At LinkedIn, we believe Talent is a company’s greatest asset, and the single-most important driver of long-term value creation. The companies that are best able to attract, develop and retain highly skilled people today, become the successful businesses of tomorrow. We think that great people make great companies, and today we’re excited to report that some wise investment minds over at The Motley Fool agree.

Today, the Motley Fool unveiled its list of the 25 Best Companies in America for 2012, powered in part by LinkedIn data. What sets their list apart from other investment rankings is exactly what inspired us to collaborate with them on this project: an emphasis on Talent. To get a full 360-degree view of 1,700+ companies, the research team at the Motley Fool considered how well each company served its stakeholders last year: including investors, customers, employees, and the world at large. To help measure the “employee” piece, LinkedIn granted The Motley Fool behind-the-scenes access to our full set of InDemand Employer Rankings, which score the most sought-after employers based on billions of interactions between members and companies on LinkedIn.com.

The end result is a unique mix of public companies, based on analysis that goes far beyond the balance sheet. Not all of LinkedIn’s InDemand Employers were eligible* for consideration, but those companies that ultimately made Motley’s Top 25 fall into three “InDemand” categories:

  • Iconic InDemand brands: Companies like Google (#4), PepsiCo (#13), Starbucks (#20) and IBM (#24) have massive widespread appeal as places to work, not only in the US, but globally. Which is why they also made LinkedIn’s Top 100.
  • Mass-market InDemand brands: Companies like Under Armour (#10), Coach (#11), and VF Corporation (#19) are popular retail brands, but appeal to a slightly smaller audience as potential employers. They were ranked between 101-175 on LinkedIn’s list.
  • Up and coming InDemand brands: Teradata (#2), Biogen Idec (#6), and Brown-Forman (#14), were ranked 175+ on LinkedIn’s list last year, but we’ve seen a steady increase in the rate of professionals engaging with them on LinkedIn in recent months.

Stay tuned to the LinkedIn blog as we release more InDemand rankings throughout the year.  And for talent acquisition and HR professionals, LinkedIn also released the Talent Brand Index, a powerful tool to help companies measure and improve the strength of their talent brand.

(*) To be eligible for The Motley Fool’s list, companies must have a minimum 5-year track record as a public company.  Subsidiaries were not eligible. LinkedIn (LNKD) was excluded from The Motley Fool’s rankings, and our own InDemand rankings, to maintain objectivity.