Only 13 companies have reappeared on Fortune’s Best Companies list every year since it began in 1998. By consistently investing in employees’ health and well-being to create stellar workplaces, these employers have become perennial Hall of Famers. Meet Fortune’s 100 Best Companies All Stars.
Workers at the North Carolina-based software analytics company can depend on their employers to really take care of them. Since 1984 SAS has operated a health care center, which offers free, comprehensive primary care service to employees and their families. Ninety percent of employees at headquarters take advantage of it, and half of employees consider the center their main source of primary care.
The family-run grocery chain enlisted its own pharmacists to launch a wholesale health-kick: so far, 89 percent of store employees have checked their blood pressure through the company, and nearly 3,000 employees are working directly with a pharmacist to better their results. Operating chief Jack DePeters keeps an ear to the ground with a q-and-a blog, which generates hundreds of submissions, while the company maintains a strong track record of promoting from within its ranks.
“Make money and have fun” is an oft-repeated company objective at the manufacturer of Gore-Tex fabrics and other advanced products. Gore dispatches with traditional hierarchy and titles in favor of small teams and direct communication among employees. Many plants have dedicated to ‘fun committees’ to plan activities like Scrabble tournaments, scavenger hunts and Thanksgiving potlucks. Leaders are encouraged to surprise employees when announcing profit shares.
The natural and organic food grocer Whole Foods (WFM) goes to great lengths to rally employees around its mission of selling healthy food. A four-day academy devoted to “conscious leadership” is intended to reach all senior leaders by 2015. The company also sponsors a total health immersion program for employees, and offers additional store discounts (on top of the standard 20 percent) based on meeting biometric criteria for things like cholesterol and smoking.
Pay isn’t the only reward for logging long hours at this top Wall Street firm. Goldman Sachs (GS) employees enjoy on-site childcare, fitness centers, medical attention and no-fee ATMs. The firm’s LEED-certified, architectural jewel of a headquarters speaks to a commitment to be carbon neutral across all facilities by 2020. And it maintains a thick portfolio of philanthropic commitments — including the advancement of veterans, women, and small business owners in the marketplace.
It’s perhaps no surprise that one of the world’s leading IT firms leverages technology to help employees get ahead in their careers. Cisco (CSCO) workers can request and give feedback throughout the year via a job performance portal. An online learning and development community offers access to educational materials and tasks, which employees can rate afterwards. An e-mentoring platform pairs employees at all levels for either short- or long-term mentoring relationships.
In 2013 the Marriott family and corporation lost one of their own, with the death of Stephen Garff Marriott, executive vice president of company culture, at age 54. Though the son of executive chairman and former CEO Bill Marriott suffered from a rare muscular disorder that eventually caused him to become blind and deaf, he had worked in the family business since he was 16. Condolences poured in from nearly 1,300 Marriott (MAR) employees, franchisees, and owners for an executive known for his warm phone calls and mentorship.
Outdoor stewardship is a dominant theme at the recreational equipment co-op that in 2013 saw CEO Sally Jewell leave to join President Obama’s cabinet as Secretary of the Interior. The company regularly issues grant support to local nonprofits, and each store reports on the volunteer activities it gets involved in. Recent projects have included restoring or building trails in the San Francisco Bay Area, Atlanta, and Castleton, Indiana. Employees are also prone to sharing ideas with one another about hikes, runs, and bike rides.
Employee-owned Publix spreads the wealth through a stock ownership plan for both full- and part-time employees, in addition to generous 401(k) matches and holiday bonuses. Part-timers are also eligible for the same health coverage as full-time associates (the majority of the cost is covered by the company), and can take advantage of college tuition reimbursements up to $9,000.
At a company where 33% of employees are Hispanic or Latino, TD offers bilingual language training in both English and Spanish, while a company diversity council spearheads resource groups, and half of new interns are hired from diverse backgrounds. Additionally, starting from day one, all employees have access to an emergency fund that’s made up entirely of employee-donated vacation time and cash contributions.
Microsoft (MSFT) employees may be waiting with baited breath to find out who their next leader will be — since CEO Steve Ballmer announced his retirement in August — but luckily the company has built a legacy of perks and rewards. In recent years more than 90 percent of employees have been eligible for both performance-based bonuses and stock awards. The company provides a free counseling and referral service, available 24-7. Over the past 30 years, Microsoft’s campaign to match employee giving with time, money and software has doled out more than $1 billion.
Nordstrom (JWN) isn’t only using tech to change the way it connects with customers, but with new talent and employees too. The retailer’s recruiting website NordstromInnovationLab.com stresses the startup atmosphere on the IT team. Meanwhile, in-store employees are encouraged to be creative with social media outlets like Twitter (TWTR) and Pinterest. Additionally, a Millenial Advisory Council allows younger employees (ages 25 to 34) from across divisions share ideas and opinions, and learn about opportunities for career advancement.
Hotel staff enjoy amenities, too — like window-filled laundry facilities that overlook Puget Sound in Seattle, and complimentary room stays after just six months of full-time employment. Career development programs include pairing new mangers with a mentor their first year on the job, and providing specialized English classes to non-native speakers. For employees who aren’t covered by a collective bargaining agreement, the hotelier also offers an optional contract, which binds the company to a dispute resolution process and to a ‘no fault’ separation pay policy.