How to become one of the best small companies in Boston

The founders of a few of Glassdoor’s best-ranked small and medium-sized local companies weigh in.

CloudLock was the top-ranked small company in Boston, according to Glassdoor. Courtesy of CloudLock

Earlier this month, Glassdoor put out a list of the top large places to work in the country, with two Boston-area consulting firms and a Cambridge tech company landing near the top. But the jobs site also put out a list highlighting the best small- and medium-sized companies to work for.

Five nearby companies were among the top 50 small and medium workplaces in the country, their sectors ranging from property management to cloud security.

Though small companies don’t always have the capital to pay salaries seen at large companies, they often make up for it with character and grit, or quirky perks like free massage rooms. The following companies, according to the people who work for them, are no exception. spoke with a few of the Boston-area small- and medium-sized companies that made “Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards 2016’’ list about what makes their work culture so unique. Here’s what they said:

1. CloudLock: This Waltham-based cloud security company took the No. 1 spot as the best small business to work for in Boston. It also ranked the No. 3 small business in the country.

CloudLock CEO, Gil Zimmermann:

On the company culture: “The biggest thing about us is that we don’t think of ourselves as a place you go to work, but as a place you go to grow. We’re very transparent about those core values.’’

The employees: “The people we attract and retain aren’t just working, but are growing professionally and making an impact. Everyone has that sense of accomplishment — collectively and individually. We also have a zero asshole-tolerance policy. We won’t hire people who are unbelievably talented and capable if they’re abrasive in the workplace. We want people who are collaborative.’’


2. Bullhorn: This Boston-based company provides cloud-based customer relationship management solutions for companies in service industries like recruiting, PR, marketing, staffing, and consulting. It was ranked No. 4 for best small businesses in Boston, and No. 29 in the country.

Bullhorn CEO, Art Papas:

On the company culture: “Our business is customer relationship management, and managing relationships effectively extends well beyond just clients – it absolutely pertains to how we nurture and develop our talent.’’

“We believe that building a great culture is inextricably tied to customer and employee experience, and those respective experiences drive a continual cycle of value: we create incredible products and services, which drives our customers’ success. That success encourages customers to spread the word about us, which drives our business growth. That growth facilitates opportunities for our staff to get promoted and advance their careers, which feeds into an even healthier culture. That culture helps us attract great talent, which enables us to create incredible products and services…and the journey continues.’’

Cool workplace perks: “Every employee is given a day off per quarter to volunteer as part of our ‘Bullhorn Cares’ initiative, which helps us give back to the community – for instance, we help more than 150 needy families celebrate the holidays by collecting donations and doing holiday shopping for Youth Villages.’’

Promoting job growth: “Bullhorn is also unique in how it fosters talent – the company regularly promotes 5-10 percent of employees every three months. We also have a full-time leadership coach in residence – SVP of Leadership Strategy, Deb Hordon – whose job it is to cultivate our internal leadership to match the rapid pace of our external growth.’’


3. The Broad Institute: This Cambridge-based biomedical and genomic research center was ranked the No. 5 top small business in Boston, and No. 48 in the country.

The Broad Institute’s chief people officer, Andy Porter:

On the company culture: “We’re a nonprofit organization with a mission-driven focus of the treatment of human disease, so we’re uniquely positioned from that perspective, but there are three things that really set us a part: Our focus on collaboration…that we’re transformative and practical at the same time… and we’re focused on community building.’’

“We have a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds of people here, from biologists to software engineers. All those people coming together is really quite unique.’’

“We’re also partnered with Harvard and MIT and some of the teaching hospitals, and the incredible talent that comes from those organizations…Frankly, I’m not sure there’s anyone else in the world working with people quite like that – faculty at the top of their field setting the pace for what’s next in science.’’

On changing the status quo: “We’re constantly asking how can we better support early career scientists and females in science to make sure this is a fantastic place for people to have a career. We’ve expanded maternity leave to 16 weeks for the primary caregiver, and we’ve rolled out a number of programs geared toward financially supporting these people at this stage in their lives.’’

Representatives for Berkshire Communities and MediaMath, which ranked No. 2 and No.3 on Glassdoor’s list, did not respond to request for comment.


Jobs with the best work-life balance, according to Glassdoor:

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