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10 Heartwarming Employee Stories You Won't Believe

Michael C. Bush  

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Michael C. Bush

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March 29, 2017

10 Heartwarming Employee Stories You Won't Believe

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Great Place to Work is no stranger to exceptional employers.

Yet sometimes even we are caught off-guard by the moving tales of compassion and authentic generosity shared by employees about their companies.

This year, we had the chance to spotlight workplaces that are going above and beyond to turn company into family. For the first time ever, we partnered with People Magazine to recognize the 50 Companies that Care.

These 50 companies stood out by building a culture of caring, commitment, and extraordinary generosity towards their employees and their larger communities. In addition to our usual employee Trust Index® survey results, we looked for examples of community involvement, caring relationships between staff, exceptional investment in employee development, encouragement of work/life balance and flexibility, special programs for veterans and more.

The list goes on. These companies offer incredible examples of what Great Place to Work knows so well – at the heart of every great workplace are caring relationships between people.

Here are just a few stories from the winning companies. We think the employee comments speak for themselves.

1. Employees Helping Employees at CHG Healthcare Services

Staff at CHG Healthcare Services chip in to a fund that donates tax-free grants to colleagues facing natural disasters and other hardships.

“The tornado completely destroyed my home and almost everything in it,” recalls one employee. “We were not injured, but we were in total shock when we assessed the damages. My co-workers jumped into action the moment they heard that one of their own had been hit. I received personal calls from colleagues, and even the VP and president, reassuring me that I had nothing to worry about, offering to put me up in a hotel and making sure I had clothes and essentials. My team also watched over my business as I got things settled and helped spread the word of the destruction, which led to a full company charity. I was receiving gifts and money, not only for me but for my friend’s family and kids who lived with us. It was amazing how everyone pulled together to take care of us.”

2. The Container Store: “Walking the Talk”

While the retail sector has a well-earned reputation for financial instability among its workforce, salaries for full-time Container Store employees average $47,000, and all part-timers can access health benefits.

As one team member puts it, “What makes The Container Store different and unique from most, if not all, retail companies, is our approach to business. We put our customers first, both our internal and external customers. We, as a company and as leaders within the organization, are here to serve our employees, our customers and our stakeholders. We take a sensible and realistic approach to business practices and expectations so we accomplish what we say we are going to do. In other words, we WALK THE TALK.”

3. Compassion in Crisis at David Weekley Homes

The largest privately held builder in the U.S. still sticks by the values of its founders. One colleague compares the atmosphere to that of a large family, adding that when a child was in the hospital, an executive only asked, “’What I was doing at work.’ I am part-time and did not want to cause any discomfort at the office (people were out on vacation) and he said I was not to worry about that. They would call in a temp and that I was to get back to the hospital and just take care of her.”

4. Robust Retirement from Navy Federal Credit Union

Employees express gratitude for a bevy of perks at Navy Federal. Among them, a benefits package helps build a sense of security about retirement. “In addition to a wide array of insurance options, the company completely pays for short-term and long-term disability and also provides both a retirement pension (vested after only two years) and a 401(k) retirement plan with contributions up to 7 percent matched 100 percent,” says one employee.

5. Giving Back at Autodesk

Four days of PTO for volunteering every month is just the beginning at this software firm.

“Our six-week sabbatical program every four years is amazing!” says one colleague. “This year I volunteered on a high school trip to Europe chaperoning 18 kids on a WWII Holocaust educational experience though Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. It was a long but AMAZING experience that I wouldn't have been able to do without Autodesk's volunteer time. Along with that, for every 10 hours I volunteer, Autodesk gives me a $100 donation card to give to the charity of my choice! Autodesk has also ramped up our LGBT and other diversity programs, which makes me really proud.”

6. Roche Diagnostics: Family-Focused

Colleagues call out this medical equipment company’s emphasis on work-life balance and programs to assist working parents.

Among them, one co-worker notes, “Every summer a YMCA day camp (Camp Roche) is available here on campus in the employee park for kids ranging in age from five to 15. This is such a unique program. The kids are taken swimming three times a week, to an off-site field trip once a week, and plenty of other activities to keep them busy and active their entire summer. My kids love it, and I love knowing that they are having fun, making friends and enjoying their summer.”

7. QuikTrip: Turning Jobs into Careers

This chain fills all store manager positions internally while offering extensive career counseling and tuition reimbursement.

“Everyone here has helped develop me as an employee, and as a person outside of work,” a team member says. “I've now been given the opportunity to train and help develop all the new faces that walk through the door. QuikTrip is more than a team – we're family. QT was my first job. I've been here four years already, and it feels good knowing I could make a career here.”

8. Ambition Meets Compassion at Kimley-Horn

This planning and engineering firm offers all employees the same robust benefits package enjoyed by the CEO.

Says one colleague caring for a seriously ill spouse: “Kimley-Horn's exceptional healthcare benefits are a major reason he is still alive. In addition to the actual medical benefits, the firm has allowed me to have flexibility to take him to treatments, procedures, etc. Both management and my co-workers have exhibited caring and supportive attitudes…I work very hard, putting in long hours. But when I need it, the flexibility is there.”

9. Capital One: Committed to Veterans

Employees confirm that Capital One’s generosity for people in the armed forces goes even beyond the company’s extensive military hiring and related charitable giving.

“I’m an Army officer in the New York State National Guard. Capital One has been nothing but supportive of my service. I have no problem taking leave when I need it, and the company still pays me for those days. I’m never made to feel as though I have to give up my military service in order to have a bright future here. And no one ever complains of being made to pick up my slack because I was away. It’s really nice to know that Capital One values what I do and that they support me in it,” an employee says.

10. Total Support at SAS

The North Carolina campus of this software creator boasts nearly every perk an employee might want, with an onsite pool, medical center, hair salon, masseuse and even a world-class collection of fine art.

As one team member recalls, though, the company’s support goes much deeper than creature comforts: “When my mother was diagnosed with an aggressive terminal cancer, SAS was my unexpected safe haven during the storm. I had access to resources I didn't know I needed: a sympathetic knowledgeable elder-care counselor, a ‘caring closet’ of medical equipment, a healthcare provider that hugged me every single time I cried. My manager went above and beyond to shift my work so that I could temporarily work out of my mother's home. My department sent notes, cards, flowers and unconditional love when she passed just one month ago. When I returned to work, I was welcomed with open arms and open hearts. It was more than comforting. It was overwhelmingly beautiful. Where else can you work and be reassured you did the right thing by ensuring your mother's last months were happy? That's more than a great place to work, that's an amazing place to happily give your talents, time and gratitude!”

Michael C. Bush
Michael C. Bush

Michael is the CEO of Great Place to Work for All®. Great Place to Work for All® serves over 10,000 companies a year in over 50 countries. Previously he served as President of the8Factors, an online learning organization, as well as CEO of Clark Sustainable Resource Developments, and CEO of Tetra Tech Communications which he grew from $40 million to $300 million in revenues. Michael is a founding board member of the private equity seed-fund, Fund Good Jobs, and taught entrepreneurship courses at Stanford University and Mills College. Michael is also a member of President Obama's White House Business Council..