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Some head-turning benefits at our Best Places to Work

Computerworld | Jun 17, 2019

Want to attract top tech talent to your company? Find out what benefits the 100 organizations on Computerworld’s Best Places to Work in IT list are offering.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

For the 26th year we’re pleased to present Computerworld’s list of the 100 Best Places to Work in IT.
We’ve always been impressed by the comprehensive and innovative benefits that are offered by the organizations that make our list,
but it’s worth noting that those impressive perks aren’t limited to the organizations at the very top.
Every organization on our list does something extraordinary in the interest of attracting and retaining the best talent.
To give you an idea of the broad range of benefits that these organizations are providing, let’s take a look at a few of them from throughout our list.
We can’t tell you everything that all these organizations are doing for the employees, but the banners on screen will give you some idea of how pervasive really great benefits are at our Best Places to Work in IT.

Let’s start by looking at tuition reimbursement.
Investment company Vanguard provides up to $9,000 per year reimbursement for tuition and books to employees enrolled in most undergraduate or technical school programs, graduate-level courses related to an employee’s specific job, accelerated undergraduate and graduate programs, and online courses.

At IT consultant Sev1Tech, it’s $10,000, with similar requirements.

At Aflac, employees who remain three years after graduation can have tuition covered at 100% for job-related degree offerings at qualifying universities.
Automotive services company Holman Enterprises offers 100% tuition reimbursement for ALL outside education and certification programs.

And some organizations, including Vanguard and Mitre, have programs to help pay off student loans for employees who arrive with college debt.

It’s not unusual for Best Places to offer reimbursement for technology certifications that amounts to thousands of dollars. At National Information Solutions Cooperative, the total is $25,000. That’s a lifetime cap, but that’s still a lot of training!

One benefits area that is getting more attention is maternity and paternity leave.
Some Best Places don’t offer any paid option. But 84% provide full pay to new mothers for at least one week, and 10% extend that period to more than 15 weeks. When it comes to paternity leave, 79% of Best Places offer full pay for at least a week, and 2% for more than 15 weeks.
At professional services firm Plante Moran, for example, new moms are eligible for 12 weeks of leave at 100% pay. That comprises 6 weeks of disability pay and 6 weeks of parental leave benefits.

If birth involves a Caesarean section, the mother can receive an additional 2 weeks of partial disability pay.

All new parents, including adoptive parents, who meet the eligibility criteria are offered 6 weeks of parental leave benefits at 100% pay.

And additional unpaid time off is also available.

As support for work/life balance has grown in importance as a means of attracting employees, so has the amount of maternity and paternity leave offered. .

IT security company KnowBe4, for instance, recently introduced parental leave for fathers and increased paid parental leave from 3 to 8 weeks.

OK, let’s look a bit at retirement plans.

Best Places are nearly universal in offering 401k or 403b plans — 97% of them do so.
And many offer profit sharing or an employee stock ownership program, with the idea that it fosters alignment between the goals of employees and shareholders.

That’s been the philosophy for decades at manufacturer Worthington Industries, which first instituted profit sharing in 1966.
Worthington also provides a generous contribution to 401k plans. Between the company match and company contribution, it contributes up to 5% of eligible wages.

You want training? Best Places offer an average of 9 training days per year for their IT employees.
That’s pretty good, but it’s the average. What would you say to being allowed to take a day of training every week? IT service management company Cloud for Good’s training limit is 52 days per year.
Not good enough? Several organizations on our list have no set maximum for training days.

At the NCAA, the CIO recently doubled the MINIMUM number of required training hours per year.
He ensures that all staff are ITIL-certified.

He sends staff to major conferences all over the U.S., not just local training classes.

He also gives every IT employee an IT research subscription.

Our survey of Best Places employees tells us that they love all that their organizations do for them, but they also love it when they and their employer do things for others, together.

Many Best Places sponsor community outreach programs.

Biotech company Illumina is not unusual among Best Places in giving employees 16 hours of paid time off for volunteer activities each calendar year.

Volunteerism is important at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina as well.
In 2018, it offered employees more than 100 corporate-sponsored volunteer opportunities, from building a house with Habitat for Humanity to packaging food at local food banks.

Since 1997, its employees have logged 431,000 hours of volunteer time.

One stand-out example of commitment to employees on this year’s list is MetroStar.
As a government IT contractor, it was impacted by the government shutdown. Employees working on one major and several smaller government IT projects were unable to report to work, but they were paid in full during the 35 days of the shutdown.

The company reports that the leadership team was preparing to take a pay cut of 25% to 50% in order to pay avoid laying off staff, and several other employees volunteered to take a day or two of leave without pay to help support their colleagues.

Those above-and-beyond measures weren’t implemented only because the shutdown ended before they were necessary.

We wish we could tell you more about all of our Best Places.
We don’t have time enough, and some of the great things they do can’t be easily classified.

Like the $8 haircuts that Worthington has been offering employees since 1961.

Or the NCAA’s annual Star Wars day, when everyone in IT goes together to see the latest installment.
And, yes, they choose another movie if no Star Wars movies are coming out. This year it was Aquaman.

Year after year, we continue to be impressed by the breadth and variety of benefits offered by organizations on Computerworld’s list of 100 Best Places to Work in IT.

Please be sure to check out more about them in our online package.
Thanks for watching!
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