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Fifty best small and medium companies to work for in America
June 20, 2005
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Alexandria, Va. -- Software company Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI) of Exton, Pa., and biotech firm Genencor International of Palo Alto, Calif., have respectively been named the number one "Best Small & Medium Companies to Work for in America." This is the second annual release of the list recognizing the top 25 small companies (50-250 employees) and the top 25 medium companies (251-999 employees) to work for in America.

The rankings were released by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) during the SHRM 57th Annual Conference & Exposition in San Diego. The companies were selected and ranked by the Great Place to Work Institute (GPTW). The list and related stories appear in the July 2005 HR Magazine and at http://www.shrm.org/hrmagazine.

"Too often, we hear that large companies have the advantage in the war for talent because they have more resources," said SHRM President and CEO Susan R. Meisinger, SPHR. "But these companies understand that employees are their competitive edge. The way these companies invest in employees should inspire every organization."

Companies on this list are financially successful and provide generous salaries, benefits packages, employee ownership options and bonuses. As a result, they have motivated employees at the top of their game -- contributing to some of the most successful small businesses in their industries with high profit and low turnover. Number 24 on the medium list, BMW Financial Services CEO John Christman told HR Magazine, "Simply put, this is a business model that works for all involved."

The companies on this list foster open, creative, respectful workplaces where employees feel energized and encouraged to be vested in the success of the business. Employees share in the financial success of their companies and are well compensated, provided with exceptional benefits packages, and recognized financially for meeting and exceeding company goals. Number 4 on the medium list, Hypertherm, Inc, for example, extends a multimillion dollar employee stock ownership program and pays annual profit-sharing bonuses that have averaged 19 percent of base pay over the past five years.

Top Five Small Companies

How do you beat free employee meals, generous pay and benefits, and a friendly yet fast-paced work environment? You don't. For the second year in a row, AGI is the top small company to work for.

AGI develops mission-critical software that helps analyze and visualize data from missiles, jets, rockets and satellites for commercial and military aerospace uses, including NASA's space shuttle. The fast-paced company, which grew its employee base by 39 percent last year, still reflects the nurturing, supportive atmosphere that made it top the list last year. The company serves daily breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and its kitchens offer free snacks and drinks. AGI also offers a laundry room with free washers and dryers. They also invest in developing their staff through formal training and other creative development opportunities. CEO and cofounder Paul Graziani justifies the generous perks by pointing to the employees' productivity and revenue increases.

Earning the number two spot is San Francisco's Triage Consulting Group. This health care consulting company involves its employees at every organizational level by allowing "squads" of employees representing diverse cross-sections of the company to make operating decisions. Insomniac Games Inc. of Burbank, Calif., holds the number three spot and has given bonuses as large as 50 percent of base pay and offers facilities for basketball, volleyball, putting greens, and a gym for employees to unwind. Out of Cincinnati, Ohio, advertising firm Empower MediaMarketing Inc., is number four on the list. This firm recognizes its employees with Employee Appreciation days, sponsored happy hours, and personalized notes of appreciation to valued employees. Number five of the list is advertising firm archer>malmo of Memphis, Tenn. This company's turnover rate is less than the industry average. Employees have monthly chats with the president and enjoy such perks as on-site yoga and monthly massages.

"The most successful companies in today's increasingly competitive business climate will be those that create environments with the most highly motivated and innovative employees who cooperate well with each other," said Robert Levering, cofounder of the Great Place to Work® Institute. "This only happens in companies where there is a high level of trust, which is what distinguishes these winning companies."

Top Five Medium Companies

The number one medium company is Genencor International, a biotechnology company, of Palo Alto, Calif. In a highly competitive field, scientists feel that Genencor offers an ideal balance of mentoring and assistance with freedom to experiment. Genencor knows that there is a high demand for the talent, skills and expertise that their scientists possess. The HR team regularly pools employees to find out which benefits they most appreciate and adjust their benefits to fit employee needs. The "Zyne and Dime" cafeteria, for example, is a direct result of listening to employee's requests. On Friday afternoon, employees meet in the cafeteria for a company social hour. Genencor also offers an extensive number of Genencor-sponsored clubs, including a band, yoga classes, a ski club, and cooking classes, tailored to employee's interests.

ACUITY, A Mutual Insurance Company in Sheboygan, Wis., ranks number two on the medium company list. With a 2 percent turnover rate, employees at ACUITY stay happy by working out in their on-site gym and taking their families fishing at the company pond. The number three company is Sage Products, Inc., out of Cary, Ill. This medical company has never gone through layoffs in their 34 year history and offers generous bonuses and a 100 percent company match, up to 10 percent of salary, that employees contribute to their 401(k)s. Manufacturing company, Hypertherm, Inc. of Hanover N.H. is number four on the list in part due to their profit-sharing payouts which have averaged 18 percent of base pay for the past five years. The company routinely implements more than 70 percent of the 3,000 employee suggestions received each year. The number five company is an advertising services company in Lakewood, Colo. -- the Integer Group Denver. They reward employees with tokens for a vending machine that dispenses candy wrapped in gift certificates.

"When employees are recognized as essential components in organizational success, a wonderful thing happens -- businesses thrive," said Meisinger. "We are proud to recognize the employers on this list and are impressed by the way these companies recognize their employees every day." 

2005 Best Small & Medium Companies to Work for in America

     25 Best Small Companies
     1.  Analytical Graphics Inc., Exton, PA
     2.  Triage Consulting Group, San Francisco, CA
     3.  Insomniac Games, Inc., Burbank, CA
     4.  Empower MediaMarketing, Inc., Cincinnati, OH
     5.  archer>malmo, Memphis, TN
     6.  Root Learning Inc., Maumee, OH
     7.  Northeast Delta Dental, Concord, NH
     8.  Pacific Service Credit Union, Walnut Creek, CA
     9.  Kahler Slater, Milwaukee, WI
     10. Landrum Human Resources Company, Pensacola, FL
     11. Ditech Communications Corporation, Mountain View, CA
     12. ESP Pharma, Inc., Edison, NJ
     13. Navigator Systems, Inc., Addison, TX
     14. Advanced Financial Services, Inc., Newport, RI
     15. Johnston McLamb, Chantilly, VA
     16. Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA
     17. Ribelin Sales, Inc., Garland, TX
     18. B.I.N. Sales & Marketing, Inc., Norwalk, VA
     19. MATRIX Resources, Inc., Atlanta, GA
     20. Runzheimer International, Rochester, WI
     21. Deploy Solutions, Inc., Westwood, MA
     22. Professional Placement Resources, Jacksonville Beach, FL
     23. Dixon Schwabl Advertising, Victor, NY
     24. Handango, Hurst, TX
     25. Keller Williams Realty Inc., Austin, TX

     25 Best Medium Companies
     1.  Genencor International, Inc., Palo Alto, CA
     2.  ACUITY, A Mutual Insurance Company, Sheboygan, WI
     3.  Sage Products Inc., Cary, IL
     4.  Hypertherm, Inc., Hanover, NH
     5.  The Integer Group, Lakewood, CO
     6.  CALIBRE, Alexandria, VA
     7.  Spokane Teachers Credit Union, Liberty Lake, WA
     8.  The Hospice of Marion County Healthcare Alliance, Ocala, FL
     9.  Kyphon Inc., Sunnyvale, CA
     10. Holder Construction Company, Atlanta, GA
     11. Professional Veterinary Products Ltd., Omaha, NE
     12. Ultimate Software, Weston, FL
     13. Digital Federal Credit Union, Marlborough, MA
     14. CXtec, Syracuse, NY
     15. Patagonia, Inc., Ventura, CA
     16. MidState Medical Center, Meriden, CT
     17. Synapse Group, Inc., Stamford, CT
     18. EILEEN FISHER INC., Irvington, NY
     19. Graniterock, Watsonville, CA
     20. Lincoln Plating, Lincoln, NE
     21. North Island Credit Union, Chula Vista, CA
     22. Mitretek Systems, Inc., Falls Church, VA
     23. VML, Inc., Kansas City, MO
     24. BMW Financial Services NA, LLC, Woodcliff Lake, NJ
     25. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc., Waterbury, VT

To learn more about the eligibility requirements and nomination information for the 2006 list, visit http://www.shrm.org/bestcompanies or http://www.greatplacetowork.com.

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