After an especially turbulent year for working professionals, some workplaces went above and beyond to keep their employees happy when it seemed like the world was ending. As it turns out, Austin has a lot of great places to work.
Inc.'s annual Best Workplaces list highlighted 11 Austin-based companies, more than any other city in Texas, as employee-driven. Out of 429 companies Inc. awarded across the U.S., here are the "2021 Best Workplaces" in Austin.
Marking seven consecutive years being honored on the list, management consulting firm 9Gauge Partners once again made the list for its dedication to employees. Once the pandemic hit, 9Gauge continued to hold weekly interactive video calls to foster connections and still holds employee interviews every two-to-six months to gauge satisfaction. 9Gauge says they put employees "first in every business decision."
Austin-based SaaS, or software as a service, provider AgileAssets sees diversity as one of its biggest strengths and boasts a team brought together from 20 countries, 12 languages and five continents. The company was recognized with an "Enduring Impact" award for its progressive policies on healthcare, including maternity and paternity leave for new parents, and in-house self-care classes so employees can learn skills to be their most zen selves.
Proving that "Happier, healthier employees are a bedrock" of success, AlertMedia used the pandemic to rethink what company culture should mean. On top of trying to keep employees connected through frequent Zoom meetings when working from home, AlertMedia incentivized staff to take breaks for mental and physical health. The company also tried to pay it forward to the community in a hard time, donating "time and treasure" to local businesses.
Decent is not only providing "affordable" health insurance plans to small Texas businesses, they also try to go above and beyond to keep employees happy, healthy and well-traveled. On each employee's first anniversary at the company, they receive a $1,500 travel voucher and a poster with notes of love from all their fellow employees. They show they care about employees—even finding housing for those without power during the winter storm.
As a completely remote company, Fourlane strives to keep employees connected even when they are apart. The company claims to operate on core values of open communication and transparency, with a goal to "create a culture where everyone feels heard and valued." To accomplish that, Fourlane holds frequent open-agenda meetings led by employees and recognizes exceptional work with awards throughout the year.
Made In Cookware
We're beyond excited to announce Made In is one of @Inc’s Best Workplaces of— Made In Cookware (@madeincookware) May 12, 2021
2021! Grateful for this incredible team we get to work with everyday! Congratulations to all of the #IncBestWorkplaces winners! https://t.co/JWwzmdoLiSpic.twitter.com/RHh27v0G5Y
Mutual respect is the name of the game at Made In Cookware, which says it shares a belief that "that we should be able to share a meal with anyone we work with, even after a hard day," and that includes everyone they work with. That belief has led to the creation of the Southern Smoke Emergency Relief Fund, which supports hospitality workers, and honors employees with peer-nominated spotlight awards.
Embracing the new hybrid of office and work-from-home, employees, marketing and digital communications organization Mighty Citizen says it is transparent by involving staff in setting quarterly goals and not hiding anything on the business end. With extensive benefits and paid parental leave, the company claims to keep employees at the front of decision-making.
Using artificial intelligence to connect people to their dream homes, OJO Labs says they put people first and hire employees who are mindful about the current social sphere. OJO is helping the community bridge the inequality gap by helping first-time Black and Latino homebuyers but it is helping employees by regularly revisiting company policies to maintain flexibility and extending breaks for employees during a hard year.
Protective intelligence software company Ontic tried to make the transition to the new normal by giving employees a stipend to perfect their home offices, hand-delivering home care packages and hosting virtual activities that came as close to the real thing as possible.
Digital media sales and services company Q1 Media is all about working hard and playing harder. For employees, hard work means bonuses, celebrations, happy hours (virtual for now) and trips to Vegas once it is safe. As Q1 says, "We put our people first, and the rest follows."
Some things never change. Getting named to #IncBestWorkplaces is one of them.— The Zebra (@TheZebraCo) May 12, 2021
Our #AllStripesWelcome workplace is on @Inc's list for the fourth consecutive year!
🏆🏆🏆🏆 ---> https://t.co/U3yg0qOFJgpic.twitter.com/4Somm32oNp
Not only does The Zebra love its employees, it also loves their furry friends. In addition to the five-month paid parental leave, $100 per month wellness stipend, unlimited PTO and employee-led resource groups, the independent insurance-comparison site offered employees a $300 stipend to welcome a new adoptable friend into their homes early on in the pandemic.
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In a Thursday tweet, Elon Musk denied Austonia’s report that he’s planning to build a private airport somewhere east of Austin.
“Not true,” Musk wrote. That “would be silly,” noting that Tesla is “5 mins from Austin International airport.”
Austonia sources have told us Musk is frustrated with the slow pace of Austin-Bergstrom’s capacity expansion and may have offered ABIA substantial funding if the airport accelerated its timetable for improvements specified in its Airport Expansion & Development program, also known as the 2040 Master Plan.
We contacted Mookie Patel, the airport’s Chief Officer Business & Finance. Our response came from an airport information officer who said that “we have not received any offers from Mr. Musk or his companies,” but didn’t say whether there had been discussions.
We’ve also heard that Musk wants ready access to an east/west runway, which ABIA does not have. His tweet mentioned that “the existing commercial airport needs another runway.”
Since publishing our original story, we’ve heard from readers who’ve suggested Musk could get additional capacity by taking over or joining an existing airport project in the Austin-Bastrop corridor. We know of two:
- Greenport, a 5,000 acre Bastrop project that’s advertising available facilities pending a 2022 opening. A site rendering shows an east/west runway. A person associated with the project, TR Reid of Carpenter & Associates, said “in terms of any kind of speculation or rumors or whatnot, we wouldn’t comment on that.”
- Central Texas Airport, a project that’s in an undetermined state of development, near the intersection of FM 969 and FM 1704.
If you have any first-person insight into any aspect of this story, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Months after Giga Texas’ grand opening, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is already eying another factory.
Musk made an appearance at the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting Thursday and suggested the company may announce plans for another factory as soon as this year.
The event, known as Cyber Roundup, involved the group voting on matters like director appointments and stockholder proposals.
Musk also commented on the company’s recent profit and noted there’s still progress to be made at the gigafactory here.
“Still a lot of work to do. These factories don't just magically work. So a lot of work to do in Berlin, and here in Austin to spool up these two gigafactories, and we've got different supply chains so there's a host of problems,” Musk said. “None of the problems are individually all that difficult, but there's like 10,000 of them.”
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