There are likely few things more frustrating to a company than seeing its competitors touted in one of the ubiquitous "best companies" lists that are popular among business and lifestyle publications. Particularly if the company didn't make the list itself. 

But whether or not there is ever consensus on how to determine the "best place to work," a new analysis shows that there are some characteristics that highly-ranked companies appear to have in common. 

A survey of 1,528 HR leaders conducted by DDI, a management consulting firm, found strong correlations between certain corporate practices and rankings. The study focused on four different types of rankings: "Best Places to Work," "Most Admired," "Most Innovative," and the "Global 500." 

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