100 Best Companies to Work For 2013: Large Companies

| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 

RANK: First Place COMPANY: Slalom Consulting, Seattle

Building a Sense of Community
When it comes to projects, there’s almost nothing that Slalom Consulting can’t handle. The firm’s 525 Washington-based employees can schuss and carve among sectors as wide-ranging as advanced infrastructure, health care and SAP. That agility makes Slalom an invaluable resource for dozens of local clients, including Microsoft, BECU and Group Health Cooperative.

Slalom is agile in the physical sense, too. Its workforce is among the most active in the Puget Sound region, with outdoors-oriented people at all levels. Each year, Slalom sends a huge delegation to the Seattle Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon, and the company is an annual sponsor of the Tour de Cure, a fundraising series of bicycling events that benefit the American Diabetes Association.

In an industry that is notoriously all-consuming, with relentless traveling required, Brian Jacobsen, general manager of Slalom’s Seattle headquarters, says his co-workers pull it off “because we’re local.” He adds: “We’re in our own beds at night and we’re able to build that sense of community.”

Slalom’s local focus is as clear as ever. While it now employs more than 2,000 individuals in 11 cities across North America, nearly all of them serve local firms and volunteer for local charities.

Service is big at Slalom. Slalom.org, the firm’s employee-led philanthropic arm, donates more than $50,000 each year to local nonprofits. Tenured consultants are eligible for the Philanthropic Fellow Program, which allows them to provide up to three months of probono service to a nonprofit while Slalom compensates them at 75 percent of their regular salary.

Employees also enjoy an innovative mentoring program, a four-week sabbatical after three years of employment, competitive compensation and paid time off, and comprehensive health care benefits. And then there’s Vamoose, Slalom’s annual three-day, off-site retreat.

RANK: Second Place
COMPANY: Baker Boyer Bank, Walla Walla

Some things happen every summer in Washington state: Fourth of July fireworks over Lake Union, the Seattle-to-Portland bicycle ride and Baker Boyer Bank’s annual appearance in Washington’s 100 Best Companies to Work For listing. For the eighth consecutive year, the Walla Walla bank has earned a spot near the top of our list, thanks to its continued emphasis on employee health and wellness, leadership development and open communication. At 144 years of age, Baker Boyer Bank has never looked better.

RANK: Third Place
COMPANY: Synapse Product Development, Seattle

When Fortune 500 companies need to design a groundbreaking piece of technology, they turn to the engineering wizards at Synapse Product Development, which has created everything from iPad point-of-sale cases to bamboo beverage containers. Its client list includes such titans of manufacturing as Nike, Microsoft, Boeing, Philips and GE. Synapse knows how to play hard, too, with an industry-best PTO policy, an annual competition that challenges employees to bike or walk to work, and an office stocked with a climbing wall, a “high-five zone” and four kinds of beer on tap (all for Friday afternoons, of course). Synapse balances work and life with ease.

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