Which Manufacturers Are the Best to Work For?

brick exterior of a factory buildingEach year, Fortune Magazine releases a carefully compiled list of the 100 best companies to work for. How do they determine which companies those are? Is it all dependent on perks and salary? Author Robert Levering notes that “eye-popping perks are only the tip of the iceberg. What really makes a workplace a great place to work are the people practices that forge trust across the enterprise. That’s the kind of thing that doesn’t show up on company benefits lists.”

Fortune usually breaks down the type of companies on the list into a graph. As usual, professional services top the list, with 20 companies in the professional services that are some of the best to work for. However, it might surprise people that a number of manufacturing companies on the list beat out some traditionally “trendy” industries like advertising, marketing, and media. There were six manufacturers on the list this year (though that doesn’t include companies in the IT, biotech, and pharma industries, almost all of which involved manufacturing).

Here are three of the manufacturers who ranked highly on Fortune’s list this year, as well as some additional details about what they do and who they are.

  1. L. Gore & Associates: Headquartered in Newark, Delaware, the maker of Gore-Tex and Glide dental floss also manufactures consumer products, fabrics, fibers, filtration products, and more; they’ve got their touch in almost every conceivable industry. Why did they end up as number 12 on the list? Well, they host celebrations for business milestones, have dedicated fun committees, and raise money for a philanthropic fund. Last year, the company contributed the equivalent of 12% of pay to the associates’ stock-ownership plan, with another 3% to their 401(k) accounts as a gift, not a match, for a total contribution of 15% of pay. Those are almost unprecedented numbers—and extraordinary gifts for their employees.
  2. Stryker: Stryker, a medical device and product manufacturer, made it to number 21 on the list, thanks to their 12,579 employees. (And hey, they have 1,348 jobs open right now!) Part of the reason that the company made the list is because they encourage a connection between their employees and the products they make: “To make sure employees understand how the companies medical device products are used, Stryker encourages them to observe surgeries and attend trade shows and ride along with sales reps during meetings with customers, as well as hear patient stories.” They’ve also made the list of Fortune’s most admired companies, Gallup’s great companies, and Med Rep’s best places to work, so we’d say there’s a pretty strong consensus.
  3. Hilcorp: Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Hilcorp is one of the largest privately-held oil and natural gas exploration and production companies in the United States. Best of all, five years ago CEO Jeff Hildebrand proclaimed that if the company reached several daunting goals like doubling their equity value, he was going to give everyone $100,000. They reached the goals, and employees received personalized suitcases with their checks. Now, that’s a pretty good return on investment…

What’s important to you when selecting where you want to work? Let us know by leaving a comment in the section below!

photo credit: Every day is like Sunday via photopin (license)