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The Wasatch Front's top workplaces all offer the basics of a good job.
Compensation usually is generous and professional advancement encouraged.
Medical, dental and vision coverage packages are attractive. Retirement benefits and 401(k) matches meet or exceed industry averages. Many publicly traded companies have stock-option plans. Others offer profit sharing.
Tuition assistance, talent development and training programs are common as are employee discounts on company products.
But top-ranked employers increasingly provide an array of less-conventional perks, boosting worker motivation and morale along with the company's bottom line.
Some of these less-traditional offerings include:
Flexible scheduling • "Work-life balance" comes up frequently in interviews with managers and employees at these top-ranked companies, according to a WorkplaceDynamics survey of Wasatch Front businesses, buttressed by the idea that giving staffers adequate time for family and relaxation ultimately makes them more productive.
Integral to that balance is the notion of flexible work hours and generous policies on personal time off as well as family leave. Many of these workplaces offer up to 20 to 30 paid days off a year, in addition to anywhere from seven to 11 paid holidays annually. Paid maternity and paternity leave is also a frequent perk. Several firms offer official telecommuting options that let employees work from home.
Some allow employees to gift accrued personal time off to one another, letting them help co-workers out during family and medical emergencies.
Not being an early riser is not a problem at BambooHR, a leading provider of human-resource-management software. The small Lindon firm lets employees work their eight hours a day when they prefer. The Waterford Institute, a Sandy-based interactive training and educational firm, has "Ferris Bueller" days off named for the popular 1986 movie on playing hooky.
In summer months, Grant Thornton, an independent auditing and tax advisory firm headquartered in Chicago, lets employees adjust their work hours to four days a week and other alternate schedules.
Salt Lake City-based food distributor Nicholas & Co. has a buy now, pay later vacation benefit in which team members can reserve their holiday travel plans and pay for them over time through payroll reduction.
Wellness programs • While these vary in scope, many northern Utah workplaces identified as having high worker morale offer programs and facilities that encourage employees to take care of themselves.
These often involve financial incentives to nudge employees to quit smoking, lose weight, eat better or take other long-term steps to improve their health.
Many workplaces boast free on-site fitness centers and classes while others subsidize off-site gym memberships. Many employers stock break rooms with nutritional snacks. Free flu shots and biometric screenings are common as are employee-assistance programs, which offer no-cost counseling on personal issues.
Others lower employees' costs of insurance premiums as a reward for reaching and maintaining wellness goals.
CHG Healthcare Services, a Cottonwood Heights-based health-care staffing company, provides a free on-site health clinic, giving employees and family members access to nurse practitioners and lab work.
Health-monitoring device maker ZYTO in Lindon even developed its own Utah Outdoor Challenge, with 50 recreational activities that include hikes and other athletic adventures amid the state's natural wonders. Workers need only don a company bandana, snap a photo of themselves participating in each activity and post the image online to earn $20 a pop.
The challenge, according to ZYTO's vice president of marketing, George Wright, "has been a total blast."
Community involvement • Nearly all of the 60 companies on WorkplaceDynamics' top employers rankings have programs to involve their workers in charitable activities.
From campaigns for United Way, Habitat for Humanity and Meals on Wheels to food-bank drives, gift bags for the homeless, reading with grade-schoolers and Subs for Santa, these efforts are touted as ways to let employees "give back" and to strengthen their community ties.
Workplace experts note these activities also can lift morale and build cohesion among employees by having them mingle outside of work. Community programs can promote a company's recruitment and retention of new workers as well, particularly among the generation of young adults referred to as millennials.
"It's something we've found they really appreciate," said Bruce Dent, CEO of health insurer SelectHealth, where nearly 45 percent of the workforce is drawn from the age group known for its civic-minded bent.
Several employers offer company-paid hours or days off for volunteer work, without dictating the charity or cause.
Many firms set up committees that steer annual grants to nonprofit groups. In some cases, companies may focus their charity work on segments of the population they also serve in a business capacity, fostering relationships that help the firms' core missions.
Many employers seek out unique ways for their staffers to help others.
The Utah office of credit-card giant American Express maintains an internal website devoted to information on volunteer opportunities. Information-technology-service provider Executech in South Jordan manages the networks of nine nonprofits, free of charge. The Presidio Group, an insurance brokerage and consultancy in Salt Lake City, is sponsoring a family that migrated to Utah from Iraq and also sent a team to build homes in Nicaragua.
The Salt Lake City office of InterContinental Hotels Group had several employees whose families were affected by juvenile diabetes. A friendly in-house contest to raise money for diabetes research led one company director to shave his head in the office break room.