First Place: STAYING IN TOUCH
Word travels fast at The Everett Clinic. In fact, there’s really no excuse for being uninformed if you’re an employee at this 87-year-old, multispecialty group practice. The company has made communication a priority in the form of regular CEO video addresses, a monthly newsletter, monthly lunch meetings between frontline workers and the CEO, and an all-clinic blog that drives open communication among senior leadership, doctors and staff.
The company leaders’ Wednesdays are sacred. No meetings are booked that day to allow executive-suite members to head into the workplace and meet with employees. They’re looking for feedback and ways to improve, says CEO Rick Cooper, and the best way to do that is to ask the people who work there.
The higher-ups hear it all—especially on the company blog, which doesn’t censor employee posts, no matter how controversial. They listen, too. A number of far-reaching changes have come from employee suggestions. The clinic expanded its processes to reduce waste and improve efficiency after employees said they wanted less “busywork.”
Requests for more performance feedback were met with a new program that helps clarify expectations, recognizes positive performance, and trains managers and supervisors in that area.
The Everett Clinic has grown considerably since it was founded in 1924 by three physicians. Today, it cares for 280,000 people at eight locations throughout Snohomish County. It employs 307 physicians and nearly 1,700 staff, and provides a variety of different outpatient services beyond primary care, including surgery, diagnostic imaging, walk-in clinics and optical services.
The clinic focuses on promoting from within and relies heavily on employee referrals. Nearly half of all open positions are filled internally, leaving plenty of room for mobility.
Human resources assistant Theresa Opstrup joined The Everett Clinic seven years ago, recruited by her mother and sister. She has since brought her father and husband on board, along with several friends. Opstrup has been impressed with senior leaders’ willingness to listen to employees and find solutions.
“If you are unhappy, you can talk to someone about it,” says Opstrup. “Their first question is, ‘How can we fix it?’” —Sheila Bacon Cain
Second Place: MISSION CONTROL
With almost 900 workers in Washington state alone, F5 Networks is one of the Seattle area’s largest and most sought-after tech employers. The company, which develops software that improves the performance, efficiency and security with which web information is stored in data centers, is under contract to major corporations around the world, including 41 of the Fortune 50. Its workforce may be one of the world’s happiest—possibly because of the 4 percent match on employee 401(k) plans, or the on-site massages and ergonomic consultations, or the three-tiered system that allows employees to recognize each other for jobs well done. Maybe it’s all that and more. —Nick Horton
Third Place: BUILDING A REPUTATION
As one of the building industry’s first adopters of the DBOM (design, build, operate and maintain) philosophy, McKinstry has long been known as an innovative company. Founded in 1960, the Seattle-based firm has grown into a national powerhouse with more than 1,600 employees, most of whom count themselves among the most satisfied workers in their field. Credit their contentment to an industry-best benefits package that features full medical coverage including vision and dental, comprehensive wellness and employee-assistance programs, ongoing professional training at McKinstry University and generous vacation time. —N.H.