What's the best way to find out what a small business would be like to work for? Often, it's to ask current employees about their experiences.
While it's easy to get the scoop on big businesses, such as Facebook (FB) or Google (GOOG), some smaller companies can fly under the radar when it comes to press coverage or awards. But employment site Glassdoor analyzed employee reviews and has determined which small and midsize American businesses are the cream of the crop when it comes to employee experiences.
The common themes that emerge with these smaller firms are that they offer a collaborative work environment, plenty of opportunity and a staff that's motivated and happy to work there. Many are also in the tech sector, which may not be surprising given that these companies are often growing quickly and can offer both professional advancement and higher pay.
The results are based on reviews shared by employees on Glassdoor between November 2014 and November 2015, with each company on the list receiving at least 25 reviews during that time. Small and midsize companies are those with fewer than 1,000 employees. Ratings are based on a five-point scale.
Read on to learn about the 11 best small and midsize companies to work for.
11. Imagine Learning: 4.6
This privately held company was founded in 2004 with the goal of teaching English through technology platforms to children across the world. The Provo, Utah-based company now provides programs that help English language learners, struggling readers, children with disabilities and for pre-Kindergarten-age children, among others.
"The people here are fun to be around, and everyone is absolutely dedicated to making the world a better place by educating the children of the world," one employee wrote in a review. "The office environment is casual and comfortable, and there are a myriad of perks."
10. Demandbase: 4.6
This marketing company, which has offices in San Francisco and Manhattan, is in the field of business-to-business marketing, which CEO and founder Chris Golec has said is "massively underserved." Demandbase has attracted $93 million in venture financing from the likes of Adobe Systems (ADBE) and Scale Venture Partners. Current job openings range from software engineer to sales representatives.
Employees give the company high marks for its startup atmosphere and fun environment.
"We've got an amazing group of talented and driven people who make work a pleasure," one employee wrote in a review. "Great balance of innovative start-up without being over the top. The management team has done a phenomenal job of creating a culture of hard work balanced with play."
9. Fast Enterprises: 4.6
Founded in 1997, this Centennial, Colorado-based company works on developing and installing software for government agencies, including a tax-processing program called GenTax. Employees say they like its fast pace and a management team that's willing to listen to workers.
"Fast Enterprises has been steadily growing since I started. We are now nearing 800 employees and the company continues to keep its small company feel and family style culture that so many seem to lose at this stage," one employee wrote in a review.
8. PresenceLearning: 4.6
This San Francisco-based company is dedicated to providing speech therapy and occupational therapy via the Internet, thanks to tools such as live videoconferencing. Employees say the company has a strong mission and is an enjoyable place to work, thanks to a motivated staff and good perks. Job openings include roles in sales and product development.
"Awesome people that are very down to earth, hardworking and intelligent. Great perks including happy hours, catered lunch, monthly employee appreciation parties. Convenient office location, unlimited PTO, and lots of growth opportunities," one employee wrote in a review.
7. Health Catalyst: 4.7
This data warehousing and analytics company was founded with the idea of helping hospitals and clinics improve their care through data and analytics. Since it was founded, the firm has raised $152 million from investors including Sequoia Capital and Kaiser Permanente Ventures. Many of the current job openings are for software developers and data architects.
Employees laud the firm for its transparency and approachable management.
"Great company for self-starters and those who are excited about the idea of transforming healthcare. Upper management is open and transparent about the current and future state of the company," one employee said in a review.
6. Venterra Realty: 4.7
Based in Houston, Venterra owns and operates apartment buildings in the Sunbelt states from Florida to Texas. It operates more than 15,000 apartments and employs more than 500 workers.
Venterra is unusual in that it's the only real estate company to make the cut for the top 11 small and midsize businesses to work for. Openings include positions such as maintenance technician and asset manager.
"The career opportunities are vast, with great chances of internal promotion. The training you receive is invaluable and detailed," one employee wrote. "The computer programs and apps that the company uses make life so much easier and efficient."
5. WillowTree: 4.7
Since 2007, this Charlottesville, Virginia-based company has been creating apps for companies such as General Electric (GE) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). Openings include roles such as backend software engineer and iOS software developer.
"First thing I noticed when I started working here is the amazing environment, everyone is very nice, helpful, professional and very smart," one employee wrote.
4. Instructure: 4.9
This Salt Lake City, Utah-based company says it makes "software that makes people smarter." Its products are used by colleges and other institutions to connect students and teachers, such as its Canvas product, which allows teachers to post grades, assignments and other information online. Current openings include roles in software engineering to investor relations.
"Awesome, awesome culture, fun, interesting and talented people, high quality products, great pay and benefits, tons of upward mobility, and great management," one employee said in a review.
3. CloudLock: 4.9
Founded in 2011, this Waltham, Massachusetts-based company works on providing security for cloud applications such as Dropbox and Google Apps. Current job openings are in software engineering and sales.
"The work environment is very open and collaborative, and you can get help from people when you need it. Great work/life balance, and great culture throughout the whole company," one worker wrote in a review.
2. Grand Rounds: 4.9
Based in San Francisco, this company aims to connect patients and doctors. For instance, individuals can use the service to find second opinions or specialists for ailments ranging from knee pain to cancer. So far, the company has raised more than $100 million from venture investors.
Current job openings include posts in software engineering, product marketing and in health care roles such as a pediatric nurse.
"Grand Rounds is taking health care to a whole new level and I love the positive impact I can have on our patients lives," one employee wrote. "I have never experienced such a positive, collaborative and brilliant environment."
1. Madwire: 4.9
This digital marketing company has grown quickly since it was founded in 2009 by father-son duo, Joe Kellogg and his son JB. Based in Loveland, Colorado, its current job openings include a marketing executive role and programming and engineering positions.
Employees rate the company highly for its culture and perks, such as generous paid time off and holidays, as well as the leadership from the Kelloggs.
"Everyone that works for this company is highly motivated, driven, and passionate about what they are doing and contributing to this business," one employee wrote on Glassdoor. "It doesn't matter what position you have, or what you do here, everyone comes in with a go-getter attitude and brings their A game."