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The World's 25 Best Multinational Workplaces

Ben Baden

Employees have spoken, and three technology companies took the top spots in a new survey of the best multinational workplaces: Microsoft, software-maker SAS, and data-storage company NetApp.The Great Place to Work Institute, the same company that created the original 100 Best Companies to Work for in America list 15 years ago, has released its first ranking of the world's 25 best multinational workplaces.[See The 50 Best Careers of 2011.]To be eligible for the list, companies must have appeared on at least five national Great Places to Work lists, have at least 5,000 employees worldwide, and at least 40 percent of their global workforce must work outside of the company's home country. The 25 companies were chosen from a pool of more than 350 multinationals from 45 countries that participated in the survey."What we found in great workplaces is that they don't just do business as usual, and they try to be innovative, creative, and they really care about their people," says Jose Tolovi, global CEO of the Great Place to Work Institute.To determine the best workplaces, the Great Place to Work Institute, a global research firm based in San Francisco, surveys employees about what it's like working at their company.Tolovi says each company has three characteristics that make a great workplace: trust, pride, and camaraderie. "Trust is the essential trait," he says. In the questionnaire given to employers, 60 percent of the questions are related to trust. "The best companies listen a lot to their people and then according to that, they keep changing and innovating," Tolovi says.[See Job Outlook Improving for Class of 2012.]Of the 25 multinational companies on the list, 18 are based in the United States. The other seven companies are domiciled in Europe.Companies received extra points for the number of countries in which employees participated in the survey, as well as the percentage of its employees that participated. For instance, Microsoft employees from 26 countries participated (the most of any country), and 86 percent of its total workforce was represented in the survey. SAS and Google each included 70 percent of their global workforce in the survey, and NetApp included 78 percent.Lisa Brummel, chief people officer at Microsoft, says Microsoft strives to be very "employee-centric." "The thing that makes us most unique at Microsoft is the investment that we actually make in our employees--whether it's benefits or whether it's training or whether it's getting top talent to come and work with our employees here," Brummel says. "We really do invest a lot in the work experience--both the physical work experience, our buildings are great, people get great hardware to work with--as well as the intangible things whether it's being able to go outside and play cricket, soccer, or baseball in the middle of the day, or whether it's being able to get to and from work in an easy way." Brummel says the company aims to give employees in every location a chance to make their voice heard about their workplace environment.[See In Pictures: 6 Ways the Work World is Changing.]To put the size and scope of the companies into perspective, the top 25 companies have a combined total of 724,047 employees globally, and over the past 12 months, they have together created more than 30,000 jobs. In addition, these companies are highly competitive--each receive, on average, seven job applications per employee.Here is the Great Place to Work Institute's full list of the World's Best Multinational Workplaces:1. Microsoft (TSXV: US.V)2. SAS (TSXV: US.V)3. NetApp (TSXV: US.V)4. Google (TSXV: US.V)5. Fedex (TSXV: US.V)6. Cisco (TSXV: US.V)7. Marriot (TSXV: US.V)8. McDonald's (TSXV: US.V)9. Kimberly Clark (TSXV: US.V)10. SC Johnson (TSXV: US.V)11. Diageo (UK)12. American Express (TSXV: US.V)13. Medtronic (TSXV: US.V)14. Intel (TSXV: US.V)15. Hilti (Germany)16. 3M (TSXV: US.V)17. Telefonica (Spain)18. National Instruments (TSXV: US.V)19. Mars (TSXV: US.V)20. Accenture (Ireland)21. Roche (Switzerland)22. Novo Nordisk (Denmark)23. Coca Cola (TSXV: US.V)24. Atento (Spain)25. Quintiles (TSXV: US.V)Twitter: @benbaden