDigital agencyNoNo3586016
22MGHMarketing and PR agencyNoNo4617215
23Scrum50Digital agencyNoNo6006119
24Path InteractiveDigital agencyNoNo50254237
25The Via AgencyAd agencyYesNo25254911
Source: Ad Age and Latitude Research. Numbers rounded. Minority/multicultural: Hispanic or Latino, black or African-American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native, two or more races, LGBTQ, persons with disabilities.
Web Production by Corey Holmes.