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25 Best Companies to Work For and Why

25 Best Companies to Work For and Why

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 September 18, 2018

    17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

    17 Proven Tactics for Motivating Employees and Building a Stronger Team

    Have there been instances when you noted a drop in your team’s productivity or observed a behavioral change in someone who used to be an excellent performer?

    Before you blame the team for not being motivated enough or worse still, choose to ignore these warning signs, look inwards and ask yourself if YOU are doing enough to keep your team motivated in the first place.

    Motivating employees is extremely crucial. As the leader of the pack, it is your responsibility to ensure each and every member of your team feels valued, driven and motivated.

    After all, you cannot expect a bunch of disengaged and demotivated people to deliver results and grow your business, can you?

    Here are 17 surefire tactics for motivating your employees and building a productive team:

    1. Show your appreciation

    In the whole race to achieve external business goals, leaders often forget to value their most important assets — their employees.

    The least you can do to boost performance and morale is to appreciate your employees, recognize their efforts and give them credit when it is due.

    Whether it’s sending a personalized note, recognizing achievements publicly during team huddles or even rewarding top performers at the end of every month, you will be surprised to see how these small acts of appreciation can go a long way.

    2. Communicate effectively

    Effective communication can do wonders in motivating employees. Who is a strong communicator? Someone who knows what they are talking about and are able to convey their message accurately.

    Communication is a lot more than just language and talking. Factors such as eye contact, active listening, hand gestures and postures also say a lot about a person’s communication skills.

    3. Be open to dialogue

    Gone are the days when leading through fear and putting on the tough, distant leader act would work.

    New age leadership is all about instilling trust by being accessible and encouraging discussions. Your team needs to feel comfortable speaking to you and you need to set the tone for such a camaraderie.

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    In spite of having a busy schedule, you can still show you care through simple, effective acts.

    For instance, having an open door policy, showing genuine interest while interacting with your employees or even greeting your team members helps breaking barriers and projects you as an accessible leader.

    4. Provide constructive criticism

    Giving negative feedback is always tricky — you don’t want to hurt feelings nor do you want the feedback to be taken lightly.

    So, what do you do? The idea is to offer criticism such that it inspires change and delivers results.

    Firstly, take criticism behind closed doors because nothing breaks self esteem the way calling out employees in public does.

    Have a one-on-one discussion with the concerned person and make your feedback very specific. Be clear about your expectations and offer guidance on how they can improve.

    Most importantly, give them the chance to explain their side of the story too instead of jumping to conclusions.

    5. Conduct one-on-ones

    Yes, you conduct weekly meetings with the team but how well do you know them on a personal level?

    While you may think this isn’t an important practice to follow, it is one of the best ways to engage with your employees and identify what drives them.

    Conduct a one-one-one session every month and use it to understand how your employees are doing and if they are facing any roadblocks.

    More than reviewing performances, consider this as a relationship building tool to ensure you are aligned with your team and are working towards a shared, common goal.

    6. Build training programs

    In this ever-changing business landscape, it is important to ensure your employees are updated with the latest, relevant skills that can help boost productivity and performance.

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    From imparting technical and soft skills to offering mentoring programs – investing in training and development significantly helps in motivating employees and keeps the learning going.

    While conducting training programs, remember to keep them engaging and interactive. They need to ultimately drive value and reinforce learnings.

    7. Offer growth opportunities

    Every employee envisions a different career path for themselves and demotivation strikes the day they feel they have reached stagnation. As a leader, you need to first be aligned with their goals and offer ample growth opportunities that constantly keeps them engaged and motivated.

    Growth opportunities go beyond just financial growth. While money is a huge driving factor, what makes most people tick is making progress in the company and going up the career ladder.

    Being faced with new challenges and responsibilities lets them push the envelope and broaden their knowledge and skills.

    8. Reward them

    Go beyond verbal recognition and reward employees for their notable work. You can start an incentive program and reward top performers. This ensures increased productivity and brings out the best in them.

    If you don’t have enough budgets for that, you can also reward top performers with movie tickets, a paid vacation or something as simple as giving them the option to work from home.

    Rewarding employees promotes healthy competition and motivates them while meeting business goals.

    9. Encourage team outings

    Employee motivation also stems from how connected the team is. Invest time in team building because a team that works collaboratively is likely to deliver better results.

    From bowling nights to hosting team dinners – team outings are a great way to get to know each other and bond. Assign someone from your team to be in charge of organizing these monthly outings and make sure you join them too!

    10. Involve them

    Involve your employees in decision making because when they are involved, they feel more valued and part of a larger cause.

    Seek your team’s opinion and encourage healthy debates within the team. This boosts employee morale and challenges them to work harder as they know they are in a position to make an impact and will be taken seriously.

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    11. Set meaningful goals

    In the beginning of the financial year, make sure you sit down with each employee to set meaningful and realistic goals. The goal-setting conversation is an extremely crucial one and needs to be a two-way street.

    Whether your employee feels burdened or doesn’t feel inspired enough by the assigned goals – this is the time to come to a consensus and assign goals derived from business objectives that foster individual development while keeping in mind their strengths and weaknesses.

    12. Empower them

    You cannot expect employees to be motivated for long if you micro manage the team and do all the talking.

    Trust your employees and empower them to take decisions. Mistakes will happen but that is the only way they will learn.

    Be open to discussions, delegate effectively, set your expectations and give your team the freedom to do it their way.

    13. Deal with conflict

    A conducive work environment is one wherein there is open communication and trust, but every once in a while, you do encounter people in the team who indulge in office politics and spread negativity.

    How much ever fulfilled an employee feels with their work, gossiping co-workers are bound to ruin it for them. Workplace gossip if not tackled hampers productivity and soils working relations.

    As a responsible leader, you need to maintain a conducive work environment and act as a mediator in such cases. Don’t be the leader who is locked up in his/her cabin and is unaware of what is brewing within the team.

    14. Implement a flexible work culture

    Flexible work cultures are a growing trend and are here to stay.

    Whether it is offering flexible working hours or allowing employees to work from home once in a month – a flexible work culture promotes work-life balance and aids in employee satisfaction.

    It shows that the management is sensitive to employees’ schedules and is thereby highly appreciated.

    15. Host engaging activities

    All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and we cannot agree more! So, why not devote one day of the week to employee engagement activities?

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    From hosting baking competitions to introducing wellness programs in the office – let your team have some fun beyond work. This keeps the environment engaging, light-hearted and interesting, giving them all the more reason to look forward to coming to work.

    16. Maintain a positive work space

    Your employees spend more than half their day at work and in order to keep them energized and motivated, it is important to maintain a positive and inspiring work space.

    Have a recreation center where employees can unwind after a hard day’s work, offer free snacks and beverages and invest in an open office design that promotes socializing and conversations.

    These are simple yet effective ways to create a space your employees will love coming to.

    17. Avoid discrimination

    Any kind of discrimination, be it due to age, gender, religion or race hugely impacts employee motivation and performance.

    In order to avoid such cases, you must lay down rules against discrimination and take strict action against accused employees. Lead by example and make sure no one in the team is a victim of bias and discrimination.

    The bottom line

    Don’t underestimate the power of motivating employees. Understand that the more engaged and motivated they are, the better their performance will be.

    It is also a good idea to send out a survey and get feedback from your employees on the company culture, work environment and their motivation levels.

    This will help you be more aligned with their expectations and further improve your efforts in building a stronger, engaged team.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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