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25 Best Companies to Work For and Why

25 Best Companies to Work For and Why
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While the clouds of the Great Recession may have finally dispersed six years after the financial crisis, there are some aspects of the economy that have yet to be repaired. The global economy is currently cultivating fewer employment opportunities than it did in 2007, for example, with the United Nations suggesting that the reduced levels of growth among developed nations is hindering the creation of viable and well-paid jobs.

While the global employment market may be struggling to recover fully from the recent recession, however, there are still numerous opportunities for proactive and skilled individuals who are motivated to work. This is also reflected in the disproportionate growth of some companies and market sectors, who continue to buck the trend and create brand new jobs for like-minded individuals.

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    The Top 25 Companies to Work for and why

    With this in mind, what are the top 25 companies to work for and why do they remain so enduringly popular? Let’s consider the following options: –

    1. SAS, Business Analytics and Software

    Business software developer SAS features regularly on the Fortune 500 list of top employers, and managed to reclaim second spot for 2014. It is renowned for its caring approach to employees, which currently means that its global team of nearly 14,000 staff members is able to benefit from onsite medical care and health centers. With a job growth rate of 3.6% and voluntary staff turnover of just 2%, it is clearly one of the most empowering and rewarding places to work in the current climate.

    2. Genentech, Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals

    Job satisfaction can come in numerous forms, as while some individuals are motivated by their bottom line salary others look for less obvious rewards. For those who are looking to take pride in their work and influence positive change, a job at the American-based pharmaceutical outlet Genentech offers considerable rewards. While it does not have a particularly strong presence outside of the U.S., the firm made international headlines last year after it shipped a recently approved breast cancer drug to a medical centre where 3 patients were desperately awaiting treatment.

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    3. Intuit, Information Technology and Software

    A beacon of knowledge and industry insight, Intuit has been recognized as a discerning employer of choice for years. Based in the appealing location of Silicon Valley, it is extremely kind to its employees and offers genuine fitness incentives of up-to $650 a year for considerations such as gym membership, swimming lessons and Pilates classes. Also renowned as a key trainer and developer of employee skills, many staff members have reported that they work only sporadically for their first month and are given the chance to acclimatize and ease into their role.

    4. Wegman’s Food Market, Food and Groceries

    Ranking 12th in the Fortune 500 Top Employers list for 2014, Wegman’s Food Market has a renowned and long-standing reputation for nurturing graduate talent and driving internal progression. 66% of all job roles are filled internally, as youthful starters and college leavers are encouraged to develop their skills and progress through the ranks towards management. This has proven to be a huge attraction for ambitious workers, while average management salaries of $56,948 are also relatively competitive in the industry.

    5. Salesforce.com, Information Technology

    Another leader in the thriving Information Technology sector, Salesforce.com has carved an extremely lucrative niche in Cloud computing. It has doubled its workforce from 5,000 to a staggering 10,000 in the last 2 years alone, and added a total of 1,264 full-time positions in 2013. High-performing employees are also rewarded with innovative recognition programs and rewards, while skilled and accredited software engineers can expect to earn an average annual salary of $152,374.

    6. Vax, Electrical Goods and Consumables

    A recent entry onto the Sunday Times Top 100 Place to Work for 2014, Vax is not only the UK’s most renowned floorcare brand but also a leading international employer. A subsidiary of the TTI Electronics Group, it is active throughout Europe and also delivers a substantial turnover in the U.S.. Having experienced rapid growth in the last eighteen months and with plans to take on 100 brand new engineers in the UK alone between now and 2015, Vax is a brand that knows how to take care of its staff and their interests.

    7. Quicken Loans, Financial Services and Insurance

    While the financial services and insurance sector is considered to be relatively dour, there is one lender that is intent on reversing this perception. Based in Michigan and with a workforce of more than 8,000 employees, Quicken Loans has experienced huge growth in the last twelve months and created jobs at an increased rate of 46.20% during this time. Mortgage bankers can also expect to recoup significant earnings of approximately $112,000 per annum in their role, and this goes a long way to explaining why more than 2,500 Detroit residents applied for just 500 positions at the beginning of the year.

    8. Burns & McDonnell, Professional Services and Engineering

    Established in 1898, Burns & McDonnell is a professional services and engineering firm that combines traditional values with contemporary thinking. In essence, it features one of the best stock-ownership plans in the whole of the Western economy, which enables eligible employees to receive additional cash for the procurement of shares. With nearly 4000 employees across the globe and a high end salary of more than $127,000 per annum, it is a progressive and empathetic company that safeguards its employee’s well-being.

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    9. NuStar Energy, Transportation and Storage

    Employees at the world’s largest logistics and pipeline operators can benefit from an extremely lucrative benefits package, including a no-layoff policy, 100% health care premium coverage and a 401(k) match of up to 6%. Incredibly, 2013 also saw the firm’s director’s decline their annual bonuses so that their employees could retain theirs, which gives you an insight into the sense of teamwork and community spirit that exists. High end salaries reach an estimated $94,989 for terminal managers, so there are plenty of reasons to pursue a career at NuStar Energy.

    10. The Container Store, Retail and Specialty

    Global storage retailer The Container Store made the top 30 of the Fortune 500 list for the second year running in 2014, after a successful IPO that saw a staggering 14% of total shares purchased by employees. This, alongside impressive sales figures job growth of 7.90% in 2013, saw share prices double on the first day of trading from $18 to $36. This company also offers extremely competitive levels of remuneration in relation to market competitors, with store managers able to command an annual salary of $75,098.

    11. Zappos.com, Retail and Specialty

    Our first foray into the retail sector introduces us to Zappos.com, which is a leading and innovative retailer that has experienced considerable success in the last twelve months. With less than 5% of voluntary turnover among existing staff members, it is clearly a popular place to work and one that likes to empower employees through salary and incentives. The firm’s breadth of salaries range from $59,000 and $118,000 per annum, while the owners have also been known to reward employees with day trips to the Bahamas.

    12. Qualcomm, Telecommunications

    This telecom giant is an extremely people-focused business, especially when it comes to dealing with rewarding employees. This is reflected in its annual financial dealings, as last year $1,500 bonuses were awarded directly to employers who had worked tirelessly on successfully filing a new patent application. Alongside significant international expansion, generous benefits packages and impressive 2013 job growth of 16.30%, Qualcomm clearly offers genuine opportunity to proactive workers.

    13. Slinky Productions, Media and Film Production

    You do not need to be a large corporation to offer viable employment opportunities to workers, as British based media and film production company Slinky Productions can testify. A thriving creative firm with an impressive range of clients, it has worked alongside a huge breadth of international clients including Nokia, Land Rover and successful musicians the Kaiser Chiefs. After considerable growth in 2013, it offers individuals an opportunity to work in a fun and creative industry while also interacting with leading directors from around the world.

    14. Baker Donelson, Legal Services

    In terms of clear leadership and diversity, few businesses can match the appeal of legal service provider Baker Donelson. Despite boasting traditional value and having 126 years of experience in the industry, more than half of all 1247 employees are women and the company has an extremely progressive and innovative approach to administering justice. CEO Ben Adam insists that each client has a pro bono attorney with no billing requirement, for example, which enables less affluent individuals to receive representation and offers an insight into the company’s people-focused outlook.

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    15. Google, Media and Information Technology

    While much publicized diversity issues and the decision to discourage working from home and undermined Google’s reputation as one of the Western worlds’ leading employers, it remains an extremely attractive proposition for job seekers. The firms stock climbed past the $1,000 in 2013, delivering considerable return to loyal and hardworking staff members. With job rate growth on more than 20% in the last twelve months and new philanthropy programs enabling open-minded employees to exciting destinations such as India and Ghana, Google clearly remains one of the most coveted and innovative firms in the world.

    16. Edward Jones, Financial Services and Insurance

    With nearly 40,000 employees around the world and consistent job growth of 7%, Edward Jones is one of the largest and most established firms on our list. Interestingly, it rivals Starbucks in its number of U.S. locations and added a staggering 3,000 employees in 2013, while voluntary turnover is at an industry low of just 8%. Security is just one of the benefits that employees can access while working at this firm, however, with flexible job sharing opportunities and high-end salaries of approximately $90,000 per annum.

    17. UKRD Group, Media and Commercial Radio

    Another prominent and expansive British based firm, the UKRD Group topped the Sunday Time Top 100 Employers List for the second year running in 2014. There are a number of reasons that continue to drive this success, including a diverse workforce, a relatively young average age of 34 and more than 14% of all employees earning over £35,000 per annum. Although staff turnover may seem disproportionately high at 19%, this is relatively low in comparison with the overall industry average.

    18. Baker & McKenzie, Legal Services

    Not only does the renowned legal firm Baker & McKenzie deliver legal services to the general public, but it also provides a just and rewarding workplace for all employees. This is reflected in an extremely generous salary structure, which enables more than 84% of all staff members to earn a cumulative annual salary of £35,000 or above. In fact, 25% of the firms’ representatives earn in excess of £100,000 each year, while the average turnover of 9% is extremely impressive given the competitive nature of the sector.

    19. Hilcorp, Manufacturing and Production

    No list of top employers would be complete without a manufacturing firm, especially when you consider the prominence of this industry. This oil and gas exploration firm Hilcorp has grown at a rate of more than 9% since 2013, while a qualified engineer can claim an industry high salary of $211,874 per annum. The firm also announced a new incentive program called Dream 2015 recently, which promises to give every person in the company a staggering $100,000 if all goals are successfully met.

    20 Boot Camp Media, SEO and Website Design

    Some companies are fortunate to operate in vibrant industries, while others adopt an innovative approach to carving their own unique sector in the sector that they operate. Boot Camp Media belongs to the latter camp, as this SEO and website design firm that has built its recent success on considerable training and development. New members of staff often spend up to three months doing nothing more than learning and gaining valuable industry insight, while the company also allocates each Friday to educating employees and furthering their personal development.

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    21. USAA, Financial Services and Insurance

    One of the biggest climbers on the Fortune 500 List this year, USAA has created more than 1800 jobs in the last twelve months and now employees a grand total of 25,143 staff members. The company is driven by the goal of serving loyal American veterans and their families, and this is reflected in the fact that more than 8,200 vets and spouses have been integrated into the firm since 2005. With competitive salaries of between $47,433 and $115,106 per annum, there are also considerable financial rewards available to employees.

    22. Ultimate Software, Information Technology

    Yet another high-powered software company, employees at Ultimate Software have been rewarded handsomely for driving 18.70% growth in the last twenty-four months. As mandatory shareholders, they have seen stock prices rise by almost 100% between 2012 and 2014, creating an extremely lucrative dividend to supplement an average income of between $61,361 and $108,371. It is looking to create at least 300 more jobs in the year ahead, and this goes a long way to explaining why staff turnover is at an all-time low of just 1.9%.

    23. NetApp, Information Technology and Data Storage

    NetApp is an interesting inclusion in the list, as despite creating 494 jobs in 2013 and boasting high-end salaries of more than $90,000 its other statistics are not immediately impressive. It is a company with a higher purpose, however, especially for individuals who have a philanthropic outlook and a desire to effect social change. This is because NetApp offers staff members five paid days holiday every single year, so that they can volunteer and make a difference in their local community. With 13,040 staff members located around the world, this is an extremely meaningful investment.

    24. Mishcon de Reya, Legal Services

    The bright lights of London are extremely alluring for ambitious job seekers, with high-end salaries and luxurious property the order of the day. Mischon de Reya is a legal firm based in the heart of the British capital, and one that has a reputation for representing renowned celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Gordon Ramsey and the late Princess Diana. As if this was not enough, the company also remunerates handsomely with more than 71% of all employees earning substantially more than £35,000 per annum. As a package of employment, this has created a wonderful place to work and an exceedingly low staff turnover of 13%.

    25. Nugget Market, Retail, Food and Groceries

    A veteran of 9 years on the coveted Fortune 500 List, Nugget Market is a food and retail outlet with more than 1100 employees in the U.S. alone. With just 8% staff turnover, it is an extremely popular place to work and store directors can expect to command an impressive salary of over $115,000 per annum. Even check-out assistants who are paid by the hour can earn up to $40,000 each year, meaning that the firm generates a culture of empowerment and strive to reward staff for their hard and ceaseless work.

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    Published on July 27, 2021

    15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

    15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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    During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

    But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

    Put the Pro in Professional

    After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

    1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

    The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

    Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

    2. Dress the Part

    While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

    Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

    For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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    Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

    3. Stage Your Workspace

    Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

    Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

    4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

    Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

    Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

    Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

    Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

    5. Arrive on Time

    In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

    Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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    6. Turn on Your Video

    Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

    If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

    Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

    7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

    Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

    Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

    Attend to the Pesky Details

    8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

    With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

    Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

    9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

    Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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    Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

    10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

    As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

    Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

    Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

    Talking Has a Time and a Place

    11. Chat Appropriately

    Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

    At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

    12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

    The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

    Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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    13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

    In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

    Manage Yourself

    14. Minimize Distractions

    While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

    Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

    15. Save Snacking for Later

    Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

    However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

    Final Thoughts

    Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

    Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

    Reference

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