Canva, SafetyCulture and Envato among best Aussie employers for 2020

Canva founder and chief Melanie Perkins

Canva co-founder Melanie Perkins. Source: supplied.

Some of Australia’s most revered startups have been named in the 50 Best Places to Work list, as COVID-19 highlights the importance of culture and care for employees.

The list is based on surveys conducted between September 2019 and June 2020, meaning it takes into account employees’ feelings during the various stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the monumental shift to remote work and the general up-ending of ‘normal’ work life.

The list is split into three categories: businesses with more than 1,000 employees, those with between 100 and 999 employees, and those with less than 100.

Aussie unicorns Canva and SafetyCulture each make an appearance in the top 10 in the mid-sized category, in third and fourth place, respectively.

Bootstrapped maybe-unicorn Envato also makes an appearance at number 14 on that list.

Famed for its iconic human-friendly Sydney HQ and daily free lunches, Canva revealed its strategy for keeping its employees connected during COVID-19.

That included, of course, a continuation of the free lunch tradition, as well as online clubs and exercise classes, and ‘meetless Wednesdays’, giving everyone a break from the dreaded Zoom meeting.

Towards the end of June, however, we chatted with the unicorn’s head of vibe, Chris Low, about how he’s navigating a tentative return to the office.

It’s also perhaps no surprise that SafetyCulture made the cut. In April this year, the startup raised a massive $60.5 million, with half of that money directed straight back to employees, who were given the chance to cash out on their vested equity.

“It’s life-changing amounts of money for people,” founder and chief Luke Anear told SmartCompany at the time.

“We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars for people, or even millions in some cases.”

In her introduction to the report, Great Place to Work managing director Zrinka Lovrencic noted that the pandemic has been a time of shake-ups and uncertainty for many businesses and employees.

“The organisations in the study are leading the way amid the pandemic, demonstrating care for their employees, customers and communities during this challenging time,” she wrote.

“While prompted by uncertain and at times weighty circumstances, the pandemic has created opportunities to experiment with new ways of working. Organisations have introduced more flexible ways of working and harnessed the power of digital means to bring their people together.

It has placed a premium on the organisation building an inclusive culture, with organisations taking this opportunity to bank on the trust they have built with their employees over recent years.”

Larger tech companies were also represented in the ‘over 1000 employees’ category, with Cisco and Salesforce taking first and second place, respectively.

And, businesses including eBay Australia, SaaS collaboration platform LogMein Australia and ‘virtual data rooms’ startup Ansarada were named as the top-20 businesses with under 100 employees.

The full Best Places to Work list is available here.

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