100 Best Places to Work In IT

Imaginative perks sweeten the pot. But hard-to-achieve basics like leading technologies, personal investment and a sense of fulfillment are what will make IT employees stay put in a changing economy. This year's top 100 companies have figured out how to give workers the substance along with the frills.

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Unfortunately, just 62% of survey respondents said they feel their jobs are secure. General Mills attempts to quell those fears through its minimal use of contractors. "For a company our size, we outsource very little and use contractors on a limited basis," Semmer says. "We're effective and efficient because we hire the best out of college and develop and promote our staff from within."

SCE uses selective offshoring to maintain employee confidence in the future. For the past eight years, the company has outsourced some of its commodity IT functions, preserving its strategic IT functions for its own staff. It had no layoffs in 2003.

"We scale using suppliers, so we don't have employees at jeopardy," Collins says. "It makes employees feel like it's a stable company."

Hothouse Flowers

There are some who contend you can't create best-place conditions -- you can only encourage them to grow. "You can't engineer a great place to work," Glen says. "It's like creating a bubble in the chaos of the universe that's inherently unstable and needs to be constantly remade."

Worse, a lot of companies may falsely believe they're a great place to work because people aren't leaving, says DeMarco. "But when the market turns, these people are suddenly going to be gone."

The best a company can do is follow the example of the Best Places to Work, particularly in fostering an environment that allows IT workers to make their mark. "We've been hiring senior managers, and when we ask them what attracted them, it was the opportunity to make a difference," Collins says. "We have a lot of work to do, and we want to do it in an innovative way." Brandel is a freelance writer in Grand Rapids, Mich. Contact her at mary.brandel@comcast.net.

Special Report

100 Best Places to Work in IT 2004

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Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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