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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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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

    How to Increase Work Productivity: 9 Ground Rules

    We all have those days when completing our assigned tasks seems beyond reach. With the temptation of social media, mobile games, and the internet in general—not to mention the constant bustle of people in the office—it’s easy to fall prey to disruptions and distractions at work.

    So, what can we do about it? How to be productive at work?

    While we don’t have a foolproof system that can completely eliminate disturbances and diversions, we do have 9 ground rules that can be applied to help give your productivity levels a boost.

    Keep reading to find out our tips on work productivity.

    What Does It Mean to Be Productive?

    How to be productive at work?” is the age-old question plaguing employees and employers alike around the world. Regardless of where you work and what you do, everyone is always looking for new ways to be more efficient and effective.

    But what does being productive actually entail?

    Completing more tasks on your list or working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being more productive. It just means you’re more busy, and productivity shouldn’t be confused with busyness.

    Productivity means achieving effective results in as short amount of time as possible, leaving you with more time to enjoy freely.

    It involves working smarter, not harder. It means refining processes, speeding up workflows, and reducing the chances of interruptions.

    Productivity is best achieved when looking at your current way of working, identifying the bottlenecks, flaws, and hindrances, and then finding ways to improve.

    9 Ground Rules on How to Be Productive at Work

    1. Avoid Multitasking

    Multitasking can give the impression that more tasks can be accomplished as you’re doing multiple things at once. However, the opposite is true.

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    Research has shown that attempting to do several things at the same time takes a toll on productivity and that shifting between tasks can cost up to 40 percent of someone’s time.[1] That’s because your focus and concentration is constantly hindered due to having to switch between tasks.

    If you have a lot of tasks on your plate, determine your priorities and allocate enough time for each task. That way you can work on what’s urgent first and have enough time to complete the rest of your tasks.

    2. Turn off Notifications

    According to a Gallup poll, more than 50 percent of US smartphone owners admit to checking their phones a few times an hour.[2]

    Switching off your phone—or at least your notifications—during work hours is a good way to prevent you from checking your phone all the time.

    The same applies to your computer. If you have the privilege of accessing social media on your work desktop, switch off the notifications on there.

    Another good tip is to logout from your social media accounts. Therefore when you feel the urge to check it, you might be swayed because your page isn’t so easily accessible.

    3. Manage Interruptions

    There are certain disruptions in the office that are unavoidable such as your manager requesting a quick meeting or your colleague asking for assistance. In order to deal with this, your best approach is to know how to handle interruptions like a pro.

    Be proactive and inform the people around you of your need to focus. Turn your status on as “busy/unavailable” on your work chat app.

    If you’re on a deadline, let your colleagues know that you need to concentrate and would really appreciate not being interrupted for the moment, or even work from home if that’s a feasible option for you.

    By anticipating and having a plan in place to manage them, this will minimize your chances of being affected by interruptions.

    4. Eat the Frog

    Mark Twain once famously said that:

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    “if it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

    What this basically means is that you should get your biggest, most urgent task out of the way first.

    We all have that big, important task that we don’t want to do but know we have to do because it holds the biggest consequence if we don’t complete it.

    Eat the frog is a productivity technique that encourages you to do your most important, most undesirable task first. Completing this particular task before anything else will give you a huge sense of accomplishment. It will set the ball rolling for the rest of the day and motivate you to eagerly complete your other tasks.

    5. Cut Down on Meetings

    Meetings can use up a lot of time, which is time that can be used to do something useful.

    You have to wait for everyone to arrive, then after the pleasantries are out of the way, you can finally get stuck into it. And sometimes, it may take a whole hour to iron out one single issue.

    The alternative? Don’t arrange a meeting at all. You’ll be surprised at how many things can be resolved through an email or a quick phone call.

    But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate meetings altogether. There are certain circumstances where face-to-face discussions and negotiations are still necessary. Just make sure you weigh up the options prior.

    If it’s just information sharing, you’re probably better off sending an email; but if brainstorming or in-depth discussion is required, then an in-person meeting would be best.

    6. Utilize Tools

    Having the right tools to work with is crucial as you’re only really as good as the resources you have at your disposal. Not only will you be able to complete tasks as efficiently as possible, but they can streamline processes. Said processes are essential to a business as they manage tasks, keep employees connected, and hold important data.

    If you’re the manager or business owner, ensure your team has the right tools in place.

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    And if you’re an employee and think the tools you currently have to work with aren’t quite up to par, let your manager know. A good team leader understands the significance of having the right tools and how it can impact employee productivity.

    Some examples of tools that could be used:

    Communication
    • Slack for team chat and collaboration.
    • Samepage for video conference software.
    • Zendesk for customer service engagement.
    Task Management
    • Zenkit for task and project collaboration.
    • Wunderlist for listing your to-do’s.
    • Wekan for an open source option.
    Database Management
    Time Tracking
    • Clockify for a free tracker.
    • TMetric for workspace integrations.
    • TimeCamp for attendance and productivity monitoring.

    You can also take a look at these Top 10 Productivity Tools to Help You Achieve 10x More in Less Time.

    7. Declutter and Organize

    Having a disorganized and cluttered workspace can limit your ability to focus. According to researchers, physical clutter can negatively impact your ability to concentrate and take in information.[3] Which is why keeping your work environment well ordered and clutter-free is important.

    Ensure you have your own system of organization so you know what to do when the paperwork starts to pile up.

    Being organized will also ensure that you know where to find the appropriate stationery, tools, or documents when you need it. A US study reveals that the average worker can waste up to one week a year looking for misplaced items.[4]

    Here’s a useful guide to help you declutter and organize: How to Declutter Your Life and Reduce Stress (The Ultimate Guide)

    8. Take Breaks

    Taking regular breaks is essential for maintaining productivity at work. Working in front of a computer can lead to a sedentary lifestyle which can place you at a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Even a 30 second microbreak can increase your productivity levels up to 30 percent.

    As well as your physical health, breaks are also crucial for your mental and emotional wellbeing. That’s because your brain is like a muscle, the more it works without a break, the easier it is for it to get worn out.

    Ensuring you actually take your breaks can prevent you from suffering from decision fatigue. It can also help boost creativity.

    Take a look at this article and learn why you should start scheduling time for breaks: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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    9. Drink Water

    Although we know we should, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during the working day.

    Many of us turn to tea or coffee for the caffeine hit to keep us going. However, like taking breaks, drinking water is essential for maintaining productivity levels at work. It’s simple and effective.

    Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration and also headaches, tiredness, and weight gain.

    A good tip to avoid dehydration is to keep a water bottle at your desk as it can serve as a reminder to constantly drink water.

    If you find the taste of water a little bland, add some fruit such as cucumber or lemon to give it a better taste.

    You can also get more ideas on how to drink more water here: How to Drink More Water (and Why You Should)

    The Bottom Line

    The preceding 9 ground rules on work productivity aren’t the be-all, end-all. You and the company you work for may have other tips on how productivity is best increased and maintained.

    After all, it’s something that can be perceived differently depending on the exact job and work environment.

    In saying that, however, the 9 ground rules serve as a good foundation for anyone finding themselves succumbing to disruption and distraction, and are looking for ways to overcome them.

    A good tip to keep in mind is that change doesn’t happen overnight. Start small and be consistent. If you slip up, just dust yourself off and try again.

    Developing habits happens gradually, so as long as you keep up with it, you’ll soon start to notice the changes you’ve been making and eventually enjoy the fruits of your labor.

    More About Boosting Productivity

    Featured photo credit: Cathryn Lavery via unsplash.com

    Reference

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