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What Makes "Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For" so Great?

Each year, Fortune partners with the Great Place to Work Institute to survey employees at hundreds of corporate America’s top firms to determine which companies will be named as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. The most recent list was released mid-January, 2014 and included Great Game Hall of Fame winner, Hilcorp Energy.

So what does make these 100 companies so great? Though we encourage you to read the full list yourself, we’ve reviewed the profiles for each of the Best Companies 2014 list to summarize the top 10 signs of greatness:

  1. Time off. In addition to generous amounts of vacation time and flexible hours, many of the Companies offered employees sabbatical opportunities and paid days off to give back to their community.
  2. Equality & Diversity. Appearing on the list several times were nods to companies who’d made strides in diversifying their workforce - specifically in relation to gender - and were avid supporters of equal rights outside of the workplace.
  3. Ownership & Stock Options. Many companies listed Employee Stock Ownership Programs or various stock options as valuable incentives offered to employees.
  4. Trips & Travel. Be it for on-site training or a group celebration, the Best Companies like to get their employees out of the office. Though some sent employees on exclusive shopping-sprees or tropical locations (like a day-trip to the Bahamas), others chose more practical outings such as sending employees to other company locations for hands-on training.
  5. Security. Phenomenal growth patterns, low turnover rates and lack of layoffs were common characteristics of 2014’s Best Companies. Twenty-four of the companies are planning to fill 1,000 or more jobs in the coming year. Thirty-two of the 100 companies had a turnover rate of 5% or less while several others boasted exceptional employee tenures.
  6. Employee Assistance. Home loans, relocation services, and tuition programs are among the types of discounted and forgivable assistance some of the Best Companies offer associates, many even offering tuition programs for employees and their children.
  7. Teamwork. For several companies that made the list, a level playing field was one of the cultural elements that employees valued. “Field-levelers” in these companies included a more even pay scale between hourly and salary employees, the elimination of job titles or open office space where managers worked work amongst other employees rather than being secluded in the corner office.
  8. Health & Wellness. It’s no surprise that an excellent healthcare plan appeared on the list several times. However, it was the innovative wellness programs that were eye-catching. While several of the Best Companies offer on-campus fitness facilities, others went a step further to provide classes and activities to relieve stress or better prepare employees for a day’s work.
  9. Company Reputation. For some of the Best Companies, it wasn’t the long list of perks that were acknowledged when describing what made the company “great”, but rather the pride employees took in a job-well-done or the extreme commitment associates showed to customer service. Understandably, enjoying what you do or having passion for your company’s product or service is a huge plus.
  10. Big-time Rewards. For some of the Best Companies, it’s all about the rewards. Though cash bonuses were mentioned a few times, thoughtful gifts and workplace renovations were some of the more unique rewards earned by employees.

Of course, these are just some of the most common perks and benefits we found when reviewing the 2014 Best Companies list; which of these do you think employees at your company would value most? Does your company have a unique way of making your work environment “great?” If so, share your thoughts in the Comments area below.

Topics: Bonus Plans, Employee Ownership, Rewards and Recognition

The Great Game Team

About The Great Game of Business

Our approach to running a company was developed to help close one of the biggest gaps in business: the gap between managers and employees. We call our open-book approach The Great Game of Business. What lies at the heart of The Game is a very simple proposition: The best, most efficient, most profitable way to operate a business is to give everybody in the company a voice in saying how the company is run and a stake in the outcome. Let us teach you how to develop a culture of ownership, where employees think, act and feel like owners.