10 Small-to-Mid Size Employer Brands that Punch Above Their Weight

9 min read

Need to build an employer brand that won’t break the budget? Check out these 10 award-winning SMBs for some serious HR inspo.

We recently took an up-close look at some of the biggest, brightest employer brands out there. Google, Netflix, Apple…the usual suspects all made the list. And for good reason. World-leading brands who show up for their people aren’t just exceeding employee expectations, they’re raising the bar for all things HR.

But what if you’re not Starbucks?

We hear you. If you’re a small-to-mid-size business (SMB) or startup, never fear. You can still create a mighty employer brand. We got down to work to uncover the best of the best SMB employer brands. In order to make the cut, a brand had to have between 250 to 1,000 employees, less than $50 million in revenue and at least one awesome HR award under their belt.

Without further ado, here are 10 amazing small-to-mid size employer brands to inspire your next recruitment campaign.

1. SeatGeek

“SeatGeek is an awesome place to work! The culture combined with everyone’s passion for re-shaping the ticketing industry makes this an ideal workplace.” — Current Employee

SeatGeek is a live entertainment company headquartered in New York. The company currently has 337 employees and is growing fast. In 2018, SeatGeek was named one of the Best Places to work by Glassdoor’s highly-coveted Employees Choice awards. And as for its overall Glassdoor rating? That’s a modest 4.8 out of 5 stars. 😮

So how did the people leaders at SeatGeek manage to grow so much without putting a damper on employee happiness? We’re guessing it has something to do with their amazing employer brand. The company’s career page includes all kinds of awesomely attractive elements, such as:

  • First-person perspective, “When we’re not passionately crafting world-class interfaces for our clients and users, we love to experience the magic of live events firsthand.”
  • Real-world stories from team members about what it’s really like to work there.
  • Personality-packed descriptions of who their team members really are (e.g., a concert violinist, an All-American former fencer and a former guest star on the cult-classic Reading Rainbow)
  • Emoji. 😍

2. Classy

“Working at Classy is about having a passion for our mission, working with positive highly talented people, and engagement — with our customers and each other. The energy in the work environment is unlike any that I have ever experienced. I definitely look forward to coming to work each day!” — Current Employee

Classy has a mission anyone can get behind. The 180-person company provides an online fundraising platform for some of the best and most influential non-profits in the world.

Since launching in 2011, Classy has helped more than 2,500 world-class non-profits including Oxfam America, World Food Program USA and National Geographic in order to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to help people in need all over the globe. Now that’s inspiring.

Classy’s career page sums it up in one simple but beautiful value prop for potential candidates, “Join us and help change the world.” As the business world makes way for the millennial workforce, mission-driven employer brands like Classy should have no problem attracting star talent. And they’ve already got the accolades to prove it.

Classy’s rockin’ awards list includes:

  • Best Places to Work in 2017 by Glassdoor
  • Ranked in the Forbes Cloud 100
  • 10 Most Innovative Companies For Social Good by Fast Company
  • Glassdoor Rating: 4.6
  • Named a ‘Rising Star’ leading the Nonprofit Technology category in the cloud sector

Not too shabby, huh?

Perks of working at Classy include plenty of growth opportunities and a great office location overlooking the Pacific Ocean. But more than any ocean view, we’re betting Classy’s people love working for a leader who walks the talk.

“[The] CEO sets the tone of authenticity and it is clear he cares about the mission and the people who are driving the company forward,” says an Anonymous Employee of CEO, Scot Chisholm. Keep up the great work, Scot! 👍

3. LiveRamp

“Here’s what sets LiveRamp apart from other companies: they do what they say they’re going to do, they hire intelligent and driven individuals, they are transparent at the highest level.” — Account Director in San Francisco, CA

LiveRamp is a marketing automation software company based in San Francisco — and its leadership is all about keeping it real.

The startup has a company Glassdoor rating 4.7 and an enviable 100% approval rating for their CEOs, Anneka Gupta and James Arra. Plus, they scored a place on the 2018 Best Place to Work list in the category of Best Work Places in Technology in the US.

The culture at LiveRamp is firmly anti-micro management. Employees are free to make their own judgments and are empowered to hold themselves responsible. But you also get all the tools you need in order to make big things happen, even if that’s your pet cat. In addition to its people-oriented approach, at LiveRamp, employees can bring pets to the office. 😻

“The thing I like best about LiveRamp is their people culture. LiveRamp is people-oriented and very focused on empowering their people to do the right thing,” says another current employee.

4. WillowTree Apps

“Amazing work culture with a strong focus on professional development. Flexible work hours and a lot of learning opportunities like Lunch and Learn, Innovation Time, and a paid conference once a year. Team lunch, Game Night, and Happy Hour every week are great opportunities to socialize and connect with coworkers. Good benefits and plenty of PTO. Great management and mentorship programs as well.” — Software Engineer in Charlottesville, VA

WillowTree Apps is a mobile design and development agency, which also happens to be a great place to work.

The small but mighty creative agency was ranked among Fortune’s 10 Best Small Work Places in Tech in 2016 and has an extraordinary 4.9 rating on Glassdoor. The culture at WillowTree Apps is all about creating a friendly work environment with a mentorship program for new hires, solid work-life balance and plenty of opportunities for learning new things.

Plus, the company’s career page is everything you’d expect from a creative agency. 💖

5. Sprout Social

“Most companies use ‘culture’ as a buzzword during the recruitment process, but Sprout buys in across the board. This company invests a lot in creating both an amazing day to day environment in which to work, but also a team that genuinely cares about making the office a place you want to come into every day.” — Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL

Sprout is a social media management software company with a serious jones for growth. 🌻

Look no further than their gorgeously compelling careers page. For job seekers considering joining Sprout, the promise that: “Our team is growing. You will too” is pretty tough to resist. In fact, learning and development (L&D) is an awesome proposition for the 87% of millennial professionals who say access to growth opportunities are “very important” to their decision of whether to stay with a company.

We don’t know what Sprout’s retention rate is, but we’re guessing it’s pretty high.

After all, check out the sweet list of HR awards they’ve stacked up:

  • 2017 Best Places to Work — Employee Choice Glassdoor
  • Top Work Places 2016 by the Chicago Tribune
  • 2017 Highest Rated CEO’s — Employee Choice Glassdoor
  • Glassdoor Rating: 4.8

“Walking the walk” seems to be a common theme among smaller companies who are actively rocking their HR goals, though we’re sure Sprout’s daily breakfast and lunch perks don’t hurt. 😋

workplace perks

6. InVision

“InVision is a team of the smartest, most enthusiastic, friendliest people I’ve ever been involved with. The remote culture has been implemented in a way that sometimes you forget that you’re hundreds of miles away from your colleagues. At InVision, I’ve developed professionally more than I could have imagined when I joined the company.” — Current Employee

InVision is a prototyping, collaboration and workflow platform with a serious commitment to great design. And we’re fans of any employer brand who can make their remote employees feel at home (it ain’t easy).

With a Glassdoor rating of 4.6, employees at InVision seem to really be digging the experience, describing it as the “ultimate remote working” environment where they get the chance to collaborate with amazing people from all over the world.

7. Mavenlink

“Fantastic place to learn. Growth, personal development, and technical excellence are valued and management enables all R&D employees to develop their skills. R&D management has done an amazing job at allowing feedback to flow freely between employees and management.” — Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA

Mavenlink offers project management, accounting and collaboration software. The company is estimated to have around 300 employees and boasts a Glassdoor rating of 4.3. It was also named one of the Best Places to Work by Glassdoor’s Employee Choice awards for 2017 and is listed as one of Glassdoor’s 50 Best Places to Work.

One of the coolest things about Mavenlink is the focus on feedback. Despite the fact that it’s what employees want, many companies are afraid to give feedback (especially if it’s negative). But feedback is what helps you grow — and it cuts both ways.

Employees who love working at Mavenlink are quick to point to its “fast-paced, frequent, and honest flow of feedback.” And we think that’s just as awesome as the unlimited supply of coffee. 💯

8. Fortitude Systems

“A fantastic culture that prides itself on its open, creative, and transparent nature. The people make coming to work each day enjoyable. The benefits are fantastic as well.” — Current Employee

The words ‘IT consultancy’ may not sound exciting for many people, but for employees at Fortitude Systems, there’s some real passion behind them. The company has a Glassdoor rating of 4.8 and is described by employees as having a “strong meritocratic culture.”

While it might not be the best fit for everyone, it’s great for the go-getters. 👊

9. PayJunction

“The management takes great care of their employees. I enjoy going to work every day because of the culture at this company. Everyone works extremely hard but everyone is friendly and always willing to help. Not to mentioned the catered lunches and stocked snack kitchen! 10/10 would recommend working here. Competitive pay and really feels like a family!” — Sales Recruiter in Santa Barbara, CA

PayJunction is a payments and transactions platform with a dog-friendly working environment and a penchant for getting stuff done.

The California-based company is estimated to have about 75 employees and boasts a Glassdoor rating of 4.6 out of 5. PayJunction was also named a Best Place to Work by Glassdoor in 2017 and we’re guessing it’s no coincidence that they recently received a Gold Stevie® Award for Customer Service Department of the Year. After all, 41% of companies that use employee recognition have seen positive increases in customer satisfaction.

But beyond the perks, it’s the mission to “build something that lasts longer than us” that keeps PayJunction’s team inspired. Nicely done! 👌🏿

10. Thumbtack

“Thumbtack has a huge opportunity to reshape the local services marketplace. Using tech to enable small business owners to do the work they love is meaningful. Senior leadership share their vision and instill confidence in what we can achieve. My manager focuses on my growth as an individual and drives our team to do interesting work. Great people all around. And good benefits that continue to improve with time.” — Current Employee in Salt Lake City, UT

In a beautifully meta example of a great employer brand, Thumbtack is a tech platform that lets people hire local pros, and helps local pros find sweet gigs. 😍

And there’s a long list of awards confirming their HR awesomeness:

  • Best Places to Work — Employee Choice 2017 by Glassdoor
  • Fortune 100 Best Medium Workplaces in 2017
  • World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2018 by Fast Company
  • Glassdoor rating: 4.3

Companies like Thumbtack aren’t just changing the world of work from on an internal level, they’re actively disrupting work as we know it. And their career page makes no bones about it.

The quote from the CEO, Marco Zappacosta is the first thing job seekers see, “In our industry, you hear a lot of talk about the future of work. What I’ve come to believe — because I see it every day — is that the entrepreneurial spirit of independent professionals is the most precious resource we have as a society. They’re the ones transforming the economy. Here at Thumbtack, it’s our job to help them get there.”

These employer brands are all awesome in their own way, but one thing that binds them together is a compelling vision and the guts to back it up.

Ready to revamp your recruiting? Breezy can help!

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