Rand Construction Corporation
DC and Alexandria
Commercial general contractor
Staffers say this award-winning firm is a great place to start and grow a career--the atmosphere is entrepreneurial, employees are given a lot of responsibility, and there are many opportunities for growth. "If you are willing to work hard, you will do well," says project manager Tom Boyer.
Generous perks: Employees come together Monday through Thursday for a subsidized catered lunch ($5), and weekly Costco runs keep the kitchen stocked with snacks. Ten-year anniversaries are recognized with a Caribbean cruise for two. After five years, superintendents are given a new pickup truck.
Number of employees: 144
IT consulting and products
Employees here say the work is challenging and interesting: They've developed everything from software for the Air Force to a Web site for Five Guys to an app for visitors to Arlington National Cemetery. While staffers like the ability to grow, the company itself has grown: Revenue has increased by 115 percent in three years.
Nice perks: The staff enjoys fully paid health-care premiums, quarterly all-hands meetings, and a fun atmosphere that includes regular happy hours. Segue shares its success, providing a good deal of monetary and volunteer support to Arlington charities such as the Animal Welfare League and Doorways for Women and Families.
Number of employees*: 59
Museums and research
"The increase and diffusion of knowledge" was part of James Smithson's bequest that established the Smithsonian in the mid-1800s. Today it's one of the world's most respected institutions. Locally, it runs 17 museums as well as the National Zoo--offering lots of fascinating jobs.
Unusual perks: Employees enjoy a 20-percent discount in Smithsonian shops and cafeterias and free daytime admission to the Imax theaters in the Air and Space Museum, the Museum of Natural History, and the Udvar-Hazy Center. Plus, most Smithsonian museums around the country honor one another's employee IDs, so admission fees are often waived.
Number of employees*: 4,500
Southern Management Corporation
The largest privately held residential property-management company in the Mid-Atlantic, Southern Management Corporation owns and operates 73 communities, including more than 24,000 apartments. That means lots of opportunity (it hired more than 350 people this year), and current employees rave about the emphasis on training and promotion.
Sharing the wealth: Employees say they feel thanked and recognized for good work, with good pay, a pension-plan contribution of 5 percent of salary, an annual awards banquet, a yearly family night at Six Flags, and other perks.
Number of employees: 1,550
It's hard to imagine a more flexible firm than Spider Strategies. Nearly every employee works from home every day. (A few work at a client site.) Staffers set their hours--which suits those who prefer to work at night. There are rarely meetings--three or four a year. Every Thursday is set aside for R&D, so staffers can explore the latest in technology. And vacation is unlimited. The company is very successful--between August 2010 and August 2011, it's added more than 150 customers and increased revenues by 53 percent.
Generous perks: As if staffers weren't spoiled enough, they also get fully paid health-care premiums, a 3-percent IRA match, and pay that's higher than the industry average.
Number of employees*: 12
Employees say Suntiva provides great work/life balance, support from the top, and challenging work with clients such as the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health. The firm has been on Inc. magazine's list of the 500 fastest-growing companies four years running.
Nice perks: Employees--many of whom have 20 years or more of experience--call the management caring. There's a wellness coach, $300 annually toward a fitness expense such as a gym, and staff wellness contests that result in a donation to charity. Suntiva itself has donated more than $100,000 to Teardrops to Rainbows, which supports children with cancer.
Number of employees*: 55
US Department of State
"We're making history every day when we come to work. That's pretty amazing," says Gilberto TorresVela, an economic officer in the Office of Cuban Affairs. Employees at the State Department feel that their work makes a difference in foreign affairs, helping to make the world more secure. Many also love learning new languages. And of course, for those who like to travel, the State Department offers outposts all over the world.
Nice benefits: Employees have access to a student-loan repayment program, a transit subsidy, and, through the Foreign Service Institute, a wide array of courses.
Number of employees*: 44,362
US Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Staffers love the mission of protecting people, safeguarding the environment, and contributing to national security by regulating the safe use of civilian nuclear materials. The NRC is consistently ranked as one of the best places to work in the federal government, including in a biannual ranking by the Partnership for Public Service.
Generous perks: A new flex program allows employees to vary their hours throughout the day--for example, someone could work from 7 to 11 am in the office and then 4 to 8 pm from home. There's also an annual health fair and an on-site center that offers technical, leadership, and administrative training.
Number of employees*: 2,832
Enterprise storage hardware/software
ViON's engineers work on complex storage, server, and software solutions for enterprise data centers, mostly for federal clients such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Army. And, they happily report, they do their work with a great deal of freedom to make decisions and do their jobs. Which may help explain why the average tenure at this 32-year-old firm is 15 years.
Generous perks: Employees get annual bonuses, a share of profits is deposited into each person's 401(k), tuition reimbursement is unlimited, and everyone has received an annual raise in the past ten years. After two years, an employee gets 20 to 26 vacation days.
Number of employees*: 85
Whole Foods Market
Employees, or "team members," say this Fortune 500 firm is a positive, caring place where they're encouraged to be creative and they feel empowered. A store's beer manager, for example, may select which brews to stock, while a deli worker might concoct a new salad. Staffers earn well above minimum wage and vote on everything from new hires to health benefits.
Healthy perks: It's no surprise that a company focused on healthy living does a lot for employee wellness. Staffers get a 20-percent store discount--but can earn up to 30 percent for, say, a good cholesterol reading. Everyone gets a tax-free Personal Wellness Account of $300 to $1,800 to use for non-covered medical expenses.
Number of employees*: 4,127
50 Great Places to Work in Washington
Comments () | Published November 1, 2011
Rand Construction Corporation