Great Places to Work
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Let’s be honest: In light of recent economic woes and high unemployment, many people would say that any place that continues to provide a steady paycheck is a great place to work.
While we would certainly be hard-pressed to argue with that, we would like to suggest that there are employers out there who go beyond simple compensation in exchange for a job well done. In fact, there are many companies that have actively developed strong employee-centric cultures and have ardently striven to create a positive work-life balance for each one of their employees.
In researching this article, we have learned that determining what makes a good workplace is a very subjective process. Where one person will rave about the generous compensation and benefits, a second will suggest that the key to happiness is on-site day care and in-office amenities, while a third favors flex time and telecommuting options. As such, it’s a sure bet that there will be people out there who will see their company listed here and roll their eyes while others in the same office will smile and nod approvingly. Such is life.
In compiling this list, we have considered a variety of business types and sizes (with a minimum of 50 employees in Connecticut); we also have tried to present a wide range of workplace environments, from high-tech manufacturers and health-care facilities to financial institutions and retail operations. We have also tried to include organizations that have been growing in recent years and may currently be hiring. Not coincidentally, the majority of the companies listed here seem to be enjoying success. In addition to doing well in terms of the bottom line, the same positive characteristics also kept coming up repeatedly—a feeling at these places that goes beyond great benefits and generous compensation.
We should also mention that we generated our list independently—unlike some similar articles you may have seen in other publications, there were no fees or applications in our editorial process. We researched numerous sources, queried multiple business experts and employment professionals, and simply got out and talked to people about companies they’d heard were good to work for. We then investigated each company in depth before including them here.
Are all these companies idyllic corporate Shangri-las where there are no bad days, jerky bosses or stressful times? Of course not. But overall, for many different reasons, it’s been agreed that these are among the better places to be employed in Connecticut.
(Note: These are not rankings; companies are listed alphabetically.)
Connecticut employees: 7,451
Business type: Insurance
Why is it a great place to work? In the more than 150 years since Aetna was founded in Hartford, the insurance giant has been among the leading companies in the state, especially in terms of workplace environments—it has been repeatedly lauded as a top company for female executives, workplace diversity (including lesbian, gay and transgender equality), and boasts a 96 percent retention rate in Connecticut. Earlier this year, the company consolidated its Middletown operations into its refurbished and expanded Hartford campus, which features one of the largest cafeterias in the country; many who didn’t physically move have been allowed to telecommute. Aetna also focuses on creating a positive work-life balance, with flexible hours, part-time work, compressed schedules and job sharing, and offers competitive benefits such as an employee stock-purchase option. The company also provides services like personal financial counseling and strongly promotes wellness, backed by an on-site clinic and pharmacy as well as a fitness center that has a range of personal training, group exercise classes and weight-management programs.
Connecticut employees: 300
Business type: Pharmaceuticals
Why is it a great place to work? Like many bioscience companies, Alexion spent much of its early existence just struggling to stay in business. But since finding success with Soliris—a treatment for rare and life-threatening blood disorders—and gaining approval for international distribution in 30 countries, the company has been experiencing tremendous growth: Last year net sales exceeded $380 million. The good news is that Alexion is now a global company, but it is still small enough to act quickly and with minimal bureaucracy, which makes for a collegial and stimulating working atmosphere. Also because of the rapid growth, it is recruiting for positions across the board, and can offer very competitive compensation and robust benefits in addition to giving employees the satisfaction of helping people with rare disorders who untl now couldn’t be treated. The company is also eco-conscious, having installed a 295-kilowatt photovoltaic solar power array and upgraded their Cheshire headquarters to LEED-building standards, as well as promoting on-site recycling programs, encouraging carpooling and offering telecommuting opportunities.