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NEW ORLEANS—This year’s winners of the sixth annual 50 Best Small & Medium Companies to Work for in America have not been immune from the current economic slump.
Yet the winners announced June 29, 2009 at the SHRM 61st Annual Conference & Exposition have endured—and some have grown—thanks to their thoughtful HR and management practices and their nurturing and development of employees. In return, they earn employee loyalty and productivity that help them thrive through good times and bad.
Leading the 2009 lists are repeat winners Badger Mining Corp., a Berlin, Wis., mining and quarrying operation (No. 1 Small), and Ultimate Software, a Weston, Fla., HR technology provider (No. 1 Medium). Badger took top honors in 2006 and 2007, and Ultimate won in 2008.
Accepting the No. 1 Medium award, Ultimate President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Scherr said the company added 200 employees in the past year. “It’s impossible to add that many people without a great HR department,” he said, praising the company’s onboarding process that quickly educates new hires to the company’s culture and products.
Scherr noted that all company employees were involved in the efforts to find cost savings. “The cuts come 100 percent from the bottom up and not from the top down.”
Badger Mining Chief Executive Officer Michael Hess said the family-owned firm’s success is “all due to attracting and retaining skilled workers.” He also praised HR initiatives such as flexible benefits and work hours, the 401(k) plan, and safety and wellness programs—“all tools we use to motivate and reward associates.”
The 50 companies were selected and ranked by the Great Place to Work® Institute Inc., a global workplace research and consulting firm headquartered in San Francisco, in two categories: small companies, with 50-250 U.S.-based full- and part-time employees, and medium companies, with 251-999 employees. The institute also selects Fortune magazine’s annual list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For®,” as well as similar lists in 40 countries.
SHRM has collaborated with the institute for six years to highlight the best U.S. employers with fewer than 1,000 workers. Each winning organization receives one complimentary membership to SHRM.
For this year’s competition, 268 companies participated in the entire selection process, including distributing a 57-question survey to their workforce, completing a management questionnaire, and submitting annual reports, employee handbooks and other materials for review. Employees’ survey responses count for two-thirds of companies’ total score. The remaining third of the score comes from the institute’s evaluation of companies in five areas: credibility (communication to employees), respect (opportunities and benefits), fairness (compensation, diversity), pride (philanthropy) and camaraderie (welcoming new employees, celebrations).
The July cover story of HR Magazine will provide descriptions of all 50 companies. Additional information—including a map, chart of data, employee photos and other data—will be available at www.shrm.org/hrmagazine by July 1. The winners will also be featured in Fortune Small Business magazine.
To learn about eligibility requirements and entry procedures for the 2010 list of the 50 Best Small & Medium Companies to Work for in America, visit www.greatplacetowork.com. The deadline for 2010 applications is Aug. 14.
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