By Brandon Southward
January 16, 2014

From ESOPs, onsite fitness centers and tuition reimbursement to vacation prizes, here are some of the ways eight companies have created great workplaces — and why they’re debuting as one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.

1. Sheetz


2014 Best Companies rank: 87
Number of employees: 13,992
Annual revenue: $6.3 billion

The convenience store chain values longevity and rewards staff for years on the job. Employee service award recipients are recognized for five-year milestones with a two-day stay at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania. They can bring a guest and enjoy bingo, fishing, golfing and horseback riding, and at night are treated to presentations from top executives and entertained by comedians, such as Lewis Black. Employees with 20 or more years of service receive two extra days with meals, drinks and resort activities included. Every Sheetz employee who clocks 1,000 hours in a calendar year becomes an owner of the company through its stock ownership plan. Currently, 9% of the company is owned by employees.

2. WellStar Health System


2014 Best Companies rank: 39
Number of employees: 11,347
Annual revenue: $1.5 billion

The not-for-profit medical care provider makes staying healthy easier and rewarding for employees. WellStar’s state-of-the art fitness center, called Health Place, is available to all team members for reduced monthly dues — employees receive additional reimbursement for using it on a regular basis. The facilities boast a six-lane pool, indoor and outdoor tracks, massage therapy, nutrition counseling and an aerobics studio. Employees who earn 300 points during the HealthStart Wellness program receive $300. WellStar has employees’ children covered as well, with onsite childcare centers that provide school closing and summer camp programs for kids up to age 12.

3. Credit Acceptance

Courtesy: credit acceptance

2014 Best Companies rank: 52
Number of employees: 1,304
Annual revenue: $609 million

The Detroit-area auto finance company’s motto “We Change Lives” begins with investment in the happiness of their employees. In 2012 Credit Acceptance disbursed $23,000 to 13 team members who decided to go to school to expand their skills. The company also reimbursed all regular full-time team members for tuition expenses up to $3,000 per year if they choose to pursue a degree or take college courses. The company also likes to spread a little holiday cheer in the form of annual bonuses. Full-time team members receive $2 per week multiplied by the number of weeks since their hire date, while part-time team members get $1 per week. In 2012, the company paid an average of $343 per team member in holiday bonuses.

4. Cheesecake Factory

Courtesy: the cheesecake factory

2014 Best Companies rank: 92
Number of employees: 33,618
Annual revenue: $1.8 billion

The full-service restaurant chain prides itself on giving back to local communities. The company partners with Feeding America, the hunger-relief charity, to help support local food banks. Since 2008, the Cheesecake Factory has donated more than two million dollars through their “25 cents a slice” program. On National Cheesecake Day (July 30), for every slice of a featured cheesecake it sells, 25 cents is donated to the charity. Acts of kindness extend to eligible staff, who can request up to three paid days of bereavement leave and receive their full salary during any period of jury duty between one to five workdays every 12 months.

5. Hyland

Courtesy: Hyland

2014 Best Companies rank: 93
Number of employees: 1,660
Annual revenue: $236.7 million

Once a week there’s hooting and hollering in the atrium of the Ohio-based software maker during its Monday morning meetings. Employees gather to spin a prize wheel for countless gift cards, season passes to Cedar Point amusement park, an iPad or sometimes round trip airfare for two. The “players of the week” are nominated by managers, peers, and customers. The criteria are based on how well the employee embodies Hyland’s “Sweet Sixteen” code of conduct.

6. Hyatt Hotels

Courtesy: Hyatt

2014 Best Companies rank: 95
Number of employees: 75,008
Annual revenue: $3.9 billion

Diversity and competition serve as the cultural backbone of the global hotel chain. Hyatt (H) says it’s the first major hotel company to offer domestic partners benefits, and also offers health care coverage for gender reassignment surgeries. Women@Hyatt is a networking group aimed at increasing the number of female leaders at the company. Hyatt also sponsors a week-long Hyatt/Historically Black Colleges and Universities summer bridge program for high school students. Hyatt’s corporate offices sponsor competitions that match two hotels against one another. The hotel with the most improved service score wins the challenge and advances to the next round. In the three years of the game, more than $140,000 in cash prizes have been awarded.

7. Kiewit

Courtesy: kiewit

2014 Best Companies rank: 99
Number of employees: 20,989
Annual revenue: $11.2 billion

This construction company spends more than $60 million a year on training, nearly six times the industry average, with on-the-job training for everything from ethics and compliance to management and leadership. Employees move through five levels during their time with the company, ranging from a Level 100: Kiewit Culture School Field Supervisor School, to a Level 500: Executive Leadership Development Program. Workers who choose to take college courses or pursue a degree are reimbursed up to $5,250 a year in tuition costs.

8. Cooley

Courtesy: Cooley

2014 Best Companies rank: 100
Number of employees: 1,513
Annual revenue: $617 million

New staff members hold meetings with their supervisor during their first week to lay out 30-60-90 plans for their integration into this Palo Alto-based law firm. An internal blog ThePulse@Cooley discusses daily events, with an entire section dedicated to community and culture, which include monthly coffee klatches and beer and pizza happy hours. “Happiness” committees meet for group activities, and if you enjoy clubs, some Cooley offices host book swaps or knitting groups. A traffic support group at Cooley’s L.A. office meets so staff can commiserate over long commutes and brainstorm travel alternatives.


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