The more they change, the more they stay the same

100-best-collageBY BRANDON SAWYER

The 100 Best Companies get more creative with perks and more generous with benefits; employees seek empowering relations with management and coworkers.

Share this article!

100-best-collageBY BRANDON SAWYER

The 100 Best Companies get more creative with perks and more generous with benefits; employees seek empowering relations with management and coworkers.

Our 100 Best Companies project turned 21 this year, so pop open the Champagne. Our latest survey gives us plenty to cheer.

Statewide, unemployment has been in steady decline as the job market finally heated up, and top employers once again strained to outdo one another with enticing benefits, outrageous perks and workplaces, sweet workplaces. Puppies, Ping-Pong, standing desks, massages, tuition reimbursement, free lunch, video arcades, biking bonuses, unlimited vacation, lactation lounges, sabbaticals, kegs with local brews, Zumba classes, Hawaiian getaways, volleyball and free eggs. Who would ever want to leave?

Health care and wellness options all increased among the 100 Best, as did elder- and child-care subsidies, telecommuting, maternity and paternity leave, retirement plan contributions, ESOP plans and volunteer community service.

Boly:Welch, No. 7 Small

Marmoset, No. 25 Small
Independent Dispatch, No. 5 Medium

How are the Best Companies judged?

We measure employee opinion on 25 workplace/job statements as well as an employer questionnaire on benefits. Employees rate their satisfaction — 83% of companies’ 100 Best scores — as well as the importance they attach to work environment, management and communications, decision making and trust, career development and learning, and benefits and compensation.

What do employees really care about?

Perks and benefits aside, the top priorities for Oregon employees are the same set of intangibles as last year. Workers demand a considerate boss they can trust, a job that accommodates their life outside work, pride in the company and fun, collaborative coworkers.

Five Survey Statements Most Important to Employees:

1    Treatment by supervisors and management
2    Flexibility to balance family, community and job obligations
3    Pride and belief in the company
4    Teamwork, cooperation and fun at work
5    Trust in management decisions

Convergece Networks, No. 6 Medium
LifeSource Natural Foods, No. 23 Medium
Carr Auto Group, No. 6 Large

How could most workplaces do better?

Besides the obvious answer of paying more and enriching benefits, the biggest gaps between employee satisfaction and importance loomed between fairness of compensation, open and clear communications, promotion opportunities and discipline for poor performers.




Who are the 100 Best Companies?

The list recognizes many employers with best-practices staying power as well as innovative upstarts. This year, we celebrate 20 companies never listed before, and 45 that have appeared 5 years or more.


As usual, the broad sector with the biggest showing was professional services, encompassing a third of the list with 7 law firms, 6 management consultancies and 5 firms each in accounting, advertising/marketing/PR, architecture/engineering/design and staffing. Construction increased its contingent from 10 last year to 12 companies, while finance scaled back from 14 to just 10 banks, investment firms and mortgage lenders, and health care declined from 8 to 5 companies. Software and IT expanded to 10, telecom/Internet providers grew to 6 and manufacturing ramped up to 7 companies.

We salute these inspiring workplaces that help raise the ‘dream job’ bar for the entire state:

Ruby Receptionists, No. 8 Large

Levi-003aLevi Strauss & Co., No. 17 Large

smarsh Smarsh, No. 27 Large


Barran Liebman LLP2 ACME Business Consulting11 AKT CPAs, Advisors, Consultants20
Becker Capital Management22 Avista Utilities18 Andersen Construction22
Boly:Welch7 Cardinal Services24 Anthro Corporation5
Bremik Construction30 Convergence Networks6 Axium13
Clatsop Community Bank32 Delap LLP1 Capitol Auto Group11
Columbia Printing & Cleanroom Inc.4 Elemental Technologies17 Carr Auto Group6
Core Business Services33 Emerick Construction Co.8 ClubSport Oregon31
Davidson Benefits Planning LLC23 Farleigh Wada Witt30 Consumer Cellular16
Evergreen Consulting Group LLC17 Fortis Construction16 Davis Wright Tremaine LLP25
Finity Group LLC8 General Sheet Metal27 Digimarc Corporation4
Gorilla Capital26 Gevurtz Menashe22 Directors Mortgage32
The Hershey Co./Dagoba Plant1 Hagan Hamilton Insurance12 Gentiva Hospice of Portland2
HFF LP9 HealthCo Information Systems Inc.3 Grange Co-op10
Hitachi Consulting13 Independent Dispatch Inc.5 Jive Software19
Iconic Solutions Inc.29 Kidder Mathews13 KPMG LLP26
Image Pressworks28 LifeSource Natural Foods23 Lane Powell PC15
Isler Northwest LLC24 Logical Position21 Levi Strauss & Co.17
Jackson County Physical Therapy15 Magnum Opus4 Neil Kelly Company30
Madden Industrial Craftsmen11 Maul Foster Alongi25 Northwest Mortgage Group Inc.3
Marmoset25 Ninkasi Brewing Company29 OBEC Consulting Engineers33
Matrix Networks14 Pacific Benefit Consultants19 Olsson Industrial Electric9
Maxwell PR + Engagement19 Point B2 Pacific Continental Bank28
McKenzie Commercial Contractors12 Rogue Creamery14 Perkins Coie LLP1
Northwest Staffing Resources31 SLR International Corporation26 Pricewaterhouse­Coopers LLP12
Redmond Dental Group16 Smart Wireless Inc.31 Puppet Labs Inc.21
Research Into Action Inc.21 Stacy and Witbeck Inc.34 R&H Construction Co.18
RHT Energy Solutions10 The Standard Steel Companies20 Ruby Receptionists8
Robert W. Baird & Co.5 SurveyMonkey28 Slalom Consulting7
Rose City Mortgage3 Sussman Shank LLP9 Sleep Country USA23
Solutions YES20 TraneOregon7 Smarsh Inc.27
Sterling Communications18 Turner Construction Co.15 T-Mobile14
Ultimate Staffing Services6 Urban Waxx10 Umpqua Bank29
XPLANE27 Vernier Software & Technology33 VW Credit Inc.24
   ZRT Laboratory32    

Research Methodology

The Employee Survey rated worker satisfaction and importance of 35 workplace qualities — 5 in each of the first five categories below, and 10 in Sustainable Practices:

  1. Work Environment: flexibility and work/life balance, diversity, teamwork and fun, workspace technology and efficiency, policies and procedures.
  2. Management & Communications: employee treatment, performance feedback, communications, discipline, rewards and acknowledgement.
  3. Decision-Making & Trust: shared accountability, trust in management, collaboration and involvement, community and charity, workplace pride.
  4. Career Development & Learning: on-the-job training, educational support, growth opportunities and promotions, job goals and expectations.
  5. Benefits & Compensation: compensation fairness and adequacy, health wellness plan, retirement plan, paid time off, raises and bonuses.
  6. Sustainable Practices: Used for 100 Best Green Cos. List

Company representatives answered more than 50 questions for the Employer Benefits Survey concerning health and wellness plans, time off, family-friendly policies, work scheduling, incentives, retirement plans, corporate culture and sustainable practices (used for 100 Best Green Cos. List)
Employee Survey satisfaction ratings from the first five categories count for 5/6 of the 100 Best Companies Score. The Employer Benefits Survey accounts for the remaining 1/6, resulting in a total possible score of 600.

How to Enter

The 100 Best Companies survey is voluntary and free of charge. Eligible public or private companies or divisions must be for-profit and have at least 15 full- or part-time employees in Oregon, but may be headquartered anywhere.

The survey period for the 2015 list commences in late August and ends in November 2014. Companies that do not make the list remain entirely anonymous and all companies that complete the process may obtain a fee or premium report of their individual survey results, highlighting workplace strengths and weaknesses.

To submit a company, send an email to [email protected] with the name, title, phone number, email address and company name of the person(s) who will coordinate the survey.

Find out more and look for the sign-up link in late August at