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50 Great Places to Work in Washington
Companies with terrific benefits, stimulating work, flexible schedule schedules, opportunities for growth, and respect for their staff. By Sherri Dalphonse, Mary Clare Glover, Marisa M. Kashino, James Michael Causey
Comments () | Published November 1, 2011

Table of Contents:

Pages 1 - 5. The list of 50 Great Places to Work

Page 6. Our 12 Honorable Mentions

Page 7. Methodology: How We Choose Our 50 Great Places to Work

Not many offices have a ball pit for staff to romp in. LivingSocial is that kind of a place. Photographs by Vincent Ricardel

Not many offices have a ball pit for staff to romp in. LivingSocial is that kind of a place. Photographs by Vincent Ricardel

What makes a place to work something special? Is it good pay and benefits? A healthy balance between work and life? Smart colleagues? Or is it interesting work--and the freedom to do that work without being micromanaged? According to the 13,000 who filled out our Great Places to Work survey, it's all of the above. It's not easy to find an employer that offers all those things. These 50 workplaces do.

*Number of area employees; firm also has staff out of area.

American Immigration Lawyers Association
Downtown DC
Nonprofit association

"It's very satisfying to contribute to our mission of protecting the rights of immigrants and striving for fairness in immigration laws," says Jenny Werwa, senior manager of communications. Besides taking pride in what they do, AILA employees also like the flexible hours, opportunities for advancement, and friendly environment. That's why they stay--the average tenure is about six years.

Other perks: Considering its mission, it's no surprise that AILA treats employees with compassion. Benefits include fully paid health-care premiums, shortened summer hours, and a four-to-six-week sabbatical after ten years of service.

Number of employees: 55

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Axiom Resource Management
Falls Church, VA
Management consulting for government clients

Axiom employees are proud of the work they do, mostly for the Department of Defense--they might help wounded soldiers who need accessible computers or analyze battle injuries to improve military vehicles and equipment. Staffers like the firm's transparency, the respect they're given, and the family feel.

Sharing the wealth: All staffers get a holiday bonus, even if they start in December. There's also $1,000 toward a new home or $500 toward a new rental, sports teams including two softball squads, and lots of charitable outings. In the last seven years, Axiom raised more than $177,000 for the Fisher House Foundation for military families.

Number of employees: 285

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Broad Street Realty
Bethesda, MD
Real estate

With the market in a slump the past few years, it's not easy being happy in real estate. But employees at this commercial-realty firm love coming to work. They give management high marks for transparency and communication--weekly meetings keep everyone updated--and say that bosses are quick to give thanks. "The principals are ethical, good people who provide a quality product and take care of their employees," says property manager K.C. Burzio. "This among other things makes them stand out in our industry."

Nice perks: Frequent free meals--including Tuesday pizza dinners and Friday lunches--help keep the staff sated. Fully paid health-care premiums help keep them healthy.

Number of employees: 21

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BTS
Columbia
Tactical cellular networks

Employees at BTS, or Battlefield Telecommunications Systems, are proud to provide mobile communications for the military. "The products we build help soldiers communicate more effectively and keep them safe," says Jacinda Shelly. Meanwhile, management supports its own--with good pay, fully paid health-care premiums, no cap on tuition reimbursement, and the latest technology.

Other generous perks: BTS provides a $1,000 contribution to each employee's medical flexible-spending account, two weeks of paternity leave and six weeks of maternity leave, $50-a-month reimbursement for a gym membership, catered lunch every Wednesday, and free use of a Florida condo for one week a year.

Number of employees: 70

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Carfax
Centreville
Vehicle-history reports

Carfax's work is serious--its vehicle-history reports help consumers buy used cars with more confidence, a mission staffers are proud of--but the culture is not. There are basketball hoops, a putting green, video games, scavenger hunts, and a shufflepuck table. "It provides a great environment that makes employees want to come to work," says data-operations manager Jeff Crowley.

Generous perks: There's a free lunch every Friday, and anniversary bonuses are substantial ($500 for five years, $1,000 for 10, $1,500 for 15, and so on). Employees gave Carfax some of the highest ratings among all surveyed workplaces for flexibility and work/life balance--perhaps one reason turnover is typically just 5 percent.

Number of employees*: 278

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Cassaday & Company
McLean
Financial planning and investments

The financial industry has seen its share of ups and downs, but the folks at Cassaday & Company remain upbeat. "We're one big family that stays together, thick and thin," says Christopher Krell, a principal at the firm. Through it all, employees are kept in the loop: There are monthly staff meetings and scorecards staffers use to track their goals. Firm head Stephan Cassaday meets at least once a month with each employee. And the office gets together for lunches and pool parties and to clean up an adopted section of Route 7.

Generous benefits: A profit-sharing plan gives each employee a bonus equal to 3 percent of his or her gross W-2 wages; gym memberships are fully paid.

Number of employees: 24

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Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
DC's Foggy Bottom
Law firm

Though the lawyers at Cleary Gottlieb work hard, they aren't incentivized to compete with each other the way attorneys are at most firms. While compensation at law firms is typically merit-based--factors such as the value of a lawyer's clients and the hours billed determine pay--associates and partners alike get paid based on seniority at Cleary. As a result, everyone is encouraged to work together rather than fight over assignments.

Humane perks: If you don't want to use the on-site gym, the firm will pick up 75 percent of the membership fee at Fitness First or Washington Sports Club. Family-friendly offerings include a new-mothers room for women who are breastfeeding and free backup childcare.

Number of employees*: 325

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Dataprise
Rockville
Technical services and support

At this fast-growing IT firm--its staff has increased by 120 percent in five years--employees say there's lots of opportunity to learn and grow. Some 90 percent of the managers were promoted from within. Staffers also praise the fact that there's never been a layoff, salary freeze, or cut in bonuses.

Humane perks: In any month that Dataprise exceeds its financial goals, it donates to a charity selected by the staff. Employee growth is encouraged, with quarterly reviews and tuition reimbursement of up to $10,000 a year. The kitchen is amply stocked with free food including fresh fruit, cereal and milk, cold cuts and bread, hummus, vegetables, tuna and chicken salad, and yogurt.

Number of employees*: 100

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Decisive Analytics Corporation
Arlington
Systems engineering consulting

DAC staffers love working on cutting-edge solutions for clients such as the Department of Defense. In this employee-owned firm where everyone gets stock shares, they all feel that they have a say--and that management cares about them.

Generous perks: DAC's long list of great benefits includes 25 days off annually, fair pay and bonuses, free long-term-care insurance, an annual training trip to a destination such as Las Vegas, free parking or $120 a month for public transit, and a hefty yearly contribution of up to 15 percent of salary into each employee's 401(k). The company also gives back: Each quarter, staffers assemble care packages for soldiers overseas.

Number of employees*: 110

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Delta Resources
Arlington
Professional Services Contracting

Employees at this government contractor are proud of the work they do supporting the military: "I'm making a difference by coordinating and testing new technologies that are saving lives," says Doug Thrash about the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle program. In turn, Delta staffers feel supported with very good pay and benefits.

Generous perks: For every hour over 40 in a week that an employee works, he or she gets an hour of "Delta time" that can later be cashed out for vacation or pay. Other benefits include an annual $250 fitness reimbursement, a watch valued at up to $1,000 for a five-year anniversary, and a yearly banquet at which awards are handed out.

Number of employees*: 206

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Posted at 07:00 AM/ET, 11/01/2011 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Articles