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Ogling Google: Best practices from Fortune’s ‘100 Best’ list

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Google is just eight years old, but it beat out a slew of old-timers last month to snag the No. 1 spot on Fortune magazine’s list of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.”

Reason: Google involves employees at all levels in its quest for new and better products, promotes the professional growth of its staff and pays for stellar performance. Plus, its benefits are to die for.

Among Google’s perks: tuition reimbursement up to $8,000 a year; on-site medical and dental clinics; 27 days of paid leave after one year of employment; paid leave to attend school; unlimited sick leave; conveniences like bike repairs, valet parking, free washing machines and free meals.

These perks may be out of reach for your organization, but you can learn from the other 99 best companies, most of which share these characteristics:

  • Flexibility in work time and place.
  • A diverse work force.
  • Providing learning opportunities for employees.
  • Being supportive of employees with families.
  • Encouraging communication with executives by all employees.
  • Being democratic in terms of employee stock ownership.
  • Encouraging employees to socialize by hosting parties and celebrations.

Some of the winners’ most unique perks include:

  • Methodist Hospital System gave every employee a $250 gas card in 2006.
  • Quicken Loans lets its Michigan-based employees ride company-sponsored buses to basketball games.
  • Arnold & Porter pays $15,000 to an employee who recommends a successful new hire.
  • Microsoft offers free grocery delivery and will match employee charitable contributions up to $12,000.
  • AstraZeneca employees can obtain company-brand prescription drugs for free.

How to apply for next year’s list If your organization has at least 1,000 U.S. employees and is at least seven years old, you could be eligible for next year’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list. The deadline to submit your nomination is March 31.

Visit www.greatplacetowork.com for a “100 Best” nomination form and to learn about the “50 Best  Small and Medium Companies” list.

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