Great Corporate Cultures Mean Great Profits for Investors

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An oft-repeated theme in business is that the companies with the happiest employees tend to perform best for investors. But is this always true? Researcher Glassdoor recently identified the top 25 companies in terms of culture and values. Here's a closer look at the top five public companies on Glassdoor's list. (Privately held public relations agency Edelman came in second.)

1. Twitter (TWTR)

  • Founded: 2006
  • CEO: Dick Costolo (93 percent of employees approve)
  • Glassdoor rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 1-year return: 16.1 percent

What workers say: Glowing reviews tend to refer to the company's mixture of perks and open-ended opportunity for advancement. "It's rare to work in an environment where you're surrounded by so many people who care deeply about their job and the product they are supporting," writes one anonymous worker.

What the financials say: Revenue growth accelerated for the fourth consecutive quarter, soaring 124 percent year over year in the second quarter. Gross margin widened to 68 percent from 63.7 percent over the same period. Cash flow from operations jumped to $81.7 million from just $7 million in last year's second quarter. Twitter appears to be hitting its stride as a business.

Most outrageous perk: Unlimited vacation days.

2. Google (GOOGL) (GOOG)

  • Founded: 1998
  • CEO: Larry Page (96 percent of employees approve)
  • Glassdoor rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
  • 1-year return: 30.9 percent

What workers say: A fast-moving environment with lots of opportunity and loads of perks, but they come at a cost. "All those perks and benefits are an illusion. They keep you at work and they help you to be more productive. I've never met anybody at Google who actually [took] time off on weekends or on vacations," says one former employee who spent eight years at the search star.

What the financials say: Much like at Twitter, revenue growth has accelerated for five consecutive quarters. At 61.7 percent, gross margin touched a high not seen in over two years. And, of course, Google has one of the strongest balance sheets in tech, with $58.3 billion in cash and investments versus just $8.3 billion in debt.

Most outrageous perk: Sleep pods for workers to take naps.

3. Riverbed Technology (RVBD)

  • Founded: 2002
  • CEO: Jerry Kennelly (93 percent of employees approve)
  • Glassdoor rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars
  • 1-year return: 24.6 percent

What workers say: Most reviews praise the business as innovative and chasing an important opportunity. Some harbor concerns that acquisitions and growing pains have taken a toll on financial results. "There is nothing like the chaos I've experienced at other companies. I'm clear on my goals and I have what I need to achieve them," writes one relatively new Riverbed employee.

What the financials say: After some rough quarters, Riverbed appears to be stabilizing. Revenue grew 5.6 percent in the second quarter versus 7.8 percent in the first quarter and 19.3 percent in the fourth quarter. Cash flow from operations dipped just 1.6 percent year over year as returns on equity and capital turned positive during the same period.

Most outrageous perk: Stocked kitchens on every floor of its San Francisco offices.

4. Facebook (FB)

  • Founded: 2004
  • CEO: Mark Zuckerberg (95 percent of employees approve)
  • Glassdoor rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars
  • 1-year return: 73.1 percent

What workers say: Workers note they work with some of the smartest people they've ever met. Others praise management. "It's so inspiring to work with so many professional and smart people in such a free atmosphere. Every project you're working on is both challenging and interesting," says one relatively new software engineer.

What the financials say: Revenue is up more than 50 percent in each of the last five quarters, and over 60 percent in each of the last three quarters. Operating cash flow now runs close to $5 billion annually, adding to a cash pile that already tops $13 billion versus just over $300 million in debt.

Most outrageous perk: Communal bicycles for traveling between buildings.

5. Southwest Airlines (LUV)

  • Founded: 1971
  • CEO: Gary Kelly (86 percent of employees approve)
  • Glassdoor rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars
  • 1-year return: 146.3 percent

What workers say: Most praise the culture, management and work environment but wish there was better pay and more time off. "You can move up in the company and grow your career with all the different opportunities every day," writes one former employee.

What the financials say: Southwest has doubled earnings from continuing operations in each of the past three quarters. Returns on equity and capital have also turned sharply higher, indicating that management's investments in the business are paying off.

Most outrageous perk: Free flights for employees and guest passes for friends and family.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. How does your employer rate? Are there any particular perks that keep you loyal or boost your productivity? Tell us about them below.

Motley Fool contributor Tim Beyers owns shares of Google (A and C class) and Riverbed Technology. Find him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool recommends Facebook, Google (A and C shares) and Twitter. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook, Google (A and C class), Riverbed Technology and Twitter. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. To read about our favorite high-yielding dividend stocks for any investor, check out our free report.

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