You can't actually find the news through a Google search just yet, but it's official: For the second year in a row
, Google is No 1. on Fortune magazine and the Great Place to Work
Institute's list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For.
How'd Google manage to snag the top spot for another year?
"Everything they're doing this year is better than what they were doing last year, which was already great," says Leslie Caccamese, communications director
at the Great Place to Work Institute.
Software company SAS, a perennial favorite, took the No. 2 spot on the list, which was available only on Fortune's iPad app Wednesday in advance of
Thursday's formal announcement on Fortune.com. CHG Healthcare, Boston Consulting Group, and
supermarket chain Wegmans rounded out the top five.
"If you look at the top 10, they are all trendsetters doing the right thing for their employees," says Pamela Meek, senior director for external
communications at SAS. "For us, it means that we're still succeeding at creating an environment of trust and mutual respect. That's something worthy of
All the companies on the list shared a few common goals over the past year, Caccamese says, including staff wellness, employee development, and connecting
a global workforce.
Google's constant evolution
"A company does not stay in the No. 1 spot without making significant changes," Caccamese says. "The thing about Google is that their culture is constantly
in motion. When we took a look at their Culture Audit this year, it looked like the vast majority of the programs they were talking about were either new
or enhancements to what they were doing."
One-third of a company's score in the Great Place to Work Institute's judging process comes from the Culture Audit, an analysis of company policies. The
other two-thirds comes from the Trust Index, an employee survey.
Google's growth over the past year was so all-encompassing that Caccamese couldn't really point to any one program that stood out. It all changed for the
better. She says that's an extension of Google's spirit of collaboration and openness, embodied by highly approachable executives and employee freedom to
work on their own projects.
The Fortune app does point out one big change for Google over the past year, however. The company opened three new wellness centers and a seven-acre sports
complex for employees.
"The message is clear: The best companies to work for want to take care of the employee as a whole person," Caccamese says. "They're creating the systems
that allow that kind of focus on personal wellness to exist."
Google spokeswoman Katelin Todhunter-Gerberg says Google didn't have anything in particular to share about its No. 1 position.
"We'll let the ranking speak for itself," she says.
When asked for their major areas of focus over the past year, the 100 companies on the list shared three big goals, Caccamese pointed out in a blog post last week.
The first, and perhaps most obvious, is employee wellness, she says, which Google certainly got involved in 2012.
"Everybody's preparing to deal with expanding health care costs, and one of the ways they're doing that is by expanding their wellness programs," Caccamese
The best companies aren't focusing solely on the physical. The concept of wellness is expanding to include contributions to the community, building
stronger families and spurring acts of citizenship, she says.
The second area is professional development. Training employees is nothing new for big companies, Caccamese points out, but the top companies are working
not just to educate employees, but also to develop them into leaders from within.
"You want your next level of executives to know what the next level is about," she says.
That includes diversity development programs which aim to make a company's management team as diverse as its broader workforce.
Third, there's the growth of the global workforce, which doesn't just mean people are working in offices in different places. They're also working
collaboratively across borders, languages, and cultures. Caccamese points to Cisco, the No. 42 company on this year's list, as an example of a company
that's fostering global collaboration.
"They do almost all of their meetings and training globally," she says. "People are attending the same trainings and executive meanings globally."
Of course, it helps that Cisco makes many of the tools to enable that kind of communication, Caccamese notes.
Matt Wilson is a staff writer for Ragan.com.