Verkada's "Best Place To Work" Investigated

By John Honovich and Donald Maye, Published Jan 22, 2021, 08:45am EST (Info+)

Less than 3 months after Verkada's CEO fired 3, "addressing sexual harassment at Verkada", Verkada announced being one of the 'best places to work' by a company named Built In.

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Who is BuiltIn? And why did Built In also rank IPVM one of the best places to work in NYC when we are not even in NYC?

Inside this note, we examine Verkada's move, the lack of due diligence, and the risk of companies using such rankings to distract from serious issues.

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Comments (18)

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Well, if you can't be on a "Global Influencer" list, at least you can be a good place to work.

It sounds like IFSEC and Built In both use the same methodology for determining their "Winners"

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Built In is a staffing agency, so giving out awards is not their primary function. But making it easy for companies to lie makes their staffing suspicious (employees who apply through Built In might end up with fewer benefits than advertised). On the other hand, it's tricky for a smallish company to vet the claims of every company that makes an account, so maybe they rely on employee complaints to filter out the liars?

I don't put much stock in Built In's awards. It's only been around for 3 years. If I seriously trusted "Best Places to Work" awards (which I don't), I would prefer one of the longer tenured award programs like Fortune or Glassdoor or Indeed (there's a lot, take your pick).

Really, it's just a tacky move by Verkada: find an obscure award program, win it, and pretend that it means something. Not real cool.

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it's tricky for a smallish company to vet the claims of every company

Built In raised $22 million in 2019. That said, either way, it's not a great excuse for not vetting if the counter is that they cannot afford it.

I don't know the intricate details of Glassdoor's award process but clearly a major factor is employee reviews which helps to undermine company's looking to fake it, e.g. the 2 most recent Verkada employee reviews on Glassdoor:

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Built In is a staffing agency

It is worth noting that Built In lists an 18-person content team on their website covering a wide range of topics, including various tech industry topics. Most of the staff seems to have joined the company within the past few years.

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That's true. Apparently they began as a social network / blog platform for startups. The local tech hubs (e.g. builtinaustin.com) push the staffing part, but the main Built In homepage pushes the tech articles. Not sure where they make their money, but I'm guessing it's mostly from the staffing. That's because I'm not sure a tech news site could justify millions in funding without more ads, paywalls, etc. John would know more on that subject.

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Built In's methodology is based 50% on comp and 50% on benefits:

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Comp and benefits in and of themselves do not make a place a "best place to work." I know plenty of people with great comp and benefits who are miserable at their jobs.

What makes a place great to work is usually intangible—work environment, supervisor's management style, work-life balance, promotional opportunities, learning opportunities, timely pay and reimbursements, etc.

Without verified employee feedback, Built In's rankings are bogus.

Anyways, I agree with Andrew, I don't think someone who otherwise has the chance to work for Apple, Google, Intuit, Uber, Zoom or any other large Bay Area tech company would choose Verkada based on Built In's "Best Places to Work" rankings.

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I would also question how they get the compensation and benefits information. Clearly not by due diligence. Do they at least ask for that on the application? The two-week paid retreat is certainly a nice benefit offered by IPVM...

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two-week paid retreat is certainly a nice benefit offered by IPVM...

Lol, related, Company Vacation - Yay Or Nay?

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I think I could chill with Ethan and Rhodes for a couple of weeks. All the new college kids, not so much.

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Waiting for the "Our Awards Are Not Endorsements "....IPVM Image

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Lol, related, CES: Our Awards Are Not Endorsements

Built In did not respond which may be the cleverest tactic since very few of their target audience read IPVM so they can reasonably hope people won't notice.

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John,

I actually used a physical therapist at that address in NYC. Had I known you were virtually there, I would have stopped by for a virtual visit.

Everyone is looking for "validation" and the ridiculous proliferation of award tags is getting out of hand. We've participated in some juried award competitions (ISC, Campus Safety) and are always happy to be recognized (especially when there is excellent competition in the category).

Prospective customers always like to see the banners. When someone has to move a decision up the line, having some bonafides from independent organizations always helps.

But the awards that give out "certificates" just for paying an entry fee cheapen everything else.

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A few years ago I signed up to be listed on the Inc 5000

Which is a list of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in America

Thank God, we can qualify for this list every year

After the first year, I never reapplied

Once I was on the list, I received hundreds of inquires

Mostly about buying my company

Inc 5000 also charges for the "honor" of being on their list

Which is why I was at first suspicious

But in their defense

It was a nominal fee

They did request a lot of financial documentation to verify our revenue

I think the lesson is, these rewards are mostly paid for services

Some are obviously more reputable than others

Having the award on the bottom of your email may give you a little ego boost

For some it is an exciting experience

I cant say I didn't enjoy it for a few minutes !

But after that initial excitement wore off

The annoyance of being placed on some list outweighed it

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We have been on the INC5000 list several years in a row. I agree it is paid and boy do you pay if you want to use the logo or get an official award but the INC5000 conference was worth it. Great speakers and networking with other like-minded business owners.

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They did request a lot of financial documentation to verify our revenue

David, this is what differentiates Inc from most of these lists/rankings. Imagine a ranking where you can just report whatever revenue you want? :)

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UPDATE: Verkada made the 2022 list for Best Places to Work in San Francisco, coming in at 73:

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I can only imagine what the guys in the picture are actually looking at........ Verkada Sexual Misconduct, Drug Use And False Claims Exposed By Bloomberg

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