At Johnsonville Sausage, IT employees feel comfortable making autonomous decisions on moves that could benefit the company.
That might mean taking on an extra project to help a co-worker or figuring out how to use new technology like Google Glass, says Mark Palenske, a systems analyst and programmer at the Sheboygan Falls, Wis.-based sausage maker.
"I've never had my hand slapped or been told I couldn't try something," he says. "As long as I'm doing what's right for the company, I don't have to ask permission."
Johnsonville's Midwestern culture of strong family values and community support is another plus, says Sherry Zittel, IT infrastructure administrator. "Just like family, everyone is expected to pitch in and help out," she explains. "We are rewarded for good performance and encouraged to be personally accountable for the work we do and the lives we live."