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What They Do
Conduct user experience research so clients understand what people see, do, think and feel when using websites, mobile apps and other digital products.
Headquarters: San Francisco, California
Annual Revenues: $8 Million.
What Makes AnswerLab Great
How’s this for a responsive management team: An AnswerLab employee half joked on the company’s internal communications network once that the main office’s weekly fruit delivery wasn’t keeping pace with its growth. Every week after that, a double order of fruit showed up. Another time, someone shared an article about how two monitors could greatly improve employees’ productivity. The next week, all 33 of the company’s employees had two monitors.
So it goes at this San Francisco- and New York-based user experience consulting company, where employees enjoy an empowering workplace with colleagues they respect in a fun and friendly environment.
“I've never been in a workplace where everyone really and truly cares deeply about the success and well-being of one another as much as AnswerLab,” one employee says. “This is the kind of place that you want to remain connected with in the future no matter where your career path or education might take you.”
AnswerLab employees credit the company’s superior work environment to one thing: supportive, empowering and responsive managers.
In all, 100 percent of AnswerLab’s employees say management is approachable, competent, trusting and appreciative. The vast majority also say that managers encourage them to explore new ideas that might ultimately benefit the company.
“Top management is consistently soliciting ideas and listening to the team,” one employee says. “Managers consistently ask employees at all levels about how to improve our business and our quality of life. They reserve a good part of every quarterly company meeting to brainstorming with the team and distilling new ideas for areas to improve.”
AnswerLab’s employees enjoy a range of benefits that contribute to the enjoyable working environment. Flexible schedules and telecommuting are par for the course. Full-timers get nearly a month of paid time off after a year of service and everyone gets an annual $400 stipend for a new smartphone or other gadget. Employees who recommend candidates the company hires for full-time positions are eligible for bonuses of up to $2,500. Employees have a range of professional and personal development opportunities at their disposal through AnswerLab University, the company’s internal training program.
Just as important to the workplace here: friendly coworkers. Everyone agrees that AnswerLab is a convivial place to work and that people care about each other. “I can honestly say I consider every single person at the company a friend,” one employee says. “It's because the company culture is really friendly and a lot of effort is spent in hiring folks who fit in with that culture.” Beyond the friendships employees share is ultimately a deep sense of respect for each other as professionals: “I completely trust my colleagues. We all work hard to get our jobs done right and are there to support each other during difficult situations that may arise.”
Although as many tech companies go AnswerLab is tiny, its client list is stocked with Fortune 500 giants, something that may explain why so many employees feel like their work makes a difference. Nine out of 10 people who work here say they are proud of what they accomplish. “Despite being small, the firm has a strong reputation and large footprint in the industry,” one employee says. “This helps with recruiting and gives the employees a sense of pride.”
As is the case at many consulting companies, the workload at AnswerLab ebbs and flows. When it’s the latter, employees can find themselves working long hours or on weekends. While 84 percent of their staff do feel like managers encourage them to balance their work and personal lives, those who enjoy a steady, predictable workweek may not find it here.
To even work demands out, the company offers flextime and provides employees with paid time off if they have to work through a weekend or holiday. “It's great to know that the management team really has the backs of everyone in the company and is willing to quickly adapt to our needs to move the company forward,” one employee says.
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