Atlassian rivals Google as best place to work


Tech giant Google and Australian start-up Atlassian are among the top five best places to work in Australia, according to a new survey, suggesting start-ups can compete with larger companies for staff.


According to BRW’s 2011 Best Places to Work survey, which examined the responses of 55,400 employees from 207 companies, Google is the nation’s best place to work.


Tech companies dominated the list; 20 of the 50 featured companies operate within the IT sector, while the top five were all IT companies.


Google took out the top spot for the many benefits it extends to staff, including its 10% of work time dedicated to personal projects, known as “Google time”.


Google’s empowerment of its employees – and their sense of community and pride in the company – were other reasons it ranked first.


Following Google was search engine optimiser E-Web Marketing, data management firm NetApp Australia, networking technology company Juniper Networks and software start-up Atlassian.


Software developer Atlassian is frequently held up as a success story for the local tech start-up sector, partly because its founders were barely out of university when they started the business.


Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar were 22-year-old university graduates when they started the company in 2002 with US$10,000 on a credit card.


Atlassian now has more than 273 employees and is on track to exceed sales of US$100 million in 2010-2011. The company recently stopped paying individual performance bonuses in favour of a once-off salary bump.


Other IT companies featured on the list include Kiandra IT, Ansarada and Advanced Solutions International, which were rated 16th, 34th and 41st respectively.


Kiandra is a leading provider of IT infrastructure solutions, managed services, software and website development, and business intelligence reporting.


The company’s managing director, Cameron Brookes, says he is acutely aware of the skills shortage facing the IT industry and therefore regards staff as the firm’s number one priority.


“We work extremely hard, and invest considerably in our culture and in the ongoing development of our staff to combat this [skills shortage], and build an employment brand that attracts and retains the most talented people our industry has to offer,” Brookes says.


“Our success is a great example of how investing in your people provides solid returns.”


Ansarada, which provides virtual data room services, holds regular meetings, business coaching, team lunches, personal training sessions and company outings.


Ansarada chief executive Sam Riley says: “Passion, support, dynamism, open mindedness and entrepreneurialism are the core values at the heart of our business.”


“We support each other every day by sharing priorities, goals, roadblock and successes. This mantra of sharing performance, against top priorities and goals, supports our productivity and helps create an exciting and rewarding workplace,” he says.


Meanwhile, Advanced Solutions International encourages its staff to give back to the charities and organisations with which it works, to the extent that every employee is given a half day every month for volunteer work.


Flexible hours are standard within the company and a large percentage of ASI staff work from home.


Paul Ramsbottom, managing director of ASI Asia-Pacific says: “I have the pleasure of working with an exceptionally dedicated and passionate team who genuinely believe in the not-for-profit sector, so it’s important that ASI continues its commitment to a rewarding, positive and supportive workplace for them.”