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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 3 of 5)



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?


Harbinger Partners

St. Paul
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

Golden Valley
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.


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.

Mortenson Construction

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.


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.

RSM McGladrey

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.

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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