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March 31, 2020
Brad Jamison

The best and worst Glassdoor reviews reveal what employees want most

As the “future of work” is as uncertain as ever, we can only take educated guesses at what employees want and how to keep them happy. In this article, we’ll be exploring the best and worst Glassdoor reviews we could find to see if we can crack the code on what 2020 teams are hoping to find at work.

Employees are evolutionary

Technology and culture both evolve too fast for us to see it happen.

You can’t watch in real time as trends in fashion shift, you have to reflect on the changes as they pass by. You can’t see the universal pivots in the foods we eat, the shows we watch, or the books we read as they unfold.

We also can’t predict what wave of change will come next.

The same is true for all the articles that try to forecast what the “future of work” will look like. We postulate about remote work and AI and all the tech that will change the way we do our jobs. We’re always trying to anticipate the change.

When you add that unmistakably rapid change to the unpredictable infinities of human personality and preference, it might seem futile to attempt to give employees what they want. But what if you could aggregate data from the world’s employees, far and wide? What if you could ask them all what they like, what makes them angry, and what helps them succeed? We wanted those answers, so we went digging for them on Glassdoor. 

The best Glassdoor reviews reveal what employees want most

Employees want inspiring colleagues 

A consulting company is only as impressive as the consultants it employs. It’s no surprise, then, that at Bain Consulting, the people make all the difference.

Amidst the many positive reviews for everything from the clients to the culture, you’ll find one common thread: “the people I work with”. One reviewer cited “high powered teams and challenging problems” as the fuel behind her 5-star recommendation, while another employee shared this: 

“It’s incredible to feel like you’re part of a community that’s in your corner and wants to propel your career.” 

While most employees won’t expect to like or befriend every fellow worker, everyone wants to feel compatible in the workplace. From these reviews, that compatibility should come with a dose of challenge and motivation to keep things interesting. Hire dynamic, culture-compatible people for every role, from entry-level to executive. A big part of Bain’s consistently high Glassdoor rating is their continuously top-rated CEO, Manny Maceda. 

Employees know that happiness is contagious 

If you ask anyone who works for Zoom, they’ll tell you: happiness is woven into the culture there. You’ll find more of the same happiness sprinkled through the company’s 289 Glassdoor reviews, aggregating to an impressive overall rating of 4.7 stars out of 5. 

The positive culture, along with the “second-to-none” employer benefits and extras like MTO (My Time Off) might seem like enough cause for a happy dance. While employee recognition is kind of a big deal, there’s an extra bit of magic to Zoom’s employer brand. According to reviews, Zoom thrives on a mix of “fantastic leadership,” “intrinsically high energy”, and “the freedom to succeed.” If you want to borrow from Zoom’s employer playbook, start with positivity in leadership

Read more about how employee recognition has positive impacts on the bottom line.

Employees want progress 

When you think of progress and agents of change, what companies or brands come to mind? From the consumer lens, Adobe has secured its place in the innovation and creativity Hall of Fame. As their impeccable Glassdoor profile would suggest, Adobe strikes a creative chord with employees, too. 

But it isn’t just an atmosphere of creativity that helps Adobe attract and retain top talent, it’s empowerment.

Adobe’s reviews suggest that they actually invest in their employees and empower their careers and aspirations within and outside of the workday. It certainly helps that Adobe’s products and services fuel creative production for their consumers. Adobe also stands for progress in the larger sense, leading the charge in diversity and inclusivity—a factor that most employees find really, really important. 

Employees want to trust you 

The employee/employer relationship is just like it sounds: it’s a relationship between a human and a company. In order for that relationship to thrive, employees need to feel that they can trust their employer—both the organization and the people who run it.

To build trust with your employees, study the culture at DocuSign. DocuSign employees cite two key reasons for the overwhelming ease and trust within their company: 

1. Ethics in operation
Most employees will identify with their work, and most want to. It’s healthy for us to attach some part of ourselves and our identity to our life’s work (although, not too much!).

If your employees feel that their values and morals are at odds with their employer, they won’t feel safe to express themselves, nor will they feel aligned with the work they’re doing. That’s going to become a problem. Companies should prioritize the best interests of their consumers, their employees, and their larger impact, or risk losing employee trust. 


Millennial and Gen Z employees want to be proud of where they work, and use their career to contribute to the greater good. How can you help them?

2. Transparency in leadership
The executive leadership team at DocuSign creates and upholds an open and transparent culture of communication. Managers and supervisors adopt the same transparency, owing to the comfort and openness their leaders have created. When an employee feels that they can ask a question, seek more context, or make a suggestion (and have it actually be taken into account), trust has been established. 

The worst Glassdoor reviews reveal what employees don't want

To give your employees the workplace they deserve, it’s important to study the bad reviews, too. What would you learn about employee satisfaction if you could interview former employees at the 20 worst companies to work for?

We examined the worst Glassdoor reviews for the worst-reviewed companies. Here’s what to avoid: 


We go to work because we need the money to pay for our lives. When our pay, compensation, or other benefits come under threat, emotions run high. Your employees are parents, and homeowners, and renters, and pet owners, and caretakers. They all rely on the mutual benefits of working for you.

Layoffs, gossip, overwhelming change, inconsistent feedback, and dishonesty can all send warning signs to your employees that their employment is at risk. Prolonged instability at work may cause employees to lash out, panic, or even consider leaving the company. 


Employees want to feel that their work enhances and blends with their already-full life. Your employees are balancing family and friends, volunteerism, personal development, entertainment, travel, and a whole host of obligations and opportunities outside of work. Most likely, you are too.

So consider this: What might you gain by giving your employees more room to be themselves? What would be the risk to let your employees have more control? How can you bridge the gap between work and home? 

BTW: Supporting your teams’ personal needs isn’t just good for them. Their satisfaction can absolutely help your business succeed!


The obvious yet unsung hero of employee satisfaction is respect.

If your organization and its leaders respect your employees, trust will be natural. On a foundation of trust, you can build the energy and happiness and motivation that employees are looking for. Respect looks different depending on the dynamics and culture of your company, but you can start here:

  • Prioritize employee safety, security, and privacy
  • Listen to employee concerns and take action where possible
  • Give credit, show appreciation, and acknowledge hard work
  • Offer feedback in a healthy and constructive way
  • Protect employee rights and privileges 

The bottom line: Employees want to be heard 

We can only infer so much about what employees want based on the best and worst Glassdoor reviews we explored. There’s so much more to unlock about your unique teams, their personalities, and their potential.

Your employees are probably already showing signs of what they need most and it never hurts to ask. We’ve got some great suggestions to help you source employee feedback! You’ve already taken the first great step to total employee satisfaction by recognizing how much your employees’ happiness and comfort matters. 

Next, it’s time to have the tough conversations, explore the best ways to do better for your team, and go above and beyond. Every time we watch another company give more to their employees, we see the unmissable lift in what employees can do for their employers. You could be next! 

Zestful: recognize and reward your employees—minus the admin work.

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