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The Coolest Companies of 2017

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The headlines have been packed with negative press lately, from abominable sexual harassment scandals to embarrassing CEO blunders. Today we want to refresh your hope for the corporate world with a list of seven companies doing really cool things this year. 

Continuing to pay employees who are recovering from destructive Hurricane Maria? Check. Gifting branded slippers to new employees? It’s real. Read on to find out what made our cut for the coolest companies of 2017.

1. TJ Maxx

What they do: Headquartered in Framingham, MA, TJX Companies owns and operates the clothing and home decor department stores TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods Associates. 

Why they’re cool: When Hurricane Maria devastated the Puerto Rican islands in September of this year, no one could be sure when the power would be back on, let alone when they’d be able to return to work. As of this writing, the Huffington Post reports that the president of TJX Companies is still paying Puerto Rico employees whose stores are closed or destroyed, almost six weeks later. We think that’s one majorly cool step ahead for the humanitarian side of providing employment and taking care of your employees. 

What employees say: Hundreds of reviews comment on the chain’s flexible hours and scheduling, which might explain why it was the #28 best place to work in 2016 and 64% of employees would recommend working there to a friend. 

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2. Sprout Social

What they do: A Chicago-based social media engagement and analytics company, Sprout Social wants to help businesses become better marketers. They’re chasing after that goal by building software solutions and solving hard problems for their customers in social media, marketing, and analytics. 

Why they’re cool: Sprout Social’s motto, “Open communication creates progress,” says it all. The company shared a lot of research this year about how we use social media – especially emotional touchpoints on social –  and how companies can use that information to be better at communicating with customers. And they obviously practice what they preach, with 72,000 likes on Facebook and 89,000 followers on Twitter. 

What employees say: Frequently voted Top Workplace and Best Place to Work on a number of lists, Sprout Social knows how to keep its employees happy. “I look forward to coming to work every morning,” is a common comment from current employees, as is “Work-life balance is one of the best I have seen in the business,” and “It’s an incredibly engaged and collaborative environment.”

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3. Facebook

What they do: Founded in 2004, Facebook is a free social networking site that promotes and facilitates interaction between friends, family and the world at large. Plus, they won Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Award for the Best Places to Work 2018.

Why they’re cool: With 2 billion monthly users, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed a new mission statement this year, to “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.” Working at Facebook means making an impact on billions of people around the world each day. They build new products and services that bring people closer together. Facebook believes that every connection made takes us one step closer to a better world where ideas and knowledge can be shared freely.

What employees say: “I’ve been at Facebook for about a year and a half and it is the first company i’ve worked for that’s truly walked the walk in terms of standing by its mission and values. The people that I work with care deeply about their users and about the company as a whole and Facebook cares deeply and invests in those employees as well. The problems are large-scale and complex, but the people working to solve them are the best of the best.” —Current IOS Recruiter

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4. The Freelancer’s Union

What they do: The Freelancer’s Union is an advocacy group that promotes independent workers through education, advocacy, and services. Its free membership gives freelancers, consultants, and independent contractors access to resources related to union discounts, client non-payment, health insurance, and taxes. 

Why they’re cool: This year, The Freelancer’s Union partnered with UpWork to update its annual “Freelancing in America” report, providing important data around the employment opportunities available as a freelancer or independent contractor. Considering the fact that more than a third of Americans and almost half of working Millennials freelance, it’s no surprise that the study predicts that the majority of the US workforce will be freelancers by 2027. We think it’s pretty cool that The Freelancers Union is studying, organizing, and advancing this important source of career options for the next generation. 

What employees say: The Freelancer’s Union has a 3.7 overall rating among its employees. As you might suspect from a freelance advocacy group, employees love the flexibility of remote work, as well as the passion and energy that can be found among coworkers. 

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5. Houzz

What they do: Based out of Palo Alto, CA, Houzz connects furniture, appliances, and home accessories with the people who want to buy them – without leaving the site to finish the purchase.  

Why they’re cool: Named to CNBC’s Disruptor 50 List and LinkedIn’s Top Startup Companies, Houzz fits right in with the startup workplace vibe. LinkedIn reports that Houzz’s common areas are inspired by homey themes like “British Tea Room” and “Italian Closet.” Also, part of the onboarding training includes a pair of Houzz slippers so you can feel at home and stay comfortable while you work. This continues the pleasant trend of making the workplace more comfortable and flexible – “working from home at work,” if you will – and we think that’s really cool. 

What employees say: Houzz scores a 4.1 rating for work-life balance, and 84% of employees approve of the CEO – if you love interior design and home decor, those are great indicators that this might be a very cool place for you to work. 

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6. Digital Ocean

What they do: DigitalOcean, the cloud for developers, is a dynamic, high-growth technology company that serves a passionate community of technologists around the world. They want to simplify cloud computing for every developer and are working on some of the most challenging and interesting problems in cloud computing.

Why they’re cool: The cloud computing company caters to the individual programmers or startups that value simplicity and flexibility. And it’s making Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure take note. Digital Ocean with its 400 employees is on track to generate $175 million in revenue this year and is well positioned to go public.

What employees say: “In everything I’ve done, I’ve felt respected and cared for. There was a table full of swag ready for me before I got to the office for my first day, I’ve been given every possible opportunity to succeed, and I’ve never felt pressured to do anything if I didn’t think it would help me be successful.” —Current Engineer

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7. Turbonomic

What they do: Turbonomic is the only Hybrid Cloud Management Platform that continuously analyzes application consumption, costs and compliance constraints and automatically allocates resources in real-time. It assures application performance by giving workloads the resources they need when they need them.

Why they’re cool: Turbonomic has had quite a year! 2017 kicked off with the cloud company raising $50 million in financing from General Atlantic. The investment values Turbonomic at more than $800 million, according to reports. Then to wrap up the year, it has been recognized by CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, as a CRN 2017 Tech Innovator, taking top honors in the Software – Enterprise Management category.

What employees say: “I am thrilled with my decision to join Turbonomic. I’ve learned more in the last 6-8 months than I had learned in my entire 4 year career before that. The reason for this is simple: Turbonomic is fast-paced, the software product is highly technical, and employees are held accountable for their performance/actions.” —Current Employee

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Are you a little more upbeat about what’s going on in the private sector? Let us know in the comments if you’ll be applying to any of these companies – and if you land the job!


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