Vermont Business Magazine and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce announced last Thursday the top 27 Best Places to Work in Vermont for 2014. The awards program was created in 2006 and is presented in partnership with the Society for Human Resource Management, Vermont State Council (SHRM), the Vermont Department of Labor and the Vermont Department of Economic Development and Best Companies Group.
SEE LIST OF WINNERS BELOW
This statewide survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Vermont, benefiting the state's economy, its workforce and businesses.
To be considered for participation, companies had to fulfill the following eligibility requirements:
Have at least 15 employees working in Vermont;
Be a for-profit or not-for-profit business or government entity;
Be a publicly or privately held business;
Have a facility in the state of Vermont; and
Must be in business a minimum of 1 year.
Companies from across the state entered the two-part process to determine the Best Places to Work in Vermont. The first part consisted of evaluating each nominated company's workplace policies, practices, and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25 percent of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. This part of the process was worth approximately 75 percent of the total evaluation. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process in Vermont and also analyzed the data and used their expertise to determine the final rankings.
Only those companies who reached a high level of recognition based on the evaluations are considered one of the "Best Places to Work" and are listed below.
SEE MORE PHOTOS
The final rankings for each category were announced at a special awards presentation on March 27, 2014, at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center.
BEST PLACES TO WORK IN VERMONT - 2014
SMALL/MEDIUM COMPANIES (15 - 149 Employees)
Saslow Lufkin & Buggy, LLP
Vermont Public Radio
Gallagher, Flynn & Company, LLP
ASIC North, Inc.
Wild Apple Graphics
Union Mutual Insurance Company
Vermont College of Fine Arts
Basin Harbor Club
Wells River Savings Bank
Hickok & Boardman Financial Planning and HR Intelligence
Farm and Wilderness Foundation
Liquid Measurement Systems, Inc.
LARGE COMPANIES (150 or more Employees)
Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
King Arthur Flour
White River Junction
Country Home Products
Okemo Mountain Resort
LORD Microstrain Sensing Systems
Sonnax Industries, Inc.
2014 Best Places in Vermont Companies
Small to Medium Companies
1) SASLOW LUFKIN & BUGGY
With stunning views of Lake Champlain and a newly renovated office, Saslow Lufkin & Buggy’s employees have an enticing environment when they come to work.
They are a progressive public accounting firm and they prove it. They are committed to their team. They foster an environment that allows employees to challenge themselves in their career as well as maintain a steady work/life balance.
*a bonus for passing the CPA exam
*A flexible work environment,
*jeans week, which is a fundraising event for local charities
* a kitchen stocked with healthy snacks and plenty of coffee,
*and fun activities like an ice cream break during busy season
The Firm is proud of the people they hire: Hardworking, committed and loyal, …employees are part of a tight knit family who enjoy spending time together outside of the office as well.
Fuse, LLC is a youth culture marketing agency that connects brands with teens and young adults. Fuse’s services include brand strategy, public relations, insights, event marketing, design, social media and digital services.
Fuse provides a highly charged, creative environment that allows employees to share ideas… insights… and inspiration. They continually learn from one another. Various benefits and perks help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance, on both a social and community level.
Full-time employees receive:
· generous benefits, including health and dental
· season’s pass to a local mountain resort
· annual fitness reimbursement
· rec space with a skateboard ramp, workout equipment and yoga studio
· paid time off for volunteering
Employees are also encouraged to make use of flex time, half-day Fridays in the summer, and comp days for weekend work.
Fuse is honored to win this Best Places to Work award again!
3) SEVENTH GENERATION
Seventh Generation’s philosophy of “caring today for seven generations of tomorrows” applies not only to the products, but also to the people who help create them. A positive work-life balance remains a key part of Seventh Generation’s effort to build one of Vermont’s best places to work.
The company encourages the use of flex-time and telecommuting options.
Staff members are provided with a flex spending reimbursement pool to use on fitness purchases or energy efficiency improvements.
The company pays 16 hours of paid time-off per year to do volunteer work of their choosing.
Employee development centers encourage growth both in their current role and in preparing employees for future positions.
Truly the biggest benefit is that folks get to work alongside friends and allies every day.
In these, and many other ways, Seventh Generation has created one of the Best Places to Work in Vermont.
4) THE REHABGYM
As a company, The RehabGYM prides themselves on their honesty and integrity. Their team is more like a family, with the empowerment for any one individual to reach their potential. Encouragement is cultivated within the environment to each person to make their mark. As a result, the relationships they form with their clients and patients are grounded in trust and authenticity.
Their team always allows time to reflect, share and recognize.
5+ years of service are gratefully acknowledged at the holiday party.
Every single person’s birthday is celebrated by all.
Regularly scheduled fun outings occur throughout the year.
The RehabGym believes that they won this award because of the combined hard work and dedication from their Physical Therapists, Athletic Trainers, administration, clients and patients alike. The bond is unbreakable. Relationships are their business. These are the reason they are one of the Best Places to Work in Vermont.
5) VERMONT PUBLIC RADIO
Vermont Public Radio is a remarkable place to work because every member of the team is committed to excellence. Their mission IS public service. This drives and inspires ALL to help make their community a better place to live.
As a member of the VPR Staff, you get a voice, and not just on the radio.
* participates in organizational planning
*is given the guidance and resources needed to accomplish individual goals
*is offered a flexible and casual work environment
*is eligible for a "merit award" based on job performance
*is offered a free gym membership
In addition, community practices include:
* bus passes to encourage leaving your car at home.
* listing open positions on the Hero to Hire website, which reaches out to military veterans looking for work.
Each new day is an opportunity to learn and grow. Better yet, each day is a chance to make VPR a stronger, better community resource for Vermonters.
6) GALLAGHER, FLYNN & COMPANY
Gallagher Flynn continually lives by their vision statement: “They strive to be the best by contributing profoundly to the success of their clients, employees and community.”
They are passionate about their staff and they strive to treat all fairly and with dignity. The company keeps a healthy perspective about life and work. They foster a positive and enjoyable work environment.
*managers awarded up to 13% of their base salary based on their personal goals
* Seniors and supervisors given discretionary bonuses at year-end
* Partner Pesos awarded to individuals who have gone above and beyond
There is a track located around the outside of the building for anyone who is interested in running or walking, plus a shower in the office for anyone who chooses to use it!
The staff is encouraged to live by the company values by being of service to their community. Every year the office closes down so that all employees can participate in a community service project. The event concludes with food and fun!
7) ASIC NORTH
ASIC North provides design services for companies with semiconductor-based needs. The company was founded on the fundamental belief that providing for the needs of employees enables them to be productive and successful. This, in turn, strengthens the company.
Their goal is to retain the best talent. They achieve this by:
*Providing a generous compensation package
*providing an annual incentive program based on the growth of the company
*having an open door policy where employees meet quarterly to discuss and review the company’s health.
AsicNorth clearly value their employees’ opinions and continually strive to do their best! ASIC North is extremely proud to be named one of the Best Places to Work in Vermont once again. They could not be what they are without their employees!
8) WILD APPLE GRAPHICS
Wild Apple Graphics is casual and creative, fun and fast-paced. It has a “family first,” supportive mentality. People treat each other with respect.
This is evident with best practices that include:
*generous paid time off
*health insurance premiums paid 100%
* open book” financials
*quarterly profit sharing
*full staff meetings held biweekly
*full employee participation in company planning
*5 – and 10 – year incremental employee recognition gifts
* surprise random acts of kindness, involving ice cream treats or field trips
Wild Apple creates beautiful artwork as well as a beautiful physical workspace, both of which gets continuous improvement. They try to live by the Golden Rule, while consuming extraordinary amounts of chocolate!
9) UNION MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY
Union Mutual of Vermont Companies have been providing quality insurance products for 140 years. They take great pride in focusing on providing superior customer service and they simply could not do this without their valued employees. They are the integral part of the company’s success.
Union Mutual offers:
* a professional work environment,
* competitive salaries
* comprehensive benefits package that goes well beyond the expected
Their positive work environment allows for:
* Flexible hours to accommodate school events, doctors appointments, etc
* education workshops for leadership, seminars or classes,
* a flu clinic
* on-site health screenings with periodic chair massages
* Employee Appreciation Day Boat Cruise on Lake Champlain,
* free or discounted tickets to entertainment or sporting events
* plus annual challenges with prizes
They work together to attain common goals, which includes their commitment to their community and to the industry.
10) VERMONT COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS
Vermont College of Fine Arts is a national center for education in the arts, fostering the excellence of emerging and established artists. The school offers the Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing, Writing for Children & Young Adults, Visual Art, Music Composition, Graphic Design, and Film.
Vermont College of Fine Arts is a family-centric workplace that is committed to the all important work/life balance. Flexibility and transparency is fostered. There is a 100% open door policy, including in the President's Office. Monthly staff meetings are held in which all staff and the President discuss current updates and upcoming events.
Best practices include:
*tuition remission for employees AND family members
*compensatory time off even during busy times
*generous health, retirement and vacation benefits
There is respect and support for the creative lives and practices of ALL who are the staff and faculty at Vermont College of Fine Arts.
11) BASIN HARBOR CLUB
Basin Harbor Club is a RESORT on Lake Champlain. Since 1886 Basin Harbor has been a family owned and operated business. The 5th generation Basin Harbor family includes not only members of the Beach family, but also fellow staff and guests. As FAMILY, everyone has a vested interest in the success of the company. Their long tradition of hospitality serves to remind them that going about their daily work means ensuring that their guests will want to return generation after generation.
Basin Harbor’s family of employees enjoy a wide variety of non-traditional benefits which include:
· free rounds of golf on the 18-hole course,
· use of the tennis facilities and fitness center,
· use of their bikes and their variety of water sports,
· discounted meals at their five dining establishments,
· “Basin Bucks” to redeem for goods and merchandise at the resort
· AND during the operating season, three daily meals are prepared for them using Vermont …Fresh… ingredients!
SunCommon make going solar easy and affordable so that all Vermonters can together create a healthy environment. Their mission is to tear down the barriers that have made renewable energy inaccessible.
SunCommon is committed to the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. They are one of Vermont's pioneering Benefit Corporations and recognized as a Certified BCorporation.
Most of their 65 workers operate out of The Energy Mill, New England's largest net-zero office building.
Field staff are:
· provided hybrid vehicles
· honored with solid benefits
· Lunch is provided during weekly all-company meetings
· open-book financials are shared
· frequent employee-organized parties
At SunCommon, they aspire for their work to be both fulfilling and fun. SunCommon is proud to be recognized among the Best Place to Work in Vermont.
This is fun stuff.
13) WELLS RIVER SAVINGS BANK
Wells River Savings is a locally owned mutual savings bank founded in 1892! The bank is dedicated to honoring their tradition of friendly, personal service with a strong commitment to the community.
Various programs allow employees to integrate their personal, family, and community commitments with their work.
* paid short-term family leave
* Day of Service given for volunteering at a non-profit of their choosing
* opportunities for extra paid time off
* educational assistance to support employees pursuing their degrees
In addition there are opportunites for camaraderie, like summer picnics with food, games, and prizes. Also, hams are given out to all at Christmastime.
The EMPLOYEES at Wells River Savings Bank have created an organization that is more than just a place to work—it’s more like a family, full of caring and understanding people who support each other in times of need and in times of celebration.
14) ALLEARTH RENEWABLES
Everyone at AllEarth Renewables has a good reason to come to work each day because they have a purpose. They are dedicated to defining our country’s energy future by designing and manufacturing innovative renewable energy systems. The company values their people as much as they value the innovative products they make. They show gratitude by offering a great benefits package that includes profit sharing,
· they have a free healthy family-style lunch program,
· a wellness benefit that will cover the cost of yoga or meditation classes or any other stress relief programs
· free tickets to a variety of Flynn performances,
· their innovative REWIRE program encourages a low carbon footprint
AllEarth has an active biking culture. They have a company bike team! They have won the WayToGoVT workplace commuter challenge for 3 years running and expect to win again next year!
AllEarth Renewables value their people as much as they value the innovative products they make. And that makes all the difference.
15) HICKOK & BOARDMAN FINANCIAL PLANNING & HR INTELLIGENCE
Hickok & Boardman Financial Planning & HR Intelligence was built on a culture of caring. They strive to create a workplace that is inclusive, fun and supportive. They have an active wellness committee which offers a variety of activities and programs.
*participation in the Vermont Corporate Cup Challenge
They celebrate ALL their successes – great and small.
They have a very strong sense of community. They allow their employees flexibility so that they can use their strengths to help others in the community. They are proud to run a very strong United Way of Chittenden County Community campaign each year.
Hickok & Boardman believe that happy employees lead to happier families, which in turn lead to a better experience for their clients.
16) TPW MANAGEMENT
A property management, real estate and vacation rental company, TPW is a family-owned Vermont-based business that has served for 25 years.
TPW provides paid incentives for growth in all positions in the company:
*vacation rental representatives and managers receive bonuses for bringing in new vacation rentals
*performance bonuses are awarded to managers who meet and exceed revenue goals
* there is a company-wide incentive to bring in rentals for the winter season.
Best practices include:
* Reimbursement for college programs
* company-wide meetings which feature accomplishments and successes of individuals and teams
* free or discounted tickets to entertainment or sporting events,
* flexible hours to accommodate family appointments and events
TPW’s professional approach to management has made them a successful and valued resource for property owners and homeowners associations throughout the Northeastern United States.
17) FARM & WILDERNESS FOUNDATION
Farm & Wilderness Foundation is a non-profit, educational organization operating seven summer programs for children and young adults. They have a family camp. They also have educational programming year-round.
All Farm & Wilderness activities are shaped by Quaker principles and the common belief that individuals and communities are strengthened by justice, honesty, self-reliance, diversity and respect for all persons.
The alumni, community and staff ARE Farm & Wilderness. In appreciation, Farm and Wilderness contributes to employee satisfaction beyond the usual competitive salary.
*Flex time and flexible scheduling
*generous leave time,
*summer camp discounts,
*monthly lunches and cookie swaps,
*farm workshops - things like cheese making and fiber arts,
* supplies of organic milk and fresh produce from their farm
* and ALWAYS encouraging the staff to enjoy the beautiful scenic outdoor setting during their daily breaks!
18) LIQUID MEASUREMENT SYSTEMS
Liquid Measurement Systems is a family-owned business where their employees come first. Founded in 1989, the company has grown to become a leader in the design and manufacture of custom fuel gauging systems for the aerospace industry.
Teamwork is part of the fabric of both work and play at LMS. Employees are recognized for their accomplishments in their Quarterly Town Meeting. There is ongoing business education workshops and conferences.
Community service plays a big role: Annually, the company donates to Vermont National Guard Charitable foundation in support of Vermont's National Guard soldiers, airmen and families.
Barbecue Wednesday comes every other week all summer long. Employees find a feeling of community and team spirit at LMS. They emphasize the importance of a healthy balance between work and personal life.
The company does their best to nurture and grow those qualities with employee benefits and programs that reward and invest in their greatest asset, the employees!
1) EDWARD JONES
Edward Jones values the people who make excellent client service possible.
Located in two-person offices, branch teams work directly with clients to understand their personal goals and offer solutions.
As Joni Bertram in Brattleboro said, “This large company manages to make every employee feel important. I know my opinions are respected and consistently asked for. I am a valued team member.”
The Edward Jones culture is caring, supportive and family-friendly. When Lyndonville Financial Advisor Joe LeClair’s wife decided she wanted to enlist in the Air National Guard, Joe knew they could make it work even with 3 small children. When she left for basic training, he essentially became a single dad. He shortened his work week to provide for their kids. He didn’t have to check with anyone. Joe managed to tend children and serve clients well. This past year turned out to be his best year ever.
Edward Jones is honored to be one of Vermont’s Best Places to Work, yet again!
2) VERMONT ENERGY INVESTMENT CORPORATION
Vermont Energy Investment Corporation is dedicated to reducing the economic and environmental costs of energy use. They work with all types of companies and organizations in the design and delivery of energy efficiency and renewable energy services.
They continually challenge themselves to stay at the cutting edge of their work. They have diverse, talented, dedicated and passionate employees who apply their expertise to complex problems.
Their best practices include:
*an open workspace
*many opportunities for staff to learn and grow
* annual incentive plan designed to reward all staff for their performance.
*small cash awards and small tokens of appreciation, like gift certificates, chocolate…
*on-site fitness and wellness center
* company bikes available to all staff
* free flu shots
*and staff members to organize support and educate different types of community service, things like hunger and domestic violence issues.
VEIC is proud to have been named among the best places to work in Vermont four years running.
3) KPMG BURLINGTON
In KPMG’s Burlington office, they like to say that they have the best of both worlds with a small-company culture and large-company resources. Their people are engaged, energetic and absolutely committed to their clients, their team members, and their community.
The culture of KPMG exemplifies open and honest communication, teamwork, respect, and integrity. They integrate the belief that their people are their greatest asset into their “Employer-of-Choice” corporate strategy. This strategy includes initiatives like their mentoring program, and corporate training and development.
Get-togethers include bowling parties and summer celebrations.
There are frequent group volunteer projects and charitable fundraisers, casual days, and Friday-afternoon ice cream socials.
They do great work and have fun doing it. The wonderful people in the Burlington office make KPMG a great place to work!
4) KING ARTHUR FLOUR
The employees are at the heart of King Arthur Flour: they’re the folks responsible for making sure products are top-notch, educational programs are inspiring, and customer service is stellar. The employees are also the owners. So there is simply no one who cares more about ensuring the success of their company than the employees themselves!
Workplace practices include:
*On-site exercise room is accessible to all employees, including
*use of tread mills, TRX units, yoga mats,
*use of bikes when commuting between buildings, complete with baskets for carrying a notebook to their next meeting!
* CSA shares to a local organic farm are subsidized
*new this year: employee-owners will till, plant and harvest their on-site vegetable garden!
They hire the best people, create a respectful and empowering corporate culture, and make it possible for the employees to thrive. King Arthur is honored to once again be recognized as a leader in workplace practices.
Dealer.com is the automotive industry’s leading provider of a streamlined and intuitive solution for managing dealership marketing and operations.
Dealer.com is headquartered in a LEED-certified building in Burlington. Dealer.com practices a cutting-edge approach to workplace wellness by focusing on the whole person. They achieve this by offering programs that include:
· a full-service healthy café,
· comprehensive on-site fitness facilities and classes,
· indoor tennis and basketball court,
· a rooftop solarium with mini putt-putt and on-site garden,
· free weekly chair massage breaks,
· nutrition experts,
· and personal and professional seminars for self improvement.
With its unique commitment to culture, health and wellness, Dealer.com is consistently recognized as one of the most desirable places to work.
6) COUNTRY HOME PRODUCTS
Country Home Products is very proud of their dedicated employees who make their company successful. All share a commitment to quality - in everything they do - and take great pride in the products they sell. They strive to treat their customers, vendors and one another with fairness, respect and appreciation with the service they provide.
Everyone in the company has the opportunity to make a direct and meaningful impact on the company’s success and their own success as well.
Factors that make them unique include:
· a weekly fresh veggie delivery,
· recognition for a job well done through their “People Power – Done Right” program,
· their fun parties,
· their product lending program …
· their product development contests called "The DR Olympics",
· onsite foosball table and arcade games,
· providing employees financial education, including FREE tax preparation.
Country Home Products has created a sought-after work environment - one that continually attracts the very best people. That’s why they have won this Best Places to Work award!
7) OKEMO MOUNTAIN RESORT
Okemo Mountain Resort believes that this Best Places to Work accomplishment is a reflection of solid workplace benefits plus an environment with exceptional, hard-working teams focused on supporting each other and their guests.
Company values focus on teamwork, safety, the environment and community.
According to co-owner Tim Mueller, he and his wife Diane and are very proud of Okemo for being included in the list of Vermont’s Best Places to Work. The employees deserve all the credit. It is very easy to manage when you have hard-working, dedicated and loyal people working with you. It is because of THEIR work ethic and willingness to do whatever it takes, that Okemo is a great place to work.
Okemo has 2,200 vertical feet of positive outlook. Service with a smile is the linchpin of their philosophy. The staff reflect this attitude by having fun doing what they do best: creating a memorable recreational experience!
8) LORD MICROSTRAIN SENSING SYSTEMS
LORD MicroStrain is a global leader in the design and manufacture of sensing systems for a wide variety of applications. The 60 employees in Williston create sensors for the aerospace industry, the military, civil engineering firms, and many others.
Their workplace philosophy encourages innovation and collaboration. The company prides itself on ensuring that employees thrive in an environment of creativity, where teamwork is the order of the day.
Among the employee benefits are:
· a robust wellness program,
· flex-time scheduling,
· a “Volunteer Day” for community stewardship,
· and the always-popular Bagel Friday.
LORD MicroStrain is very happy to be a Best Places to Work award recipient!
With approximately 170 employees, Sonnax is recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in the state of Vermont.
Sonnax Industries, Inc. is a leading international supplier to the automotive aftermarket – in designing, manufacturing and distributing.
Sonnax encourages employees to find balance and success in their lives, and emphasizes prioritizing family, health and faith before work. The company became 100% employee-owned in 2011.
Their best practices include:
· outstanding benefits
· generous paid vacation
· healthy environment with a smoke-free campus
· access to training, ergonomic solutions and an onsite gym.
· company-wide events such as holiday parties, picnics, and casual contests.
· registered nurse on site during each week.
Source: Vermont Business Magazine, March 27, 2014. Top Photo: Lesli Blount and Laurie Kigonya of VPR. Photos by Vermont Business Magazine.