If You Worked Here, You'd Be Happy Now

Whether it's generous vacation time or low-cost health care, these Best Places have what you want.

Some of us work at great companies, and some of us can only drool. If you fall into the latter category, its always good to know how the other half lives, especially when the hiring market is so hot that its tempting to start a job search.

For instance, if vacation time is what youre after, try Discover Financial Services LLC (No. 45), which offers new hires 25 days of paid time off to use at their discretion instead of designated sick, personal and vacation time. Or theres The Readers Digest Association Inc. (No. 91), which offers 21 days of vacation after just one year of service, as does Grant Thornton LLP (No. 15).

Is health care your driving concern? At Cerner Corp. (No. 59), which designs clinical information systems for health care organizations, you could take advantage of a newly built on-site primary care clinic that serves Cerner associates and their dependents. It provides primary care, laboratory and pharmacy services many at no cost. In the clinics first nine months of operation, over 27% of the companys Kansas City, Mo.-based employees and their dependents used its services, filing 10,779 pharmacy prescriptions and visiting the clinic 4,620 times.

Part-time workers who need health care benefits could consider Readers Digest, which offers health care to anyone working at least 14 hours per week. United Parcel Service Inc. (No. 84) is also generous to part-time workers, offering health care benefits for employees working just 15 hours per week, and Corning Inc. (No. 78) draws the line at 16 hours per week.

Couples planning to start a family might look at USinternetworking Inc. (No. 38), which offers seven weeks of full-pay paternity leave.

If your priorities are training and professional development, Harrahs Entertainment Inc. (No. 56) is a company to consider. In 2006, IT employees underwent an average of 65 hours of training, which amounts to about $3,500 per employee.

Harrahs also knows how to show appreciation for the successful completion of large projects. The company has famously completed six acquisitions in about the same number of years, placing the burden of smooth systems integration on ITs shoulders. At the end of those grueling projects, Harrahs launched a series of celebrations that included a dinner event in Memphis, with a private tour of the Graceland mansion; a luau-themed party at the Flamingo Las Vegas; a winery tour in Atlantic City; and a scavenger hunt at all IT locations, at which everyone received a one-time bonus check, with the total bonus outlay adding up to more than $5 million.

Community Involvement

Some of us want to give back to our communities, and that means finding a company that encourages community involvement. Charles Schwab & Co. (No. 53) is one of those places. It not only works to match employees with relevant volunteer activities, but it also hosts an annual service day, which resulted last year in 1,300 employees donating about 5,300 hours time in 49 service projects for 53 organizations in nine different locations. As part of the program, the company provided $54,000 worth of grants.

For the innovators among us, Discover offers an award program in which employees can win anywhere from $100 to $10,000 for identifying an opportunity for a new or improved product, service or process. In the past eight years, the company has paid out more than $1 million for innovations that have resulted in over $7 million in cost savings or sales gains. The adoption rate of employee submissions is 16%, and 11 employees have won the maximum prize. As an added bonus, Discover pays local, state and federal taxes on all awards.

So take your pick among the 100 Best Places to Work and partake of some of the best benefits in the IT profession. It would be hard to go wrong.

[Editor's note: Due to incorrect information received from the company, this story originally stated that Comerica Bank (No. 33 on the Best Places to Work in IT list) offers 12-week paternity leave at full pay. The company clarifies that it offers standard leave according to the Family and Medical Leave Act.]

Brandel is a Computerworld contributing writer. Contact her at marybrandel@verizon.net.

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Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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