With COVID-19 still persisting despite readily available vaccines, the new office environment is ever-changing: One day it’s your kitchen, the next it’s in a mask alongside co-workers you haven’t seen in a year. But wherever it may be, the best-regarded companies have committed themselves to looking after their employees’ mental health and well-being like never before.
(Firms with 1-50 North American staffers)
This quickly growing, fully remote company is focused on maintaining a culture that values integrity, equality, inclusivity and teamwork. Putting a priority on teamwork is evident in the respect employees have for their colleagues and the pride they take in the firm’s work overall.
Management does a great job fostering mutual respect and gratitude among staff members and encourages shared learning and best practices among colleagues. Employees discuss how they appreciate being part of a “unique agency model that answers the industry need for insightful, expert healthcare marketing from a globally diverse, experienced and responsive talent pool” as well as teamwork that acts as the glue that holds us together.
Camaraderie is fostered through initiatives such as the “Culture Club,” which organizes virtual cooking classes and a host of other fun events; a good vibes Slack channel; and a shout out recognition program that spotlights outstanding performers and routinely sends out swag to employees. The agency also rewards over-and-above achievers with generous and unexpected bonuses.
CrowdPharm scored the highest among small companies for leadership reception and for acting on staff feedback and suggestions.
A workplace with a collaborative and supportive culture, employees describe Elevate Healthcare as a place where team members can do their best work, while leadership has their best interests in mind.
Judges were impressed with the top-down commitment to professional development. The company provides employees with a variety of ways to hone their skills, from participation in conferences and seminars to LinkedIn Learning courses and access to the company’s Elevate University peer-to-peer skills-learning initiative.
To keep its employees engaged and challenged, Elevate is always adding new programs/initiatives to help employees grow and advance. Just as important, employees cited unimpeded access to senior management for coaching, advice and development as one of the firm’s key assets.
During the past year, Elevate found new ways to boost morale and reward employees for their hard work. Staffers praised fun events (such as a virtual escape room) and perks (such as holiday meals). The firm’s recently launched Bonusly program, which allows employees to give rewards to others and recognize their hard work/achievements, received rave reviews from employees.
It’s clear that employees find Elevate leadership accessible. When asked if they felt empowered to speak with leadership if a serious or troubling matter arose at work, 100% of respondents said yes.
A people-first focus that starts at the top makes Heller “a small but tight-knit group of professionals” with the same goal of producing great work with great people. Staffers say that “care for each other, the work and clients” is the reason the agency has been able to consistently turn out fresh and creative ideas while the agency doubled in size.
“From continued-education to work/life balance, they genuinely want their employees to succeed and grow within the industry,” one team member noted. Heller provides the tools needed to help employees advance, including a clear path for growth and all the tools for success. From strong mentorship of entry level employees to consistent access to senior level executives, employees praised the opportunities to grow and learn at this company. “Heller is limitless for advancement,” noted one happy staffer.
Team members gave a unanimous thumbs up to the firm’s annual Hellapalooza conference in San Diego, where staffers participate in team-building activities and educational presentations. Heller keeps team spirit strong throughout the year with Zoom happy hours and other group activities, such as virtual bingo. The “camaraderie is some of the best I’ve seen” noted one staffer. A number of perks, including a reimbursement for upgrading their home offices and Uber Eats vouchers, also help make employees feel valued.
Heller received outstanding marks from employees for being transparent and accountable and treating employees well.
(Firms with 51-200 North American staffers)
Career development is a central focus at this company, which employees say “puts employees first and pushes everyone to get where they want to be professionally.” Judges were impressed by the consistent individualized development opportunities offered to staffers through fully mapped career pathways and staffers appreciate the transparency afforded by performance workbooks that track employee development and goals.
Create NYC does a great job building camaraderie in a fully remote environment. The company’s culture committee provides employees with regular virtual opportunities to connect and created a variety of virtual events such as happy hours, game nights and pasta-making classes. The virtual charcuterie-making class featuring a local chef and a kit for making the board at home was a standout mentioned by numerous staffers.
Enriched benefits, including five additional PTO “COVID Recharge Days” wowed employees, who noted that perks such as a grocery/takeout stipend and generous bonuses and PTO make them feel appreciated and respected.
Create NYC employees gave the company high marks when asked if “management truly encourages you to maintain a proper work/life balance.” Employees say the focus is on “working smarter, not harder.”
Team spirit and collaboration have always been a key strength at DiD. From an onboarding process that is easy and welcoming to access to online and internal training and weekly check-ins with supervisors the agency is “always actively creating opportunities for employees to advance toward their career goals.” Those attributes help leadership create a work environment that always focuses on its people in an “industry that can be draining.”
Each DiD team is given a bonding budget to fuel its connection and growth. While opportunities for bonding are more challenging during the pandemic, virtual happy hours, the use of Slack and frequent meetings keep employees connected. Employees say the company “managed to maintain our culture of collaboration and work life balance” and people are focusing more on relationships and conversations with each other when in meetings than ever before.
During this difficult year, DiD stepped up to optimize employees day-to-day work experience, from a significant investment in the IT infrastructure to more employee appreciation and recognitions and even a free subscription to the Calm app to promote stress management and self-care. Employees applauded “sizable bonuses” as well as the GrubHub gift cards and snack care packages they received from the agency, proof that small things really matter.
DiD was rated highly on responding quickly and decisively to ensure employee productivity was unaffected as much as possible during the past year and took steps to ensure that employee morale is maintained.
Positioned as a life-changing agency focused on first-of-a-kind brands, CDMP prides itself on its unique positioning. Employees find their work “exciting and inspiring” and say “clients, employees and potential clients feel our vibe immediately.”
CDMP has a reputation for investing in the “happiness, talent, productivity and knowledge of its employees” and creates a friendly, professional, inclusive environment in which employees can do their best work.
An emphasis on teamwork gives this workplace a very strong collaborative nature where “giving credit to others and facilitating conversations that include many points of view” is encouraged. Quickly embracing new platforms and communication methods led to strong productivity despite the move to a remote environment during the pandemic.
Professional growth is also a strong suit at CDMP. The agency places a significant emphasis on training and continuing education and offers a plethora of training courses.
CDMP team members are confident of the firm’s ability to flourish in the future — 100% of respondents said their company’s overall ongoing work realities put it in the best position to thrive professionally in both the short and long term.
An emphasis on diversity, inclusion and transparency, true dedication to its employees and the potential for professional growth were all criteria employees cited in making Heartbeat a great workplace.
Staffers admire Heartbeat’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and several said they appreciated monthly “Brave Space” meetings that allow employees to talk through issues they are experiencing personally or professionally. Month-long celebrations of Black History or Pride, classes on understanding bias and bystander intervention and even a community for new parents that allow members to share tips and provide support all contribute to a sense of community and inclusiveness.
Employees feel respected and appreciated at a company that recently doubled its health-and-wellness benefit for staffers and offers unlimited vacation days and a “Work From Wherever, Forever” policy. One staffer called the firm “courageous for turning down clients or tempering agency growth because it would negatively affect the employee experience.”
The company also wins big for advancement opportunities, investment in employee development and training and interest in employee well-being. Staffers give an “excellent” rating to the employee development tools at their disposal, including a plethora of learning programs and classes, a generous $5,000 tuition reimbursement incentive and a full-time executive coach.
Heartbeat was ranked high for progress on diversity and inclusion and for D&I representation at the organization’s junior, mid and senior levels.
Klick has a reputation for fostering a “we over me” culture. The agency takes care in hiring based on fit within the organization, allowing it to create a strong foundation for camaraderie at work and an overall workplace that places a premium on kindness, empathy and inclusivity.
During the pandemic, the agency excelled by leaning on its culture and each other, and despite a remote environment, leadership focused on keeping employees connected with each other and fostering collaboration and team building.
From random “coffee dates” that give staffers from different teams an opportunity to get to know one another to virtual events that further bonding among team members, collegiality and treating others with respect is a hallmark at this company.
The agency keeps employees happy with rewards that range from chocolate covered strawberries delivered on a birthday to an online performance by Black Eyed Peas. A company-wide health challenge that encouraged healthy eating, exercise and mental health throughout the pandemic and a stipend for work-from-home improvements were much-loved additions.
A comprehensive two-week onboarding program, an open culture that facilitates continued constructive feedback and plenty of opportunity for professional education all contribute to a people-first culture that allows employees to realize their full potential.
Klick Health had a high score for treating employees well and for having a strong intranet system for sharing information.
“One team, one dream” is how one staffer described Real Chemistry. A high-energy, collaborative environment where novel ideas are exchanged freely, the company encourages employees to form connections and foster a strong spirit of cooperation and shared learning.
Purpose is paramount at this firm, and employees expressed pride in work that prioritizes the patients as the source of inspiration and have a sense of making the world a healthier place and improving health equity.
Having a strong sense of shared purpose before the pandemic helped the company transition to virtual work without sacrificing team cohesion. Real Chemistry has devoted significant resources to maintaining its culture despite remote work conditions. It also found creative ways for employees to connect virtually, including a remote cheese-making workshop, story time for kids, weekly meditation, mindfulness and yoga and multiple interest-based groups.
Flexible work schedules, a generous work-from-home stipend, extra PTO and great swag received numerous mentions from staffers. The company’s strong coaching support also received a number of shout outs.
Real Chemistry ranked high for camaraderie among employees and for progress on diversity and inclusion.
Small Companies/Service Providers
Xavier Creative House
Priding itself on its “all-in” mentality, this growing company hires and lives by its company culture. Staffers respect a workplace that aims for a cult of “camaraderie instead of personality” and appreciate being part of a tight-knit team propelled by a shared vision where everyone is willing to jump in when needed to get the job done. Staffers say the firm’s investment in every member of the team is unmatched and noted a myriad of ways Xavier Creative supports professional development from company-wide training programs and scorecards to open communication that includes productive feedback from managers and executives.
While employees take pride in the work they do creating bold and evocative solutions for clients, they appreciate the firm’s commitment to work/life balance.
And the handwritten notes of appreciation Xavier’s CEO routinely sends to employees have the biggest impact on team members.
Xavier Creative scored high for up-to-date technology, internet access and digital tools.
Hale Advisors gets high marks from employees for a work environment rooted in mutual respect, recognition and transparency with “mindfulness and health at the core of everything.” Staffers praised Hale as a progressive company that supports its employees with impressive benefits and an unbeatable company culture.
This forward-thinking company impressed judges for keeping the path to professional growth transparent. Self-
assessments, open dialogue and road maps to training and advancement were just a few of the attributes employees valued most about working for this fast-growing company with a culture that “sets us all up for success.”
Already fully remote before the pandemic, Hale continued to find new ways to help employees connect and strengthen bonds. Hale’s virtual “water cooler hangout” channel gives employees a chance to chat, and its “3 good things” email chain contributes to the company’s close-knit culture. A number of employees referenced Hale’s virtual work retreat, complete with mystery boxes and a virtual carnival, as a highlight.
Hale Advisors was the only small company winner that scored “excellent” on both treating its employees well and having a positive social impact.
Midsize Companies/Service Providers
Team members describe Verywell as a transparent, empathetic and flexible organization that cares about “patients and caregivers first and represents everything a healthcare brand should be.” Overall, this agency was praised for doing great work and creating an environment that employees feel proud to be a part of.
From an additional week off during the summer to access to online therapy and free gifts, employees feel rewarded at a company that is “consistently looking for ways to recognize/praise employees for their hard work.” Despite limited in-person contact, staffers report feeling supported by a work culture that has been the silver lining throughout the pandemic.
The company supports professional growth in a variety of ways, including education reimbursement, mentorship and tools training, and provides staffers with clear goals and objectives, high visibility and feedback from all co-workers. In short, “Verywell sets the bar really high.”
Verywell received the highest possible scores for communicating clearly and consistently throughout the pandemic and for providing the necessary professional support to employees so they could continue to work optimally during this time.
Health & Wellness Partners
Over the past two years, this agency made significant improvements in employee development tools and offerings, including creating a new role to build internal learning programs. The move paid off — staffers describe Health & Wellness Partners as an agency that heavily invests in the success of its employees.
Whether encouraging and subsidizing individual higher education degrees and certifications or a new pilot leadership development program, team members say they appreciate the myriad ways the company expresses its commitment to professional development. Several employees credit the program for helping them achieve certifications or advanced degrees.
A number of employees were delighted with a summer swag surprise package (including Yeti mug, mouse pad and beach towel) and appreciated the weekly reminders about public safety and social distancing. The efforts “may not seem like much, but boost morale” according to staffers.
The firm also invests in its culture with various committees that encourage and support camaraderie, including a recently created leadership committee focused on making the work environment more fun and interactive. Virtual events, such as Jeopardy! and comedy nights, and friendly competitions, such as raising money for charities, keep staffers engaged with their teams, and employees say “kindness and respect are found in virtually all co-
The agency got the highest rating in its category for community involvement and for philanthropic, volunteer and/or pro bono efforts.
Large Companies/Service Providers
Phreesia Life Sciences
This “big company with a small company feel” is described as a dynamic, fast-growing company
that has placed a premium on collaboration over competition and offers its employees a collaborative, inclusive culture and excellent benefits.
By keeping the main focus on acquiring and retaining talented individuals and tailoring their career trajectories based on team members’ strengths and interests, Phreesia is able to “hire the best people, with the best skills, that fit the company and team culture.”
Team members welcome the opportunity to work with like-minded people who care about making healthcare better.
A transparent development process, access to senior-level executives and the autonomy to lead projects make the company an ideal place for staffers to flex their strengths and develop new skills.
Increased pay for all employees, a stipend for home office supplies, Uber Eats gift cards for lunch and learns and summer Fridays kept morale high during the pandemic, but a thank-you call from the CEO for a job well done made a huge impact on one staffer.
Employees rated Phreesia Life Sciences high on preparedness for working from home before the pandemic and its ability to continue doing so going forward.
The Lockwood Group
Many companies provide regular training for employees, but it’s the rare organization that promotes skill-building on a weekly basis. Training is continuous at Lockwood, an organization that places all its focus on growth and development of company talent.
With a full-time on-staff training manager as well as a compliance manager and clear guidance on the roles, responsibilities and expectations across the career ladder, it’s no surprise that one-third of the organization’s team members are promoted annually.
After significant growth over the past five years, the company remains focused on its culture and is committed to its stance as “best-in-class for its clients and for its employees.”
Appreciation for employees is a full-time pursuit at Lockwood. During the pandemic, the company introduced Pulse Surveys to better understand employees’ ideas and concerns and implemented changes based on the results.
The company’s RISE Awards acknowledge achievements of good work across teams and HR plays an instrumental role in resolving conflicts and concerns quickly so culture and camaraderie stays strong.
Every respondent to the survey felt empowered at The Lockwood Group to speak to leadership when a serious or troubling matter arose.