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Paid Leave, CSR and 401ks: What the Best Companies Have in Common

Posted by Patrick Ball on 8 Mar 2015

What the best companies to work for have in common

Fortune’s 18th “Best Companies to Work For” list hit the web recently, and with it came a welcome reminder that you don’t have to flood the coasts to find great places to work.

Left coast tech has a strong showing, per the usual. Google reclaimed the top spot, with several other California-based companies, including salesforce, WorkDay, Riot Games, Twitter and Intuit, not too far behind.

By now we’ve come to expect tech and professional services companies to dominate this type of “Best Places to Work” list, but this year’s version had strong representation from other industries, including retail – a strong indication blue collar companies can drive success with employee-centric practices.

Compensation, of course, is a key attraction for job seekers, but a fair wage alone won’t make you an employer of choice. Among this latest crop of listmakers, paid leave, diversity initiatives, child care assistance, unlimited sick days and wellness programs were common offerings.They don't all offer each of these work perks, but most check off at least a few of those boxes. 

Here, we’ll highlight a few interesting themes from this year’s Best Companies to Work For list.

It’s All About Paid Leave

Google, once again, topped Fortune’s list of 100 Best Companies To Work For.

And what has the tech giant done to reclaim the crown? It comes down to the way the company supports new parent employees. 

Consider this, from the Fortune description, lauding Google’s recently bolstered parental leave benefits:

New parents, regardless of gender (including dads, domestic partners, adoptive parents, and surrogate parents), can now get up to twelve weeks of fully paid baby bonding time. Google also provides $500 of “Baby Bonding Bucks” to all new parents to use during the first three months of their child’s life.

Expanded family-friendly benefits, including paternity leave, support groups and child care assistance, is becoming an increasingly popular work perk, especially among maturing companies looking to retain top female talent and improve work-life balance for all new parent employees.

Watch Founder Sheila Lirio Marcelo Share Her “Katniss Moment” with Google.

Retail Represents

The retail industry hit double digits this year, led by the upscale grocery chain Wegmans at No. 7. 

Nugget Markets, a Sacramento-area grocery chain that kills it on company culture, checked in at No. 26. Generous health insurance plans earned QuickTrip the No. 54 spot, while Build-A-Bear Workshops, which recently added “DiBEARsity” as a core value, landed the No. 59 spot based on the strength of its diversity initiatives.

Across these enterprises, it’s not just the executives and directors enjoying generous employee benefits packages.

At CustomInk (No. 62), a Virginia-based online T-shirt retailer, employees get a catered meal each week and free massages. And The Container Store (No. 27), the Texas-based retailer famous for the generous salaries it pays front-line workers, set aside 14 percent of the company’s shares for employees when TCS went public in 2013.

Indeed, employee-centric practices aren’t exclusive to Silicon Valley. They’re driving growth and performance at grocery stores and gas stations across America’s heartland.

Learn What It Takes to be an Employer of Choice

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

As employees, especially Millennials, want their work to “matter,” employer-provided volunteering time and other CSR programs are becoming increasingly attractive to today’s talent. So it’s not surprising to see such programs represented on the Fortune list.

  • No. 2 employer Boston Consulting Group was cited for allowing employees to take a “Social Impact Leave of Absence” for three to 12 months.
  • No. 8 salesforce gives employees 6 paid days off per year to volunteer.
  • No. 39 Atlantic Health System launched a “Random Acts of Kindness” initiative across the New Jersey hospital group.
  • No. 97 Deloitte basically shuts down its US operations for a day in June so the employees can all volunteer in their communities.

Eye on Retirement

With the trend toward more Americans living and working longer, the future of work – and retirement – is becoming a focus for employers and employees alike. Several listmakers were cited for their 401(k) contributions, including:

  • No. 3 Acuity contributes 8 percent of pay into 401(k) accounts every quarter
  • No. 19 Stryker offers a 50 percent match to up to 8 percent of pay
  • No. 28 World Wide Technology offers a dollar-for-dollar match up t o6 percent of pay
  • No. 42 Cooley makes a 7.5 percent contribution to all eligible employees’ 401(k) accounts and, for those who fail to enroll, they automatically enroll the employees at a 5 percent level.


We at would like to congratulate all of this year’s listmakers for the myriad ways you’re prioritizing employee experience. From the convenience store clerks in Tulsa to the tech execs in Mountain View, you’re finding ways to show your employees they matter.

Making a list like Fortune's, of course, has it's own benefits, including building an employer brand and aiding in recruiting efforts. But it's the programs and practices in place that earn a spot on this list that help to drive performance, cultivate company culture, aid retention strategies and boost the all-important bottom line. 

Several companies that offer to their employees as a benefit made Fortune’s list. We’d like to also congratulate Google, QuickTrip, Houston Methodist, EY, Ryan and our partners at USAA.


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