Just as its CEO Mark Zuckerberg finds himself under the spotlight following his recognition as Time Person of the Year, Facebook as a company has emerged as the best company to work for in 2011, according to a survey conducted by Glassdoor.com, a jobs and career community where people share information and opinions about the places where they work.

Facebook, which received an average score of 4.6 out of 5 was rated by most of its employees as an extremely supportive, transparent, energetic and fun place to work in - where passion for work and eagerness to make a difference earns the highest premium. CEO Mark Zuckerberg received an approval rating of 96% from employees participating in the survey, just a notch below Apple's Steve Jobs who had the highest CEO rating of 97%.

The Company was started by Mark Zuckerberg and co-founders Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes and Eduardo Saverin from their Harvard dorm room as thefacebook.com. (This was later changed to the present name, in August 2005).

Incorporated in the summer of 2004 after its initial successful run as a predominantly university-centric network, Facebook set up its base of operations in Palo Alto, California in June of that year. Today it has 2000 plus employees, spread across 12 countries of the world.

While working for Facebook comes with the very real prospect of becoming millionaires, it's not just that (or the attractive compensation, free meals and laundry, 401K plan and perks like cash for new parents) that makes it a huge draw for employees. It is the way of life therein that employees seem to be addicted to. It's the satisfaction of creating something unprecedented and new, the incentives for not just finding answers but also asking questions never asked before. The openness of culture at Facebook is legendary, accentuated by what Time Magazine describes as a rolling tundra of office furniture - without any enclosed workspaces, walls or cubicles. Neither the COO nor the CEO has an office.

But as in any other path breaking organization, the long hours and constant pressure of moving beyond charted paths to create an impact can be overwhelming, as indicated in some of the reviews on Glassdoor.

Contrary to many other preferred employer surveys, the Glassdoor Best Places to Work study ranks companies based entirely on employees' choices, as indicated by them in a 20-question poll on the site. The final list is based on reviews shared by employees over the last 12 months, and captures their inputs on Career Opportunities, Communication, Compensation & Benefits, Employee Morale, Recognition & Feedback, Senior Leadership, Work/Life Balance, and Fairness & Respect.

There is no nomination involved and the only criterion for a company to be considered is that at least 25 of its employees must have completed the survey on site.

Of the 50 companies that have found a place in Glassdoor's third annual list, 21 are new entrants. Interestingly, Facebook is one among them. It replaces Southwest Airlines from the top of the 2010 list, pushing the aviation major to No.2 spot.

Other companies that feature among the top 5 are Bain & Company, General Mills and Edelman.