In aggregate the reviews are mostly positive, but combing through individual reviews points to two companies where employees are concerned about advancement opportunities or work/life balance in the shadows of whatever great perks are offered. Winning over the consumer rarely happens unless a company wins over its employees as well.
This was a pivotal year for both Airbnb and Expedia between massive investments and acquisitions, respectively, and those developments apparently coincided with both companies having excellent work environments in 2015.
Glassdoor, the job reviews and application site, released its ranking of best places to work this week and Airbnb is ranked number one of 50 companies analyzed. Expedia, which didn’t make the previous year’s list, comes in at number 16. Along with both companies, other travel brands making the list include Delta Air Lines ranked at 21, Southwest Airlines at 42, and Concur rounded out the bottom at 49.
Making this year’s list required companies to have “at least 1,000 employees and 75 company reviews on Glassdoor, which uses an algorithm to calculate the rankings that assesses the quantity, quality and consistency of Glassdoor-approved company reviews shared by U.S.-based employees between November 3, 2014 and November 1, 2015,” according to Glassdoor.
Sitting comfortably in the top 20 list of the best places to work in the U.S., Expedia, Inc. was already trying to demonstrate that it is serious about being a good place to build a career before Glassdoor said so. Its family of 15 brands have more than 18,000 employees in more than 30 countries around the world, plus contract employees, and about 1,400 of them have left reviews on Glassdoor.
Expedia University, the company’s recruiting program to find top talent on college campuses, seeks students at the graduate and undergraduate levels for full-time internships and apprenticeships. Expedia staunchly promotes the program on its jobs site, more so than competitors Priceline Group or TripAdvisor promote their own campus counterparts, and it factors heavily into the company’s corporate culture and how it views talent acquisition, said Ingrid Belobradic, a spokesperson for the program.
“We’re not only looking at people who are coming from right out of college, and I wouldn’t say that’s a main focus for [Expedia] but it is a focus,” said Belobradic. “We’re hiring in nearly 30 countries, and having big [increases in hiring in Asia-Pacific and Latin America], and we still have great talent in the U.S. which is still a priority for us, but we’re definitely thinking on a more global scale as well.”
“We have interviewing days when we fly [job candidates] to [Expedia, Inc.’s Bellevue, Washington headquarters] from campuses around North America and then we also do interview days where we bring candidates into the office and access them through group activities.”
More than half of Glassdoor’s interview-related reviews for the company categorize the interview hiring process as positive, but in terms of who gets an interview, it appears campus or general recruiting don’t take priority. Nearly half of people who get an interview at Expedia apply solely online and fewer than 25% of interviews result from some type of recruiting, based on Glassdoor data, though that’s higher than the same percentage for Airbnb (about 15%).
On Glassdoor, Expedia, Inc. has an overall rating of four out of five stars and in sub categories scores best with “culture and values” and “work/life balance,” both categories receiving four out of five stars. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi also has a 96% approval rating and 80% of reviewers have a positive business outlook on the company.
Reviews on Glassdoor are anonymous, but someone who identifies themselves as a current employee at the Bellevue headquarters left this review on the site last week:
“Everyone is held responsible and accountable and colleagues give each other authority regardless of how long or short they have been in the company. Great support and continuous training. People move within the company a lot. Expedia hires from within which is amazing and offers a vast variety of opportunities.”
Several other recent reviews are explicit about fierce competitiveness that exists among employees, while many others included musings that the company’s growth in the form of acquisitions has made it more “bureaucratic” and that change can be slow and at times “sluggish,” as one current Bellevue-based employee put it.
Airbnb, which so far has only garnered about 300 Glassdoor reviews, has high ratings in all major categories except “work/life balance,” falling just short of four out of five stars.
While these companies win accolades for their cultures, teams and benefits plans, their growing pains can’t be overlooked and employees are often telling with just how painful those are.
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Photo credit: Expedia's "Life at Expedia" website. Expedia