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Meet Indiana’s Breakout Award-Winning Tech Company Cultures

Introducing the Indiana Breakout Tech Cultures Awards

What is the number one reason why people join a tech company? (Hint: It’s also the exact same reason why people leave a tech company.). Yep, you guessed it. Company culture. This was the biggest datapoint we saw from our 2018 Tech Census study in communities across the heartland. And it’s what inspired our team at Powderkeg to start asking this question: Why shouldn’t talented employees be able to pursue a fulfilling career in tech, connect with their calling and reach their full potential — no matter where they live? So we set out to learn as much as we could about company culture in our home state of Indiana and launched the 2019 Tech Census: Cultures Edition. We asked over 1,300 tech professionals exactly why they work and live in Indiana, and what makes the tech community unique and special. The data-first, decentralized approach of the Tech Census has been the largest community study on tech company culture in Indiana.

There were more than 267 tech companies nominated, and over 1,300 individual responses to this census. The survey asked employees at tech companies across the state about culture within their workplace. A wide variety of Indiana companies were eligible to participate, including tech software, tech hardware, tech powered and tech services firms.

The Breakout Tech Culture Award Categories

Over 1,300 Indiana tech professionals rated their companies and employers on several topics that contribute to company culture, including leadership, management, workplace, compensation, benefits, community involvement, social responsibility, diversity and inclusion, career path, and company mission. Based on the employee responses, a handful of companies started rising to the top in several categories that impact a company’s culture:


Top-Rated Workplace

A happy workplace gives companies a competitive advantage. Research from Gartner tells us that people who are satisfied with their work environments are more productive, more likely to stay, and more attracted to their company over competitors. A great workplace includes compensation, benefits, and having fun while winning together.

Award Winners

Top Honors


Top-Rated Leadership

Organizational cultures have magnetic qualities. They either attract people, repel them, or are neutral. The Tech Census gathered data on leadership styles of each organization represented here tonight, and all of these award-winning companies have great leaders.

Award Winners

Top Honors


Top-Rated for Social Impact

The award-winning companies in this category prioritize diversity across teams and make efforts to create inclusive work environments, which has been proven to not only yield higher outputs, but also attract the best talent. The data from the 2019 Tech Census showed that employees at these companies tended to feel that they were valued as individuals—differences and all. They also made an effort to positively impact the community and tread lightly on this planet.

Award Winners

Top Honors


Top-Rated for Health & Balance

In the tech world, the struggles to prioritize wellness and work-life balance are well-documented. But the companies who do prioritize health and balance, like every award-winning company in this category, come out ahead.

Award Winners

Top Honors


Top-Rated Mission, Purpose & Values

Award Winners

Top Honors


Top-Rated Career Path

Today’s workforce is looking for more than a paycheck. They’re looking to reach their full potential. Research from Gallup shows that the majority of Millennials say opportunities to learn and grow are the most important factor to them when applying for a job. And regardless of generation, career development is a core part of a high-performing culture. Each award-winning firm in this category prioritizes the professional growth of their employees.

Award Winners

Top Honors


Top-Rated Product Team

Great product teams live at the epicenter of innovation at their company and collaborate not only across engineering, design, and product functions—but across the entire business. The award-winning teams in this category carry a passion for the interaction between people and their technology as they build the tech products of tomorrow.

Award Winners

Top Honors


Top-Rated Customer Experience Team

Companies with great customer experience team cultures have loyal customers that don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend them to others, they insist that their friends do business with them. The award-winning companies in this category make their customers the hero and have heroic teams that embrace CX.

Award Winners

Top Honors


Top-Rated Sales & Marketing Team

Sales and Marketing are the lifeblood of any business. These functions are what get any company’s product or service to the customers. Get the culture right in Sales and Marketing, and any tech company has the opportunity for exponential growth.

Award Winners

Top Honors


Top-Rated Emerging Culture

A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them today. Those people are the entrepreneurs who develop new products and launch new ventures and build entrepreneurial teams. The award-winning companies in this category my have smaller teams now, but their cultures have the right ingredients to go big.

Award Winners

Top Honors


Top-Rated Service Provider

There’s an old African proverb that goes something like this: “If you want to fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” The tech companies in Indiana have boundless potential, but they could never reach that potential without the service providers in this community. The award-winning companies in this category have demonstrated a commitment to serving tech companies across the state and beyond.

Top Honors


Top-Rated Overall Culture

All of the award-winning companies who crossed this stage tonight have put culture first in numerous ways. This last Breakout Award goes to a company who averaged the highest marks across all categories.

Top Honors


#Breakout2019

Best Companies to Work For

What Makes a Company “The Best to Work For?”

Being a great company to work for is important — not just for bragging rights, but also for the bottom line. Recent statistics quoted in Forbes Best Employers 2019 show that 2019 is the tightest employment market in 17 years. That employees market creates talent wars between companies. Companies that are good to work for are winning this war because they typically can attract and retain the best workers. Employees who work for great employers are four times more likely to get the job done, according to a survey for Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work for 2018. Employees at these companies do their job well because they believe the company deserves to win.

The best employers have certain cultural traits and leadership styles that help them succeed. They encourage employees to contribute ideas. They nurture cultures that inspire employees. They establish a mission statement and clearly live by it, ensuring employees know how they all contribute to achieving the mission, according to an article in Forbes. They listen to what employees want to do and help them do it and they show appreciation. They are companies that employees would recommend to their friends who were seeking new opportunities. They are employers who care about their employees and customers and seek a higher purpose than just profits, according to the Forbes Best Employers 2018 survey.

Best Companies to Work for: Fortune

Those companies that rank highest on best to work for surveys are those that focus on innovation, values, trust, innovation, leadership effectiveness, and maximizing the full potential of every employee, according to Fortune 100 Companies 2019. To be considered, companies apply by documenting more than 200 data points, according to Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work for 2019. Fortune determines the degree to which companies meet these criteria through surveys with a significant number of employees in each company and Fortune’s own analysis of the company’s programs and policies. For example, Hilton ranked No. 1 on the Fortune Best Places to Work 2019 list. Ninety-six percent of employees say the McLean, Va-based hospitality company is a great employer; 95 percent say they are respected no matter what their position. Hilton’s mission statement is Hospitality for All and, as part of that, it treats its associates as guests. Everyone matters.

Salesforce topped the Fortune 100 companies 2018 list. Employees there feel welcome and are happy with how the company contributes to the community. Employees also praise the ethical business practices of management at this San Francisco-based firm.

Best Companies to Work for: Forbes

Forbes breaks its best places to work lists down into groups, such as best large employers or best places to work by state. Trader Joe’s topped the Forbes Best Large Employers 2019 list. Although in an industry that typically sees high turnover, Trader Joe’s ranks very high in employee engagement. Some of the ways Trader Joe’s does this is through always promoting from within, building relationships of trust across all layers, and placing their employees or “crew” at the center of the organization.

Another example of what makes a company the best to work for is 1800Contacts, a Utah-based company on the Forbes Best Places to Work by State list. Employees there left jobs they liked at other companies because employees spoke so highly of the company. They have stayed for many years with no plans to leave because they feel they are well cared for and part of the team.

Best Places to Work for: Glassdoor

Glassdoor ranks companies based on how well they score on employees surveys and reviews in eight categories, according to Glassdoor Best Places to Work 2020. These categories for Glassdoor USA are overall company rating, career opportunities, compensation and benefits, culture and values, senior management, work-life balance, would recommend to a friend and six-month business outlook. Glassdoor best places to work criteria also includes the receipt of a sufficient number of ratings from employees to be sure that these represent a crosssection. Large companies must receive 75 ratings across all categories; smaller companies must receive 30. One example is Facebook, which topped the Glassdoor Best Places to Work 2018 list. Employees cited the “great culture focused on connecting the world,” as one reason why the company is so popular.

What Best Companies to Work For Tend to Avoid

Some companies fail to develop a successful culture and are not able to recruit and retain employees. A list of worst companies to work for 2018 developed by 24/7 Wall Street says these companies share bad traits such as:

  • poor work-life balance
  • a disconnect between line employees and management
  • falling sales and other signals for poor financial performance
  • lack of communication about values and mission
  • poor leadership, lack of maturity from senior management, and inconsistency in leadership

The Money.com worst companies to work for 2019 list includes companies that fail to provide career advancement opportunities, have overbearing or unfair policies, rigid politics and a stressful work environment. The Daily Feed’s list of top 10 worst companies to work for 2018 includes companies that have unclear expectations, and unfair labor practices, both of which lead to distrust of management. The worst retail companies to work for 2018 list includes companies in which senior management fails to treat workers with respect. The same company, also on the Glassdoor worst places to work list, was accused by one former worker of treating employees like lightbulbs. Companies that focused on customer satisfaction to the detriment of employee morale made it to 24/7 Wall Street’s list of the top 10 worst companies to work for 2019. Although no specific Glassdoor Worst Places to Work 2018 or 2019 lists exist (the company stopped publishing its worst list about 10 years ago), 24/7 compiled its list from the companies receiving the lowest employee ratings on Glassdoor in those years.

Attractive Companies to Work For

Among the best employers are:

  • 3BG Supply Co., based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, made the 50 Top-Rated Tech Culture List. 3BG is technology-enabled distribution company focused on creating centralized data solutions and utilization of product information to improve the selling process. Leadership at this company is visionary, according to 92 percent of its employees. Another cultural aspect that makes it one of the best small companies to work for is weekly meetings at which employees can list challenges that are heard and addressed. The company also offers several interesting perks including beer on tap and the ability to work remotely. This company is currently hiring for sales positions.
  • Sigstr, based in Indianapolis, also made the Top-Rated Tech Culture list. Sigstr has developed an email signature marketing platform. The culture there is “scrappy, happy and helpful” and the team works hard and celebrates well. Most managers there employ a democratic style and the company takes pride in being transparent in all its actions.
  • Skyepack, based in College Station, Texas, also made the Top-Rated Tech Culture List. Skyepack develops materials with college professors that can be customized to specific needs. The predominant leadership style is visionary, meaning the team is mobilized toward the company’s vision and mission. Enthusiastic teamwork, fueled by a shared passion for learning, is the norm.
  • Springbuk, a health analytics software firm in Indianapolis, also made the Top-Rate Tech Culture List. The workforce competes as a team and celebrates as a team. Qualities sought in team members are the ability to constantly grow and adapt, never being afraid of leaving their comfort zone. The company ensures every voice is heard.
  • TripAdvisor, based in Needham, Massachusetts, made the Forbes Best Places to Work 2019 list. This medium-sized company provides a travel research platform. It is currently hiring engineers and technical managers. It creates a workplace where employees feel laid-back and comfortable. Its headquarters not only has a gym but also an on-site pub. Its philosophy is to help employees grow professionally and balance work with their private lives.
  • In-N-Out Burger made the Forbes Best Places to Work 2018 list as well as the Glassdoor best places to work 2018 list. Employees there receive strong on-the-job training and opportunities for advancement. The environment is fun and people-friendly.
  • Sep, a software product design and development firm in Carmel, Indiana, made the Top-Rated Tech Culture List. Its culture also provides opportunities to share thoughts and feelings and to grow professionally. A selfless and passionate leadership team helps inspire employees who genuinely love working there.
  • McCarthy and Holthus, a multi-state law firm to the banking industry, made MReports Top 25 Companies to Work For 2019 list. The company promotes from within, provides opportunities to learn and has a casual dress code.
  • Bain & Company, a Boston-based consulting firm, has been named to Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work 2019 list. The company was also named in 2012, 2014 and 2017. The company’s culture is transparent and offers career-boosting perks such as an externship at a company of the employee’s choice. It also has global soccer matches and team off-site events. Additionally, each member of the firm makes a conscious effort to contribute to the success of every other member of the firm, according to Inc. This large employer hires a variety of positions including specialists, analysts, managers and help desk associates.
  • Alphabet, the parent company of Google, tops the 2018 Forbes list of Best Companies to Work for in the World. The company is known for its “unconventional” and employee-friendly culture. Its decision-making process is data-driven and the environment is one of innovation. Perks include on-premises oil changes, car washes, hair stylists and massages.
  • SAP Labs India tops the Great Place to Work 2018 India list according to the Economic Times. It encourages collaboration, free-expression, individuality and diversity. It has partnered with a leading firm to offer training to new hires on virtual platforms and offers speed mentoring, which allows new hires to meet for 15 minutes with up to three different mentors in a single session.