Category Archives: Best Companies

Best Companies to Work For, 2011

SAS takes the prize again! When it comes to workplaces, few companies offer the kinds of perks the privately held software giant does: Employees at its Cary, N.C., campus can help themselves to everything from a tailor, a manicurist, and a hair salon, to summer camp programs for kids, to car detailing — all of which helped land the company at the top of our list of the 100 best workplaces last year. This year the feedback from employees — the core of our survey — was even stronger than last year, and SAS’s scores increased significantly. “They were head and shoulders above anybody else,” says Milton Moskowitz, the co-author of the list.
Landing the top spot twice in a row is a feat on the Best Companies to Work For list, where on-site gyms and 401(k) matches are de rigueur. (Free cafeterias, tanning beds, and an on-site life coach? Now we have a conversation.) The top five this year reflect some names familiar to readers of our list: Boston Consulting Group at No. 2, Wegmans Food Markets in third place, Google once again in the No. 4 slot, and data-storage company NetApp (No. 1 in 2009) is fifth. This year we welcome 10 newcomers to the list, including Hasbro, Morningstar, Stryker, and Darden Restaurants. We also welcome back many stalwarts: 13 companies have earned a spot on our list each of its 14 years, among them Cisco, Wegmans Food Markets, Microsoft, and — yes — Goldman Sachs.
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Aaron Task talks with Leigh Gallagher of Fortune Magazine about the Best Companies to Work For on Tech Ticker.
How do we put the list together? Simply stated, we ask the employees themselves. We partner with the Great Place to Work Institute to conduct an extensive survey of hundreds of employees at each company. Two-thirds of a company’s score is based on employees’ answers to questions about such factors as job satisfaction, management credibility, and camaraderie. (The other third is based on the companies’ responses to detailed questions about pay, benefit programs, hiring practices, recognition programs, diversity efforts, and more.)
So who are this year’s Best Companies and what’s so great about them? Read on.
—  Leigh Gallagher, Fortune Magazine

Top 15 Best Companies to Work For, 2011

1. SAS
Courtesy of SAS
Rank: 1 (Previous rank: 1)
What makes it so great?
A 14-year veteran of this list, the software firm takes the top spot for the second year running.
Its perks are epic: on-site healthcare, high quality childcare at $410 per month, summer camp for kids, car cleaning, a beauty salon, and more — it’s all enough to make a state-of-the-art, 66,000-square-foot gym seem like nothing special by comparison.
This year, strong employee feedback sent its numbers even higher. Says one manager: “People stay at SAS in large part because they are happy, but to dig a little deeper, I would argue that people don’t leave SAS because they feel regarded — seen, attended to and cared for. I have stayed for that reason, and love what I do for that reason.”
2009 revenue ($ millions): 2,310

2. Boston Consulting Group
Courtesy of Boston Consulting Group
Rank: 2 (Previous rank: 8)
What makes it so great?
The consulting giant not only avoided layoffs in the downturn, but hired its largest class of recruits ever in 2010.
They’re drawn by the firm’s generous pay and a commitment to social work: Its Social Impact Practice Network (SIPN) offers a chance to work with the U.N. World Food Program and Save the Children, while BCG pulled its consultants off client projects to provide on-the-ground support in Haiti following the earthquake.
The company jumps up from no. 8 last year.
2009 revenue ($ millions): 2,750

3. Wegmans Food Markets
Courtesy of Wegmans Food Markets
Rank: 3 (Previous rank: 3)
What makes it so great?
This customer-friendly supermarket chain cares about the well-being of its workers, too. This year, 11,000 employees took part in a challenge to eat five cups of fruit and vegetables a day and walk up to 10,000 steps a day for eight weeks.
Another 8,000 took advantage of health screenings that included a flu shot and H1N1 vaccine — all covered by Wegmans.
2009 revenue ($ millions): 5,193

4. Google
Courtesy of Google
Rank: 4 (Previous rank: 4)
What makes it so great?
The search giant is famous for its laundry list of perks including free food at any of its cafeterias, a climbing wall, and, well, free laundry.
Last year, with revenue up more than 20%, Google sweetened this already rich pot of perks by giving every employee a 10% pay hike. Googlers can also award one another $175 peer spot bonuses — last year more than two-thirds of them did so.
2009 revenue ($ millions): 23,651

5. NetApp
Courtesy of NetApp
Rank: 5 (Previous rank: 7)
What makes it so great?
More at

See the Complete 2011 List of Best Companies to Work For
It was a rebound year for the data-storage firm (no. 1 in 2009), as revenues jumped 33% and it hired hundreds of new employees.
Hourly executive assistants make $76,450 a year here, supplemented by a bonus of $21,917.
Employees also enjoy perks like free fruit on Tuesdays, free bagels and cream cheese on Fridays, and free espresso all the time.
2009 revenue ($ millions): 3,931



Courtesy of

Rank: 6 (Previous rank: 15)
What makes it so great?
The online shoe retailer makes a big leap from no. 15 to no. 6 this year.
Now part of the family, the company’s quirky, happy culture remains: Employees enjoy free lunches, no-charge vending machines, a full-time life coach on hand, and “create fun and a little weirdness” as one of the company’s guiding tenets.
2009 revenue ($ millions): 1,190

7. Camden Property Trust
Courtesy of Camden Property Trust
Rank: 7 (Previous rank: 10)
What makes it so great?
The Houston-based apartment management firm weathered the recession as employees pitched in to trim $6 million in costs, largely by renegotiating contracts and reducing pay.
One team sent a scrapbook to the CEO to show how much they love the company, while another planned and organized a “flash mob” dance routine for leaders’ benefit.
One popular perk: Staffers can rent furnished apartments for $20 a night in locations like Orlando, San Diego, Denver and Austin for use on personal vacations.
2009 revenue ($ millions): 624

8. Nugget Market
Courtesy of Nugget Market
Rank: 8 (Previous rank: 5)
What makes it so great?
Rallies are an everyday event at this nine-store Northern California supermarket chain, where management uses a big flat screen computer monitor in each store to deliver important information about products, messages from the leadership team, employee awards, and pump up the troops.
Employees who watch diligently can be rewarded with bonuses that range from $20 to $1,500. Universal perk: everyone receives a 10% discount on store purchases.
2009 revenue ($ millions): 288
9. Recreational Equipment (REI)
Courtesy of Recreational Equipment
Rank: 9 (Previous rank: 14)
What makes it so great?
After 15 years of service, employees at this adventure gear retailer are entitled to a four-week paid sabbatical; after that, they can take one every five years.
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See the Complete 2011 List of Best Companies to Work For
Employees also receive 50%-75% discounts on full-price REI branded apparel and equipment, free rental of equipment like skis and kayaks, and an annual gift of REI gear.
A separate Challenge Grant program provides up to $300 worth of gear to employees that participate in a challenging outdoor adventure (one cycled 500 miles across Iowa).
2009 revenue ($ millions): 1,455

10. DreamWorks Animation SKG
Courtesy of DreamWorks Animation SKG
Rank: 10 (Previous rank: 6)
What makes it so great?
The creators of “Shrek” and “Kung Fu Panda” are lavished with free breakfast and lunch, movie screenings, afternoon yoga, on-campus art classes and monthly parties.
CEO Jefferey Katzenberg still takes time to call job candidates to encourage them to join.
Any DreamWorker can pitch a movie idea to company executives — and can take the company-sponsored “Life’s A Pitch” workshop to learn how best to do it.
2009 revenue ($ millions): 725

11. Edward Jones
Courtesy of Edward Jones
Rank: 11 (Previous rank: 2)
What makes it so great?
The investment adviser has made diversity a priority with new recruitment programs to bring people of color into a workforce that is 93% white. As the company itself says, it “does not aspire to be a firm of middle-aged white men.”
2009 revenue ($ millions): 3,548

12. Scottrade
Courtesy of Scottrade
Rank: 12 (Previous rank: 27)
What makes it so great?
Discount stockbroker thrives by going against the grain: Its brokers offer no advice to customers and do not work on commission. Its workplace bucks trends too — no one has ever been laid off, and no office has ever been closed.
2009 revenue ($ millions): 863

13. Alston & Bird
Courtesy of Alston & Bird
Rank: 13 (Previous rank: 30)
What makes it so great?
For a decade the law firm has had its own child-care campus a block away from its offices. The facility was expanded this year and now provides day care to 110 children, with subsidized rates for parents in lower-salaried ranks.
2009 revenue ($ millions): 551

14. Robert W. Baird
Courtesy of Robert W. Baird & Co.
Rank: 14 (Previous rank: 11)
What makes it so great?
Employees of the investment adviser praise the integrity that prevails here. “I have worked with a number of firms,” says one manager, “and Baird [has] the most hard-working, honest, ethical people in our business.”
2009 revenue ($ millions): 718

15. Mercedes-Benz USA
Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz USA
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