Secrets of Glassdoor’s Top CEOs of 2019…Revealed!

Mark ZuckerbergGlassdoor, the employee-survey company, rolled out its annual rankings of the top 100 big and 100 small/medium company CEOs last night. It’s wonderful PR fodder for companies, unless of course you’re Facebook, where the ranking spawned an online feeding frenzy, with headlines proclaiming that Mark Zuckerberg “plummeted” (AdWeek) despite the fact that he’s still got a 94% rating and he’s 55 out of 100.

More interesting for readers of this publication: discovering what all these amazing CEOs have in common, unleashing their secrets for cultivating culture and values that propel employees to gush with reviews like: “Great leaders, awesome culture.”

So we did an analysis (otherwise known a mind-numbing cut and paste into Excel) of the top positive terms used by employees at the big companies with top Glassdoor CEOs companies.

The results? (Are you ready for this?!?) Employees who reviewed these top CEOs say life-work balance, good benefits, good pay and good people are the top reasons why they like those companies.

Stunning, right? Ok, so maybe not so much. But it is worth noticing how important life-work balance is—mentioned more than 2x any other term (used 15,100 times) as one of the top reasons why employees like the company they work for. Contrast that with terms like “Opportunities for Growth” (just 118 uses, sadly).

After two hours of digging through all this stuff, there were a few other, far less useful—but entertaining—tidbits to be culled from the data, including:

• Employees at two companies listed “smart people” as one of their top reasons for liking their company versus “great people” at eight companies (scratches head).

• At one company, “Wine” was one of the top terms. Sadly, the company was Gallo. (Yeah, I was disappointed, too.)

• Under Hubert Joly, Best Buy has completed one of the most incredible turnarounds in modern retailing, and he’s #10 on Glassdoor’s list. What do employees value most? “Employee discount” (used 1994 times) and “Great discount” (884 times).

Finally, a Quiz: “Free Food” was one of the top terms at three well-known U.S. companies, all with prominent, high-profile CEOs. Can you name them?

Those would be Chick-fil-a, Bloomberg and, wait for it…


Dan Bigman is Editor and Chief Content Officer of Chief Executive Group, publishers of Chief Executive, Corporate Board Member,, and StrategicCFO360. Previously he was Managing Editor at Forbes and the founding business editor of