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.
(page 3 of 5)
GREAT FOR PROFIT-SHARING
300 Minnesota employees
Every employee at this playground-equipment manufacturer shares in the profits made by the company—a payout that may be a few hundred dollars or a few thousand dollars, depending on the quarter. The quarterly payments vary, but human-resources director Karlye Emerson, says that all told, the installments generally amount to 12 percent of company profits over the course of the year. Additionally, employees have owned 30 percent of the company since 2004—so some workers see an even bigger bump. And did we mention the 50-cents-on-the-dollar matching on 401(k)s, up to 8 percent?
GREAT FOR VACATION
65 Minnesota employees
When an employee’s five-year anniversary rolls around at this information-technology staffing firm in St. Paul, they show their gratitude by sending you on the vacation of your dreams. But don’t expect a couple of leather luggage tags and a hearty “auf Wiedersehen.” Instead, the company throws a party in the departing employee’s honor: If you’ve longed to visit Spain, for example, you’ll be dressed up like a matador, serenaded with all of the positive things clients have said about your work, and then handed a check for $5,000 to blow on your great getaway. And at 10 years, you’ll watch that vacation bonus double to $10,000.
Certes Financial Pros
160 Minnesota employees
This Twin Cities consulting firm offers employees access to five beautiful vacation homes across the country: Catch some surf in Manhattan Beach, California; choose from two sun-baked locations in Florida; hit the slopes in Park City, Utah; or stay closer to home, at an upscale spot on the lakes near Brainerd—all at minimal cost.
GREAT FOR SABBATICALS
Foley & Mansfield
134 Minnesota employees
What kind of workplace sends its employees packing for 90 days and still expects them to come back? Here’s one. As a way to rejuvenate its often-overworked attorneys, the law firm Foley & Mansfield requires all partners to take a three-month paid sabbatical after eight years of service. Of course, some expectations remain: The lawyers have to arrange for coworkers to handle details related to ongoing cases, but for the most part, sabbatical takers are encouraged to have no work-related contact with the firm. Partners are free to use their time however they choose, whether it’s spent vacationing or volunteering. In addition to arranging a family vacation, for example, partner Stephen Wilson spent time teaching English to children in Peru and writing a book about his parents’ World War II experiences.
460 Minnesota employees
Mortenson allows exempt, salaried team members to take a portion of unused paid time off every year and put it into a sabbatical bank. Once every five years, a team member can use that saved time to take up to eight weeks of paid sabbatical.
GREAT FOR FLEXIBLE SCHEDULES
Best Buy Corporate
4,500 Minnesota employees
It’s 1:30, and after a large lunch with a client, you’ve hit a wall—full in the stomach and dead in the head. If you work at Best Buy’s corporate headquarters, you needn’t waste time cleaning out your purse or sorting
e-mails to pass the afternoon. You can go spend an hour shopping for groceries. Or hit the gym. If you have the energy, you can go back to work. Better yet, if you’re completely wiped out, just call it a day.
It sounds completely contradictory to what we consider the standard workweek—nowhere close to 9 to 5. But Best Buy has found their Results-Only Working Environment—a program that 80 percent of corporate employees utilize—has improved retention rates and boosted productivity since the program began in 2004. “It’s a definite culture shift because it forces managers to have a lot more trust in employees,” says Dawn Bryant, a Best Buy spokesperson. “But we have to be clear on the goals we set for employees. They are measured by the work they accomplished.” She says this policy has appealed to all ages and all genders—one man in human resources prefers to flex his hours so he can hunt and fish on weekdays. “To me, it means that I don’t have to feel guilty about being brain dead and needing to leave work for a while,” Bryant says.
720 Minnesota employees
This accounting company spent four years reviewing its policies to create flex year, a program where employees can choose to work full-time for part of the year and then enjoy a season off, getting a pro-rated salary and full benefits year round. (Think teachers’ schedules for number crunchers.)
Gray Plant Mooty
343 Minnesota employees
The Minneapolis-based law firm has a significant number of its administrative assistants that take advantage of its job-share program. Two employees split the 37-and-a-half-hour workweeks, so one employee works 60 percent of the hours and the other works 40 percent of the time, for example. “It forces people to communicate better and be conscious of each other,” says human-resources director Jodi Schmidt.