Small Business Reading Room

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Top Small Work Places 2007

Small businesses and big businesses alike face a daily struggle of keeping their employees happy and keeping them working efficiently.

I came across an interesting article highlighting what some small businesses are doing that makes them stand out as "High-Performance Workplaces." These companies are recognized for the efforts they make to show their employees that they are appreciated.

The Wall Street Journal has worked with Winning Workplaces, a non profit organization aimed at helping small and midsize organizations create "high-performance workplaces," to come up with 15 small businesses that are noted as the "Top Small Work Places 2007."

And guess what… there is even one from Delaware!

The businesses vary in nature, and range from public relations firms, a moving company, and even a Delaware aircraft maintenance company.

The common themes within these businesses are that:

  • They tend to let employees at all levels make key decisions.

  • They try to promote their future leaders from within.

  • They offer generous traditional and untraditional benefits.

  • They look for new ways to improve the employee experience.

  • They look to engage employees.

These companies try to make it exciting for workers to come to work, and aim to keep them happy, so that they stay with the company as long as possible!

Many of the companies recognized offer great insurance benefits and even offer their employees employee stock ownership plans. I found some interesting benefits that were worth mentioning:

Summit Aviation, from Middletown Delaware, is an aviation maintenance company, and has been recognized for its employee retention. Caroline DuPont Prickett, the chairman, says she has tried to maintain the "small business with a big heart" atmosphere. The employees "have stuck by me for so much, and you have to do the same for them," she says. Many employees at Summit Aviation set their own work schedules and are even given a holiday bonus of two weeks' pay.

Mr. O'Toole the CEO of Gentle Giant Moving also encourages employees to "have fun on the job and hang out together away from the office. Almost every workday, he takes a different employee out to lunch, and the company hosts an annual summer and holiday party. It also occasionally hands out gift certificates or tickets to sporting events, such as for Boston Red Sox games, and arranges staff trips to amusement parks and other local events."

At NRG Systems, a maker of wind-measuring equipment, The company offers an "assorted array of 'soft' benefits, such as paid six-week sabbaticals for longtime employees; free, chef-prepared lunches for all employees four days a week; and a cash bonus for employees who make their homes more energy-efficient or buy a Toyota Prius."

This is only a small amount of the interesting information that the article discusses. Many other companies are honored and the unique ways they show appreciation to their employees are definitely worth reading about.

Check out the article for a full list of the companies awarded the honor of a Top Small Work Place 2007, as well as what they do that deserves to be recognized.


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