The best companies to work for
Attracting and retaining stellar people is a perennial problem—which has been exacerbated by the pandemic—for family businesses. Rather than looking at the typical Fortune 500 list of the wealthiest companies, it is instructive to check its less known but arguably more salient roster of 100 best companies to work for, from surveys of employees themselves.
Employee well-being is a top priority, as exemplified by first-placer Cisco, which partners with health groups to provide free online therapy for mental and physical health, coaching employees on stress management, nutrition, sleep and so on.
In the early days of the pandemic, Cisco gave everyone an additional free paid vacation day for them to focus on mental health. The company increased the number of days in 2021 and added more this year.
No wonder a whopping 98 percent of employees surveyed say they are proud to work at Cisco.
Physical health, of course, is equally integral now. Rocket Companies pays for all health care expenses of employees—100 percent of all costs.
Flexibility is key to employee satisfaction, as evidenced by third-placer Wegmans Food Markets, a family grocery business that has lasted for more than a century.
Many grocery personnel are front-liners, but Wegmans’ flexible scheduling policy proves that hybrid arrangements can work well. Wegmans’ scholarship program also motivates employees to finish school.
Salesforce promotes schedule flexibility as well and strives for equality in pay as much as possible.
American Express is “an outlier among the major financial firms,” says Fortune, but made it to the list because it has not mandated onsite work for employees and “more than 40 percent [of employees] plan to stay remote.”
Financial company Capital One has made Mondays and Fridays virtual work days for everyone, even as it encourages (and not requires) people to go onsite for three days, now that most people are vaccinated.
The most impressive online setup is by global technology company Accenture, designed for employees to “meet, collaborate and learn.” Using 3D, augmented reality and virtual reality technologies, the company strives to create immersive work environments that bring out the best in their people.
Perks don’t have to be high-tech though—in fact, we all know that paid holidays make employees happy. Last December 2021, technology hardware company Nvidia gave its people the entire Christmas week off and this year, everyone receives two free scheduled days off every quarter.
David Weekley Homes takes a page from the academe. Workers with at least 10 years of service can apply for sabbaticals as long as six weeks, plus grants for travel and continuing education. Aside from a generous pension plan, the company also offers stock ownership, profit sharing, new home discounts for employees and scholarships for their children.
The pandemic exponentially increased everyone’s screen time and doctors have long warned against the health risks of indiscriminate exposure. Companies in other stressful fields, such as law, now recognize the importance of regularly stepping away from the screen.
But what’s the use of taking a break if bosses expect employees to still be on call even while on vacation?
Orrick, an international law company, gave staff 40 hours of “unplugged time” last year. “To ensure everyone is able to fully disconnect while on vacation, it made the unplugged time bonus-eligible, so partners and associates don’t need to choose between taking time off and reaching their full earning potential. To mitigate the stress of ‘living at work’ Orrick discourages nonessential internal meetings on Fridays to give employees a chance to catch up so they can avoid working weekends.”
“While COVID-19 has forever changed the way we work, the best businesses are stepping up to support their employees as they navigate uncharted waters,” says Fortune. “Flexibility, diversity and a few extra paid days off go a long way.” INQ
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