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One Utah-based company and several others with sizable operations in the state made the ranks of Fortune magazine's 2012 list of the Top 100 companies for which to work.
In a year's time, Holladay-based CHG Healthcare Services rose from 27th to ninth. According to Fortune, the staffing agency routinely acts on employee suggestions, and it recently revamped its prescription drug plan, added a gym at its Fort Lauderdale office and made Martin Luther King Jr. Day a paid holiday.
Other selected Top 100 companies doing business in Utah are investment firm Edwards Jones at No. 5 (67 offices in the state), Recreation Equipment (REI) at No. 8, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants at 16 (operates Hotel Monaco in downtown Salt Lake City), Whole Foods at 32, Goldman Sachs at 33, Adobe at 41, Intel at 46, Men's Wearhouse at 55, Starbucks at 73 and Intercontinental Hotels Group at 100.
CHG, founded in Salt Lake City in 1979, logged a 17 percent job growth rate this past year. Public-relations director Mary Biljanic said CHG employs 1,401 people at seven sites throughout the country 760 at its Holladay headquarters.
"Our defining core value is putting people first," said Mike Weinholtz, CHG's CEO since 1998. "All of us try to live that every day, and it creates an atmosphere of trust, respect and engagement."
The company's most common salaried position is that of sales consultant, which pays an average of $68,466 per year.
CHG offers subsidized gym memberships and in some locations, including Holladay, provides on-site workout facilities. The company also has a nondiscrimination policy that includes sexual orientation. In addition, it offers domestic-partner benefits for same-sex couples.
One practice that Weinholtz believes keeps CHG on the rise is frequent surveys of employees, coupled with implementation of their suggestions. "They appreciate the opportunity to provide that feedback and to have input into how they want their company to be."
By midyear, CHG's Holladay location will add an on-site medical clinic that employees and their families can use for primary and instant-care treatment.
REI, headquartered in Kent, Wash., operates two stores in Utah one in East Millcreek and the other in Sandy. This marks the company's 15th year on Fortune's list, coming in ninth for 2010 and 2011, then rising to eighth for 2012.
According to Fortune, REI employs 10,466 people and saw 12 percent job growth last year. Its retail store managers earn an average annual salary of $103,112, while hourly retail sales specialists make about $27,924 per year.
A statement from REI outlined its benefits program, which includes health-care options for full- and part-time workers, retirement plan contributions, gear and apparel discounts, free equipment rentals, a public-transit subsidy, adoption assistance and paid sabbaticals after 15 years of service.
Daniel Benites, an inventory specialist at Salt Lake City's REI store, said the company "stays true to its values."
"They really preach balance here," Benites said, "and they want us to participate in the sports we're talking about."
With more than five years working at four REI locations, Benites said he's used the health-care benefits as both a part-time employee and a full-time manager, and "there's not too much of a distinction."
"They try to make the world a better place within the framework of an outdoor retailer," Benites said.
Fortune partners with the Great Place to Work Institute to survey corporate employees and compile its annual Top 100 list. This year, more than 246,000 employees from 280 firms participated in the survey.
O For more on Fortune's Top 100, go to money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/best-companies/