NetApp
Courtesy: NetApp

The 25 Best Global Companies to Work For

Oct 23, 2014

A recent study of multi-national companies by workplace consultant and research firm Great Place to Work ranks the world’s best employers.

These 25 companies have appeared on at least five of GPTW’s national great workplace lists, employ more than 5,000 people worldwide, and must have 40% of their workforce located outside of their home country. For the complete methodology, visit greatplacetowork.com.

Google's offices in Dublin
Google's offices in Dublin

1. Google

Revenue: $55.5 billion
Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.
Employees: 43,862
Google’s perks and pay are well known: free high-quality meals, meditation facilities, onsite health professionals and fitness centers. Less known are internal programs like “Grow,” which helps employees find opportunities, resources and advice for their professional development. The “Grow” one-stop shop allows employees to manage their growth within the company. This year, Google added more programs related to parenthood, childcare and finance. Google employees receive recognition through a hub called “gThanks” that gives feedback and peer bonuses. Says one employee, "Google has a genuine interest in developing their employees' careers, especially when it comes to internal mobility. There are tons of opportunities everywhere and Google really invests in their employees to retain their top talent."

2. SAS

Revenue: $3.02 billion
Headquarters: Cary, N.C.
Employees: 13,679
The business analytics software and services company has an Employee Volunteer Fund that provides a cash contribution to education-based nonprofit organizations where an employee has donated at least 50 hours of volunteer support in three out of four quarters throughout a year. Last year, SAS employees volunteered more than 24,000 hours, resulting in $84,250 given to schools. At headquarters, SAS also has on-campus healthcare center, which provides free health and wellness programs to employees and their families. Employees can see a health care professional, pick up a prescription at the on-campus pharmacy and be back at their desk in just a half hour. There’s also an in-door pool, yoga classes at the fitness center, or programs ranging from parenting to stress management at the on-site Work-Life Center. The perks seem to work: The company’s turnover rate is 3 percent, well below the industry average of 15%. Says CEO and founder Jim Goodnight, “SAS’ philosophy has been focused on people and well-being since day one. We take great pride in caring for every aspect of the employee experience.”

NetApp's Human Logo
NetApp's Human Logo

3. NetApp

Revenue: $6.33 billion
Headquarters: Sunnyvale, Calif.
Employees: 12,318
At this network data storage and management solutions company, great work does not go unrecognized. Vice Chairman Tom Mendoza personally phones employees to thank them for their contributions. The program is called “Catch Someone Doing Something Right,” and Mendoza makes about 30 to 40 calls each week. As he says, “If you allocate 10 percent of your time to making sure the employees that work for you know how much you personally care, I think you’ll have a better culture.” Employees consider a call from Mendoza one of the highlights of their work experience. The company has other creative ways of honoring outstanding accomplishments, too, including tacking notes of appreciation on a Wall of Awesomeness in some offices and regionally presenting “Living Our Values” awards to employees. Says one employee, “Almost everyone across the company is willing and wants to help. This applies even when reaching out to other business units. Management candor, especially at the highest levels, is unprecedented in my many years in the industry.”

Pete Stone

4. W.L. Gore & Associates

Revenue: $3.09 billion
Headquarters: Newark, D.E.
Employees: 10,337
As part of the device and product manufacturer’s non-traditional management structure, leadership positions are earned, not appointed. To truly lead at Gore (best known for its Gore-Tex fabrics), candidates must exhibit an ability to lead, or what the company calls “followership.” When the current CEO Terri L. Kelly was named, the company surveyed its top leaders and asked whom they would support as its next president. The company invites input from all corners of the organization when making similar decisions. Greasing the wheels of the process, each associate at the company is paired with a mentor known as a sponsor who serves as a coach, advocate and go-to resource. The sponsor is the first person to interact with new hires upon their arrival at the plant. Says one employee, “I am proud to work for a company that puts as much emphasis and effort into Associate development and well-being as W.L. Gore and Associates. It is often hard to get new Associates or people outside of Gore to understand the lengths to which this company will go to ensure that we are being fair not only to our Associates but to everyone we do business with.”

5. Belcorp

Revenue: $1.9 billion
Headquarters: Lima, Peru
Employees: 9,600
Direct marketing cosmetics company Belcorp lets employees set their own schedules. One of the company’s most popular wellness programs is  “Flextime," which allows employees the ability to work around their personal commitments and family needs. The company says it boosts productivity, attracts new job candidates, and keeps employee satisfaction high. Seventy percent of executives and senior management are female. Says founder and CEO Belmont Anderson, “In Belcorp we encourage passion and entrepreneurship to maximize our actions. We strengthen our relationships by being caring and authentic.”

6. Microsoft

Revenue: $77.8 billion
Headquarters: Redmond, W.A.
Employees: 128,076
A perennial of Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list, the software giant is known for its highly competitive compensation and rich benefits programs. Stellar employee survey results landed it on this year's global list, but in July, the company’s recently appointed CEO Satya Nadella announced that he would realign Microsoft’s workforce by laying off approximately 18,000 employees, more than 14% of its workforce. As part of the job reductions, the company expects to eliminate 12,500 positions in its Nokia Devices and Services division. In an e-mail to staff, Nadella says the company would be offering severance to all impacted employees as well as job transition help wherever possible. “My promise to you is that we will go through this process in the most thoughtful and transparent way possible.”

Courtesy of Marriott International

7. Marriott

Revenue: $12.78 billion
Headquarters: Bethesda, M.D.
Employees: 203,685
In August, the hospitality company’s CEO, Arne Sorenson, defied conventional business wisdom when he revealed in a blog post that at Marriott, the customer does not come first. “At Marriott we have a different mantra,” he wrote. “While we value our customer just as much as any business, our employees—we usually call them our associates—come first.” The idea is that if the company treats its employees well, that hospitality will inevitably trickle down to the customer. The company is constantly drumming up new global initiatives to meet this goal. One earlier this year was called the “Share Your Space” campaign, a program that encouraged employees across the organization to submit photos of their work environments. Each photo submitted earned the Marriott location an additional entry into a random lottery drawing for a chance to win one of eight workplace upgrades. The company received over 17,000 photos and has since paired many of them with job descriptions on the Marriott Careers site so potential new hires can browse work-life at the company.

Brian Schmittgens

8. Monsanto

Revenue: $15.8 billion
Headquarters: St. Louis
Employees: 22,000
Each year, the biotech crop giant celebrates its employees with a company-wide event called the “Sustainable Yield Pledge Awards.” From helping bring clean drinking water to a village or collaborating with farmers and schools to bring science, math and technology into classrooms in rural communities, the awards recognize top projects from around the world that represent the company’s commitment to sustainability in action. One of the finalists this year was a team in Camaçari, Brazil, who helped improve lives in their community by up-cycling materials that they could no longer use. The awards build on the basis of the company’s culture: the eight-point statement of values known as the Monsanto Pledge, which includes integrity, dialogue and transparency among its tenets. Employees at the company liken the Pledge Awards to the Oscars of Monsanto, and it represents the company’s highest honor. Each year, award winners receive a trophy and a $10,000 grant to donate to a non-profit organization of the team’s choosing.

Amir Sultan ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

9. Cisco

Revenue: $48.6 billion
Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.
Employees: 74,042
Earlier this year, Cisco launched a recognition program across the enterprise called “Connected Recognition.” The idea behind it is to identify and celebrate outstanding employee work without delay. The program seeks to eliminate the bureaucratic lag between employees’ achievement and recognition. Anyone can nominate a colleague for an award. To amplify the impact of the recognition, the program incorporates social media into the mix, allowing the honor to extend beyond the company’s walls (though employees can request that it remains private). Says CEO John Chambers, “Today’s technology markets are moving at such a fast pace that it requires companies like us to be in a constant state of preparing, supporting and enabling our employees so they adapt, develop and grow to meet these new challenges. Therefore, talent development continues to be a key focus area for us for the foreseeable future.”

American Express, Singapore
American Express, SingaporeOwen Raggett

10. American Express

Revenue: $33 billion
Headquarters: New York
Employees: 62,800
American Express prides itself on its core principles, known as “Blue Box Values,” a set of eight ideals that employees pledge to live and work by each day. Introduced in 2010, the company’s “BlueWork” initiative prioritizes “how” over “where” employees work. The program sets out to redesign workspaces, provide flexible work arrangements like telecommuting and shared positions and to support technology that makes it easier to work remotely. Eventually, the company would like to transition its entire workforce to BlueWork.

Brian Pieters

11. Scotiabank

Revenue: $20,930 million
Headquarters: Toronto
Employees: 86,949
Though the Canadian bank has a presence across the globe operating in more than 55 countries, it encourages its employees to act locally. The company’s Bright Future Program focuses on giving back to communities in six areas: arts and culture, education, environment, health, social services and sports. Last year alone, Scotiabank employees volunteered more than 420,000 hours to local causes through the program. They’re also given the autonomy to start their own specialized employee resource groups. Eight out of 10 employees have bought into Scotiabank’s share ownership program. Says one employee, “Scotiabank is always involved in community sponsored events, and it is well known in the community. I’m always proud to see our name when I go to the movies, NHL games, and fundraisers.”

12. S.C. Johnson

Revenue: $10 billion
Headquarters: Racine, Wis.
Employees: 12,029
SC Johnson, the consumer products company that makes Ziploc and Drano, calls itself a family company—employees included. Every year around the holiday season, the company hosts Profit Sharing Day, a celebration of its successes and its employees’ hard work. Everyone receives a cash award and time off, the latter usually in the form of two email-free weeks they may choose to spend with family and friends. By the time employees return after the New Year, they are revitalized and ready for work. During the summer, the company also has a Summer Hours program that lets employees take Friday afternoons off. Employees say they love the extended weekend.

13. Autodesk

Revenue: $2,273.9 million
Headquarters: San Rafael, Calif.
Employees: 7,390
Design software company Autodesk has created a work environment with ample perks in mind. The offices offer free meals and massages. Every four years, U.S. employees are eligible for a fully paid six-week sabbatical to pursue whatever interest they desire. The offices are dog friendly, hours are flexible and around 22% of employees take advantage of the company’s telecommute program. The company is also always on the lookout for events to celebrate: Kids at Autodesk Day, Earth Day, and company-sponsored golf tournaments and other sporting events. The company’s Tech Shop membership and Pier 9 workshop in San Francisco also allow employees (as well as artists in residence) to create, innovate and collaborate in top-notch maker spaces. Says one employee, "They have excellent work-life balance, you can always take time off when you think it's necessary. Employees cooperate well and you can expect people to finish their share of work and take responsibility for it."

14. Telefónica

Revenue: $77.2 billion
Headquarters: Madrid, Spain
Employees: 126,730
Last year, Spanish telecom operator Telefónica, which serves customers in 25 countries, introduced an internal transformation program called Be More. The effort focuses on three key values to keep the company ahead of the digital revolution: Discover, Disrupt and Deliver. In January, the company launched a new communications channel to keep employees updated: Be More TV. Shows have featured improvisation, poker matches and celebrity cameos. The channel is broadcast over the company’s Corporate Social Network, which has become its primary global collaboration tool. That network is thriving: More than 57,600 employees joined last year, averaging 2,000 new employees and 18,000 messages exchanged per month. Says one employee, “Working in Telefónica means working with a lot of very talented people. It’s also very interesting because we are in an industry with a lot of changes and that means many opportunities and a great deal of excitement. For me it’s perfect."

15. National Instruments

Revenue: $1.17 billion
Headquarters: Austin
Employees: 7,134
Leaders of the test equipment and virtual instrument software maker manage on the ground floor. CEO James Truchard—known as “Dr. T” among employees—frequently drops in on staff and meetings throughout the company to keep apprised of the business, communicate strategies, and hear feedback. Truchard even has a name for his administrative style: “sneaker management,” which describes his characteristic walk-and-talk, face-to-face approach. He says he believes it’s the best way to keep in touch with employee concerns. It’s not unusual to find Truchard chatting with employees in the company cafeteria at lunch. To make employees’ lives easier, the company also features the NI Health Center, an on-site medical clinic that can serve as employees’ and their spouse or partner’s primary care physician. Says one employee, “From the corporate culture to the breadth of projects available, nearly every aspect of life at NI is exciting. I have yet to meet or work with anyone who isn't passionate about their work and team.”

Joe McNally

16. FedEx

Revenue: $27 billion
Headquarters: Memphis
Employees: 161,700
Each fall, more than 10,000 FedEx team members participate in FedEx Cares Week, a weeklong volunteer event that benefits local communities in more than 60 cities around the world. Environmental responsibility and volunteerism are core parts of the “purple promise”—to make every FedEx experience outstanding—which defines the FedEx culture. Says one employee, “When I recall and occasionally still come across the original and well-known FedEx customer promise of 'Absolutely, Positively, Overnight,' it reminds me why FedEx is where I wanted to spend the rest of my aviation career."

17. Atento

Revenue: $2.34 billion
Headquarters: Madrid, Spain
Employees: 153,000
At the Spanish call center operator Atento, employees assemble into teams that compete in “Atento Rally” events, which comprise fun, athletic, cultural, community activities. The rallies celebrate employees’ teamwork, talent and creativity, which helps build friendships and foster a sense of belonging within the company. Employees volunteer their time to organize leisure activities and the events. In Peru, the company hosts a talent show and in Spain, it holds an annual Carnival costume contest. The company also offers a training program called Academia Atento for all employees.

FRASER MACMANNIS

18. EMC

Revenue: $23.2 billion
Headquarters: Hopkinton, Mass.
Employees: 47,812
Employees at data storage and cloud computing company EMC are good sports—and they demonstrate their athletic abilities at the company’s unofficial games, which include mini-golf and kickball. Hundreds of employees put on mini-golf tournaments right in the halls of the company’s offices. One afternoon this summer, the main courtyard of the company’s Headquarters was converted into a kickball field where senior leaders took on summer interns. (The executives won.) EMC also offers its employees three paid volunteer days per year and a $25 gift card on their annual EMC work anniversary to donate to a charity of their choice. This spring, the company raised $300,000 in partnership with charity:water to build clean water wells in Africa. Employees participated in “water walks,” carrying heavy cans of water to experience what many people must do to procure fresh water.

19. Daimler Financial Services

Revenue: $19.3 billion
Headquarters: Stuttgart, Germany
Employees: 8,107
Daimler Financial Services, the financial services arm of the German automaker, offers plenty of perks: healthy diet choices at its cafeterias, yoga classes and massage therapy. The company also recognizes employees at an annual award ceremony akin to the Oscars. The President’s Award is custom-designed for each winner. There is also a personalized tribute to each employee or team who wins. Says CEO Klaus Entenmann, “We have and live a set of core values. They’re not just words on a poster, but rather a moral compass that drives our business decisions. As a result, people know what we expect of them and what they can expect from us. Our values create transparency and provide stability. On top of that, we also like to have fun.”

20. Diageo

Revenue: $17.7 billion
Headquarters: London
Employees: 28,000
Many of the spirits company’s offices feature showcase bars that display the company’s brands, which include Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Johnnie Walker and Guinness. Granted a product allowance, full-time employees can enjoy bottles for a discount. They also take part in Diageo’s “Partners for Growth” performance management and people development program, which allows employees to discuss and set their goals together with their line managers. On top of that, chief exec Ivan Menezes writes his very own weekly blog to connect the organization with the business. The company has a strong health & safety philosophy for all employees, with a program entitled Zero Harm, used at all of its sites.

21. Hyatt Hotels

Revenue: $4.2 billion
Headquarters: Chicago
Employees: 100,251
The global hotel chain has continued to loosen the reins on its employee-guest relationships to allow for more chaotic, natural and empathetic connections. Whereas in past years the company favored brand consistency and instructions over genuine interaction, nowadays it encourages its employees to go off-script. The change of mindset has had pleasant, unexpected results; for instance, when a 7-year-old boy left his teddy bear at the Park Hyatt Hamburg, the staff sent it back with a children’s book documenting the teddy bear’s time alone at the hotel: getting massages at the spa, watching TV in bed, eating at the hotel restaurant. Stories like these spread throughout the company on the monthly internal digital news magazine Hyatt Pulse, a publication that helps maintain the company’s culture.

Adam Hinton

22. Mars

Revenue: $33 billion
Headquarters: McLean, Va.
Employees: 75,000
Free candy, drinks and ability to bring pets into the workplace are just some of the perks that come with working at this maker of candy, beverages, and pet food. The company takes workplace safety very seriously since employees often work with complex machinery and materials to produce its food products, which include M&M’s, Snickers, Pedigree, Orbit and Uncle Ben’s. The company also provides training courses and systematic health and safety reviews to keep the manufacturing plants and processes running smoothly. Mars provides a variety of wellness programs to different regions to keep its employees fit. Says one employee, “You can’t talk about Mars unless you talk about people. In most manufacturing businesses, the leaders are thinking about equipment, assets, metrics, and the bottom line — but Mars clearly understands that we can’t get any of that without people.”

Headquarters of the French hotel giant Accor
Headquarters of the French hotel giant AccorPhotograph by Fred Dufour — AFP/Getty Images

23. Accor

Revenue: $7.6 billion
Headquarters: Paris
Employees: 170,000
Stellar employees at hotel operator Accor have the possibility of winding up on a company task force that helps open new hotels. Candidates are selected through an internal process and are offered training and professional development. When a new hotel opens, the team is sent to teach new hires the ropes and to kick-start the business. A partnership with the Gilon Institute of Higher Education also enabled a dozen Accor hotel managers to earn an MBA through an online program this year. The company’s sustainability program includes a 10% reduction of CO2 emissions and 15% reduction in water usage.

eBay's offices in Berlin

24. eBay

Revenue: $16 billion
Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.
Employees: 33,000
Next year, the company plans to split in two: the online retailer eBay and its e-payment business PayPal. It remains to be seen how the coming rift will affect the company’s workers, though a spokesperson for the company says that “Both companies will be well capitalized and well staffed” and “that the vast majority of employees’ day to day roles will continue unaffected by the separation.” Current employees have participated in “Be the Customer” drills, which include competitions for selling products through the company’s auction site and by making PayPal transactions. The company also encourages “open, honest and direct” feedback during meetings as one of its “Shared Behaviors.” According to CEO John Donahoe, “Our employees come to work every day putting the customer at the center of everything they do. And they feel really passionate about it because many of them are customers themselves.”

Opening Of New Coca Cola Offices
A large Coke sign, made from bottle tops, hangs in one of the hallways during the opening of the new Coca Cola offices.Photograph by Bernard Weil — Toronto Star/Getty Images

25. The Coca-Cola Company

Revenue: $46.9 billion
Headquarters: Atlanta
Employees: 130,600
Employees are proud of the company’s pledges to sustainability, though Coca-Cola is no stranger to big commitments. As a major sponsor of events like the Olympics and the World Cup, the company has given its employees an opportunity to serve as global ambassadors for the brand. Last year, it launched an entrepreneurship program called the Coca-Cola Founders that gives small business owners access to Coca-Cola’s relationships, resources and reach before they develop their next startup.
READ MORE: How NetApp became one of the world’s best employers 

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. FORTUNE may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.

Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/html/tandc/indexestandcs.html. S&P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions