FORTUNE Magazine recently reported its 2014 “100 Best Companies to Work For.” The companies that made the list cover a broad range of industries from technology to health care to construction. While these companies do many different things, it’s clear that they have some very important things in common – good employment practices.
So, what practices do these “best in class” companies share?
- Wellness: Numerous companies in the top 100 best places to work showed a real commitment to their employees’ health and wellness. Many of these companies took creative approaches to employee well-being. Number 1 ranked Google offers a “bring your dog to work day.” Wellness initiatives at Detroit-based Quicken Loans include health screenings, partnerships with local gyms along with paid time off for volunteering. At busy accounting firm Plante Moran, ranked 23rd, every staff member has a “buddy” assigned when they join the firm to assist with “work-life balance” issues.
- Diversity: Another recurring theme at the best places to work is a commitment to diversity. And, as diversity should, those efforts take many different forms, such as domestic partner benefits, inclusiveness programs, and parental support groups. At 12th ranked Wegam’s Food Market, the commitment to diversity includes recognizing multi-generational workforce issues through flexible scheduling arrangements, an employee scholarship program, and stretch assignments that help young employees grow within the company.
- Training: Employees are committed and productive when they are confident in their skills and ability. Taking that to heart, Rackspace Hosting launched its own academy to train people for technology jobs. More than 60% of the academy’s graduates got jobs at the company. At 44th ranked, Whole Foods Markets training is definitely hands on. New employee orientations include “a healthy eating class, store tours with taste tests, and training on the company's core values, safety protocols and the proper way to handle organic products.” Committed to on-going training, Whole Foods also offers professional advancement and personal enrichment programs.
- Recognition: At the best places to work, a job well done is recognized and rewarded. At Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants, employees receive "Kimpton Moment" tokens that are redeemable for paid days off, gift certificates to restaurants, flat-screen TVs, and other prizes. At Atlantic Health, recognition is part of the culture. The health system recognizes Nurses Week, Administrative Professionals Week, Research Day (showcasing studies by faculty and staff), 25-Year Club Reception, Pride in Action Award, Manager Leadership Awards, and Healing Hands Awards.
- Camaraderie. Employees at these companies enjoy spending time together—and have fun doing it. At 42nd ranked Stryker, a medical device maker in Kalamazoo, Michigan, employees say that they build friendly relationships with their co-workers through family activity nights, summer picnics and adventure parks trips. The Container Store may help keep customers organized, but it's thinking out of the box by offering employees ice cream breaks, chili cook offs, X-Box raffles, and an annual soap box derby. It all leads to a work environment that ensures that the 28th ranked company is able to attract and retain "outstanding contributors."
- Leadership. When the CEO of 24th ranked Scripps Health announced plans to reorganize and cut spending, he committed to making those changes without any layoffs. Scripps’ employees describe the CEO and executive team as "visionary," "transparent and approachable” and credit them with the ability to “entrust staff with a lot of responsibility while avoiding micromanagement.”
A company doesn’t have to be on Fortune’s list to be a great place to work. But, if your company is a great place to work—or aspires to be one—it’s a sure bet that these leading employment practices are key to your employees’ good fortune. Check out the entire list at FORTUNE.