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Great Places to Work

Right now, lots of us are happy just to get a paycheck that doesn’t bounce. But there are dozens of companies in Minnesota that offer employees something more, from generous retirement plans and cool office environs to subsidized child-care and no-cost health care. Here, 48 companies that treat their employees like customers.

Great Places to Work
Photo by Darrell Eager

(page 2 of 5)



600 Minnesota employees
The folks at Aveda are known for their love of Mother Earth: The company’s products are packed with herbal essences and things like beeswax  and black tea. So it probably won’t surprise you that last fall, employees scurrying through the halls at headquarters hardly blinked when they encountered a small table brimming with free produce: tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and gourds.

The bounty was, in fact, grown by wee agrarians from the Aveda Child’s Garden, the company’s on-site daycare program. “Even in winter, we spend time outside,” says program director Lorie Dahlheimer. “In nice weather, we might be outside for up to three hours.” Thirty-six kids are currently enrolled in the program, which is subsidized by the company and open to kids ranging in age from 6 weeks to 4 years. Dahlheimer says the program is based on the Waldorf School model, emphasizing imaginative play and close interaction with the natural world. “I was excited about that philosophy,” says Lisa Benevento, a 10-year Aveda employee who has a daughter in the program. Kids participate in company celebrations, Benevento notes: They go trick-or-treating through the offices on Halloween, or sing for workers’ anniversaries. Benevento also appreciates the round-table discussions on parenting issues that the school sponsors. Having child-care on-site at work also means having one less stop during the morning and evening commute, and Benevento says she has stopped by during the day to administer medicines for ear infections or attend to other child-related matters. “Sometimes,” she adds, “it’s fun just to peek through the window and see what they’re doing.”


7,800 Minnesota employees
In addition to providing market-rate child-care at both its world headquarters in Fridley and its new facility in Moundsview, the medical-devices manufacturer offers parents emergency backup care when regular child-care services are unavailable or a kid gets sick.



30,000 Minnesota employees
New moms can take advantage of Target’s flextime policies and job-sharing opportunities, as well as compressed schedules. Employees have access to discounted rates on child-care, and, in cases of emer-gency, have access to low-cost backup child-care at Bright Horizons Child Care in Minneapolis. A maternity support program provides moms with information on exercise plans, screenings, childbirth classes, and home baby care, and even includes two follow-up screenings with OB nurses and tests for postpartum depression. Target is definitely a family-friendly company, says Heather Christensen, who works in the communications department in downtown Minneapolis: “Most of the people around me have kids, and as I walk through the hall, I see so many other pregnant women that I’m pretty sure that [mindset] isn’t going to change anytime soon.” And dads aren’t left out of the picture either: They can take up to 16 weeks paternity leave (without pay) after a birth or adoption.

Goff & Howard

St. Paul
14 Minnesota employees
This small public-affairs and public-relations firm offers 12 weeks of paid maternity leave (nearly double the standard) and allow moms and dads to bring kids to work when daycare is unavailable.

Leonard Street & Deinard

440 Minnesota employees
Federal law ensures that women get six weeks paid maternity leave when they have a child. But it takes a forward-thinking law firm, like this one, to offer dads and adoptive parents the same treatment.


C.H. Robinson Worldwide

Eden Prairie
1,500 Minnesota employees
Retirement planners are always urging workers to think about tomorrow—as if today’s bills and financial worries weren’t already piling up. But employees at C.H. Robinson, a transportation- and logistics-services provider, have some whopping incentives to salt away a portion of their paychecks. First off, the company offers a decent 401(k) plan, matching employee contributions dollar for dollar (capped at 4 percent of compensation). All employees are eligible for enrollment within less than two months of starting on the job, and company managers feel so passionate about the program, says Laura Gillund, vice president of human resources, that they auto-enroll employees in the program at the maximum level. “We feel like if we’re going to match the money for your savings, you shouldn’t leave the dollars on the table,” says Gillund. (Of course, she adds, workers can opt out if they choose.)

But what puts Robinson’s retirement plan over the top is the company’s profit-sharing plan. At year’s end, depending on earnings, the company typically puts the equivalent of almost 6 percent of a worker’s compensation into his or her retirement account. In 2006 and 2007, the amount was 7 percent; and in 2005, the windfall was an eye-popping 8 percent. That’s a growth plan even your retirement planner would envy.

Oppenheimer Wolff Donnelly

225 Minnesota employees
The firm contributes an amount equaling roughly 7 percent of salary to staff-chosen retirement plans. And if employees opt to set up a 401(k) in addition, the firm does a limited-percentage match of 50 cents on the dollar.


St. Paul
2,000 Minnesota employees
Squirrel away 6 percent of your salary in the company’s 401(k) plan and get a dollar-for-dollar match—among the most generous matches given by large companies.

Comments may be edited for length, clarity, or appropriateness.

Old to new | New to old
Dec 19, 2008 11:37 am
 Posted by  Ohtheirony

Poor timing, don't you think? This article appears at Minnesota companies are shedding jobs. "my bad," Minnesota Monthly.

Jan 8, 2009 10:49 am
 Posted by  gshetzer

Mystic Lake may be a 'great' place to work for healthcare but for health it is one of the worst. They still allow smoking almost everywhere in the casino, exposing both guests and employees to the dangers of second hand smoke. Blackjack dealers especially are inundated with smoke constantly from players sitting just three feet away. Many dealers have high blood pressure and breathing problems directly associated with this smoke.

Feb 13, 2009 09:23 am
 Posted by  Unforgettable

Mystic Lake Casino is not a good place to work. I worked there for over 10 years and was let go when I was on a medical leave of absence. The clinics that are there were just put in place about 2 years ago. The doctors that are in these clinics are not really doctors. They are Physicians assistants. They are not there looking out for the employee's health. They are there for the companies benefit. Come on, they get paid to make sure an employee is able to work even if you have a serious health problem. The older you get and the longer you are employed there, the more likely you are to get let go because you start costing them money. They will search for ways to get rid of someone. Articles like this should be investigated more thoroughly before being published. On paper anything can sound good. You should talk to the people that are really involved.

Mar 9, 2009 02:19 am
 Posted by  Sure

I love DQ,it's very delicious.I want to know all the things about DQ .

Jun 17, 2009 06:28 am
 Posted by  chris

Hi,my name is Chris,I have been an employee (shift leader)at my local DQ for over 7 years now and i have to say that it is one of the best jobs i have ever had. I have 3 kids of my own and they all love it too. I have meet some really great people working here,the kids are really hard working and the enviroment is always fun for them too.Everyone that comes in is almost an everyday costomer(which means we are doing something right).I would like to think that we make really good products also.We take PRIDE in our work at our DQ. Thanks sincerely,a long tome worker.

Sep 1, 2009 06:02 pm
 Posted by  Tim

To "Unforgetable"- I can't believe that you are that ignorant to call PAs "not really Doctors" as if they took some untrained individual off the street, and to complain about a no-cost health care related benefit that is provided to the employees. "They get paid to make sure an employee is able to work even if you have a serious health problem"??!!. I guess the use of the verb "worked" in your second sentence means you were let go... go figure.

To "Ohtheirony"- Not everyone has lost their job, and this article is an excellent research tool for those that are looking for work if they have ;)


A currently unemployed Human Resources Professional who lost his job due to an acquisition of the company for which he worked.

Dec 4, 2010 04:56 pm
 Posted by  Plain Jane

Mystic Lake - Worse place I have ever worked in my life - ah....why don't you ask the real employees next time and not the PR person for the companies. I would dig sewers before going back there.

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