New Study Ranks Fortune 500 and INC 500 Leadership by Employee Feedback

Digital Leadership Culture Index Report Cover - Businessman Checking Feedback Rating BoxesA new study by Radiant Forest, LLC ranked all Fortune 500 companies and the top 500 of the INC 5,000, according to their online employee feedback scores. The study analyzed 17 different attributes across Glassdoor, Indeed, and LinkedIn to derive a single score, called the Digital Leadership Culture Index™ (DLCI). The DLCI score allows employers, employees, candidates, and analysts to quickly and easily determine how each company rates vs. peers and competition, when it comes to people leadership.

Elimination of Corporate Veneers

In my 2014 book, “Paradigm Flip: Leading People, Teams, and Organizations Beyond the Social Media Revolution“, I explained that companies could no longer hide behind “corporate veneers”. Previously, if an employer had a horrible culture, they could masquerade as a great company through creative marketing. However, with the advancement of employee reviews online, these veneers became increasingly difficult to maintain. This is the next logical step. The DLCI score empowers employees, candidates, and analysts to sort the good from the bad.

Recommendations from the Study

Digital Leadership Culture Index Infographic - Highlighting the best and worst employers as well as average employer rating by stateThe study includes recommendations for employers, employees, and candidates. In addition, it combined their previous study focused on postsecondary leadership programs, to generate recommendations for state governments, colleges, and universities. Some of these recommendations include:

  • For Employers: Engage employees early and regularly. Seek feedback before it’s too late. Engage on employee feedback platforms. Monitor and report your scores to executives, managers, and emerging leaders.
  • For Employees: Share your feedback in a constructive manner. Update your scores regularly. Be clear about potential concerns, without disclosing names.
  • For Candidates: Look for consistent themes in reviews. Ask the employer about what you found, during the interview process.
  • For States & Schools: Form a commission and reward schools that offer leadership degree programs.

Key Rankings

All companies received a confidence ranking to clarify the reliability of available data. Some of the best and worst results, with high of very high confidence, included…

Best Fortune 500 Employer DLCI Scores

  • Adobe (California)
  • Microsoft (Washington)
  • Intuit (California)
  • American Express (New York)
  • Costco Wholesale (Washington)

Worst Fortune 500 Employer DLCI Scores

  • Norfolk Southern (Virginia)
  • NGL Energy Partners (Oklahoma)
  • Dollar General (Tennessee)
  • Global Partners (Massachusetts)
  • Frontier Communications (Connecticut)

Best INC 500 Employer DLCI Scores

  • 360ia (Louisiana)
  • Gravy Analytics (Virginia)
  • Embark Veterinary (Massachusetts)
  • Brand Buddha (California)
  • Treepublic (California)

Worst INC 500 Employers

  • Associated Human Capital Management (New York)
  • Constellation Agency (New York)
  • Inspire11 (Illinois)
  • Besomebody (Ohio)
  • Bambridge Accountants New York (New York)

Servant-Leadership Perspective

As servant-leadership advocates, we’re excited to see this data and the approach to greater transparency. We hope this inspires and motivates more businesses to invest in greater people leadership. You can get the full study from radiant forest here.


Picture of Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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