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Edward Jones Tops FORTUNE List of 100 Best Companies to Work For; Moves Up From Ninth Place On Last Year's List; Container Store is at No. 2 Spot

Submitted by: Fortune

Categories: Human Resources & Diversity1

Posted: Jan 20, 2002 – 11:00 PM EST


Jan. 20 /CSRwire/ - Edward Jones, the St. Louis-based stockbroker with "small town values," tops FORTUNE's annual list of 100 Best Companies to Work For.

Despite a difficult year, the company had no layoffs, and bonuses were granted early to help brokers hurt by trading decline. 97% of the employees at Edward Jones praise management's honesty.

Rounding out the top five in FORTUNE's fifth annual ranking are The Container Store (No. 2), which in the previous two years has held the No. 1 spot, and where employees remain enthusiastic about good pay, great benefits, and respect; SAS Institute (No. 3), which provides superlative child-care centers for a $250 monthly fee and a huge fitness center used by nearly 80% of its employees; TDIndustries (No. 4), an employee-owned company that provides great training to new hires and an above-par sick-pay plan; and Synovus Financial (No. 5), among the top ten on the list for four straight years, and which has had no layoffs in 114 years. The complete rankings and accompanying stories appear in the February 4, 2002 issue of FORTUNE, as well as at www.fortune.com/bestcompanies beginning 10:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday, January 22. Also available at www.fortune.com/bestcompanies will be exclusive features: The Best Companies for Women, The Top Ten Companies in Europe, and Find the Best Company for You, a quiz to help job hunters.

In this time of cuts and layoffs, what qualities must a company possess to make FORTUNE's list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For? One quality is a willingness to come up with new ways to keep employees satisfied, and to treat them with respect and dignity. That approach explains why 80 companies on the list avoided layoffs last year; 47 even report that they have some kind of "official or unofficial" policy barring layoffs. When layoffs did happen, companies on the list offered generous severance and compassion during the layoff process. And that compassion was even more evident after September 11, when the response to the tragedy from the companies on the list was extraordinary.

Furthermore, few of the 100 Best nixed seemingly frilly perks, such as free coffee. Why? "Simple," say Robert Levering and Milton Moskowitz of the Great Place to Work Institute, who put together the list and wrote the introductory essay. "No matter how rough the economy, retaining top talent is a huge issue. In fact, losing people in key positions during downturns can be disastrous. So if it makes a bit of difference, why bag the free cuppa joe?"

The 100 Best Companies to Work For are chosen from an ever-growing pool of candidates. This year 279 companies applied, up from 234 last year. Two-thirds of the score is based on how randomly selected employees respond to the Great Place to Work Trust Index, a survey instrument measuring the quality of workplace culture. The remainder of the score is based on the evaluation of company responses to the Institute's Culture Audit. Of the 100 companies on the list, 20 were not on the list last year, while 28 have been on the list since its inception five years ago.

In an accompanying story, "How to Cut Pay, Lay Off 8,000 People, and Still Have Workers Who Love You," FORTUNE's Dan Roth looks at Agilent (no. 31) and at how it has handled downsizing. "It had worked hard on the way up to gain its employees' trust," says Roth. "But on the way down, Agilent has also made a series of smart moves involving good management, good planning, and most of all, empathy." And as Roth reports, letting employees go in a humane fashion isn't just about finding a way for executives to sleep at night. Bad downsizing, which management experts argue is the norm, is bad business.


1. Edward Jones (St. Louis, MO)
2. Container Store (Dallas, TX)
3. SAS Institute (Cary, NC)
4. TDIndustries (Dallas, TX)
5. Synovus Financial (Columbus, GA)
6. Xilinx (San Jose, CA)
7. Plante & Moran (Southfield, MI)
8. Qualcomm (San Diego, CA)
9. Alston & Bird (Atlanta, GA)
10. Baptist Health Care (Pensacola, FL)

For more information, please contact:

Carrie Welch FORTUNE
Phone: (212) 522-6724


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