Last week, Fortune released its 100 Best Companies to Work For list. The rankings are the result of one of the most extensive employee surveys in corporate America. This year, more than 81,000 employees from 353 companies participated.
So how was Fortune able to narrow down the list? What do these 100 companies have in common? Well, for one, they're all at least seven years old and have a minimum of 1,000 U.S. employees. (They have to, to be eligible.)
But those characteristics aren't what secured these companies a spot on the list. Industry isn't a shared trait either. The list contains retailers, financial services organizations, oil and gas producers, hotel chains, hospitals, etc.
What about benefits and healthcare?
Fourteen companies on this year's list pay 100 percent of their employees' healthcare premiums.
Eighty-four companies allow employees to telecommute or work at home at least 20 percent of the time.
Other companies on the list offer other benefits as well, but notice that only a few companies appear more than once.
Think it's the salaries that earn an organization a top spot on the list? That might not be it either. SAS, ranked the overall Best Company to Work For, doesn't make the Big Pay list. And considering the recession -- and pay cuts and freezes most of the country experienced this past year -- I'd be surprised if financial compensation was the primary deciding factor for any of the employees who voted. (Though, I'm sure it doesn't hurt.)
So then what?
If you read through each of the company's descriptions, I imagine you'll be introduced to 100 companies that truly value and develop close relationships with their employees. One hundred companies that treat their employees as not only their most valuable assets, but as human beings. One hundred companies that give bonuses, raises, and promotions when they can, but that also recognize that money isn't everything.
It's the non-tangibles that really foster an employee's dedication and job/company satisfaction. Best practices including open communication, the aligning of corporate and employee values, and regular recognition of accomplishments all prove that your organization is concerned with more than making a profit.
They are evidence of a corporate conscience, and a deep regard for your employees' well-being and happiness. The key is to recognize your employees as individuals -- as mothers, fathers, sports fans, philanthropists, etc. -- not just mechanisms for boosting profits.
A deeper look at any of the companies on this list will likely reveal that these employers have developed relationships with their employees. And as a result, the employees feel like they're an invaluable part of the organization.
Am I right? Any readers work for any of the companies on this list? What do you think makes them the best company to work for?
Or for those of you who don't, how would you rank your company? Would you give them a "Best Companies to Work For" nod? If so, why?