Workers at James G. Davis Construction Corporation feel like they're part of building the company--one staff perk is stock ownership.
Defense engineering contracting
At this growing firm, employees praise the "great atmosphere" created by management, which "treats you like family." If, that is, your family paid you very well--95 percent of those who answered our survey say the salaries are higher than industry average. No wonder there was zero turnover last year.
Generous benefits: Despite its size, GSM has big perks, including five weeks of vacation, a 401(k) contribution of 15 percent of salary, fully paid health-care premiums, $1,200 toward the creation of a will, $5,000 a year to attend training or conferences, $720 toward Internet access, and $1,750 toward the purchase of a gadget--although employees are given all the technology they need for their jobs.
Number of employees: 52
Home Builders Institute
Nonprofit education and training
Staffers appreciate HBI's relaxed, family-friendly feel, the flexible work schedules, and the inspiring mission. Founded in 1983, HBI trains at-risk youth and others in the building trades and promotes careers in construction. Says communications specialist Laura Phillips Garner: "There's a caring here that I've never experienced anywhere else in the workplace."
Nice perks: One of the best parts of working at HBI is the flexibility--many employees work compressed weeks, and at least 40 percent telecommute once a week. There are also monthly massages, spontaneous bonuses, office bike rides, and golf outings.
Number of employees*: 40
Integrity Applications Incorporated
Systems and software engineering
Whether working on a next-generation weather satellite or developing innovations to reduce energy consumption, employees find the work, for defense and intelligence agencies, challenging and fulfilling. And rewarding--93 percent of those surveyed said the pay is higher than the industry average. No wonder turnover is less than 5 percent. Of last year's 72 hires, 89 percent were from staff referrals, giving the company a family feel.
Generous perks: Besides high pay, staffers enjoy fully paid health-care premiums, a contribution of up to 10 percent of salary into their 401(k), and $1,200 funded into a medical flexible-spending account.
Number of employees*: 336
James G. Davis Construction Corporation
At James G. Davis Construction, the average tenure is 8 to 12 years. Employees stay for many reasons: challenging work, access to good mentors, excellent benefits, and a family-friendly atmosphere. "It's a small-company feel with large-company benefits and opportunities for growth," says project manager Brian Nussbaum.
Nice Benefits: In addition to $10,000 annually in tuition reimbursement, Davis offers free weekly on-site classes in everything from Spanish to technology. A generous benefits package includes fully paid health-care premiums, an employee stock-ownership program, and an on-site fitness center.
Number of Employees: 410
Knight Point Systems
This government contractor's revenue has grown by nearly 1,200 percent in the past four years. Knight Point also believes in growing its employees, who receive an average of 56 training hours each year. Staffers share in the firm's success, from bonuses to a lavish holiday party--at last year's, members of the fastest-growing division received an iPad. They play hard, too, whether on the office putting green or at Wii tennis tournaments.
Sharing the wealth: The six-year-old firm--founded by a service-disabled veteran--has donated more than $106,000 to charity over the last three years. The management team buys lunches or dinners for servicemembers they see in airports.
Number of employees*: 71
A growing giant in the world of daily deals--it's gone from 33 staffers to 3,900 worldwide in less than two years--LivingSocial is a high-energy workplace filled with Millennials who love the entrepreneurial culture and the fact that their ideas are listened to--and who don't mind long hours. Says Colleen O'Reilly: "You really feel like you are part of something special here. You're part of a company making history in the business world."
Unusual perks: To keep the staff energized, there's air hockey, Skee-Ball, and several social events a week--from cupcake-eating contests to ziplining to winetasting. Rewards for hard work have included Super Bowl tickets and a trip to the Academy Awards.
Number of employees*: 780
Like many hospitality companies, Marriott has been affected by the recession, having to lay off staff. But employees say there's still lots of opportunity for growth and that the benefits, including work/life flexibility, are good. They're proud to work at such a respected company--one where, when departments and hotels had to scale back holiday parties for economic reasons, many people focused on doing something for charity.
Sharing the wealth: Every May, Marriott sets aside a week for employee appreciation, treating the staff to activities and free meals. Marriott's generosity extends to the communities it's in as well: Last year, corporate contributions to charity exceeded $23 million in cash and in-kind donations.
Number of employees*: 4,723
Marketing and Communications for technology firms
Public-relations work can be known for its long, thankless hours. Merritt Group, which provides PR, interactive marketing, and social media for technology clients such as Verizon and Microsoft, is different. Employees call the environment "caring," with a strong emphasis on work/life balance. Everyone telecommutes on Fridays and can do so on other days as needed.
Other generous benefits: Fully paid health-care premiums, a health savings-account contribution of $750 per individual or $1,500 per family, 20 to 30 annual vacation days after a year of employment, eight hours per quarter to use for volunteering, and frequent staff get-togethers such as happy hours.
Number of employees*: 28
DC's Foggy Bottom
Nonprofit serving the homeless
Founded in 1983, this organization serves 4,000 homeless men and women annually. In addition to free healthy meals, Miriam's Kitchen provides clean clothing and mental-health care. "I get up every morning knowing why I do my work," says director of development Sara Gibson. "To make the lives of homeless men and women better."
Nice benefits: Besides flexible schedules and generous compensation--nearly 80 percent of surveyed employees feel they're paid higher than the industry average--each staffer has $1,000 to $3,000 to use for professional development. Other benefits include fully paid health-care premiums, seven weeks of leave in the first year, and yoga classes.
Number of employees: 21
The Motley Fool
Financial advice and media
A core value at the Motley Fool--the multimedia firm whose financial products include a Web site, books, and subscription newsletters--is to have fun. And they do, whether at a mini-golf tournament in the office, on a ski trip, or during a burger-eating contest. There's one "fool," as employees are called, whose job is to make sure colleagues are happy and in jobs that match their passions.
Generous perks: Employees get the freedom to do their jobs--and unlimited vacation. They also enjoy subsidized on-site massages and manicures, a wellness coach, an internal university, and $1,200 a year to use toward expenses such as cell phones, computer equipment, insurance of any kind, or a gym membership.
Number of employees*: 215