Although benefits and salary are important aspects in any employment situation, the most important consideration in job satisfaction is how people are treated in the workplace, according to employees of Nevada’s Best Companies to Work For.
When asked why they enjoy going to work everyday, workers unanimously talk about corporate cultures that value everyone by promoting respect, independence and family values. Nominations for best companies were solicited through Nevada Business Journal’s Web site and were then surveyed and reviewed by Precision Opinion, a market research company in Las Vegas. Listed as winners for 2008, the following 12 companies exhibit outstanding employee environments.
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa
CEO: John Farahi
From its low-key beginnings as the Golden Road Motor Inn in the 1970s, with systematic expansion over the years, Atlantis Casino Resort Spa has blossomed into its role as one of Reno/Tahoe’s major resorts. Guests are accommodated in the 1,000 rooms and suites and are entertained in 51,000 square feet of casino space. Adjacent to the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, the resort is convenient for convention goers. The 1,800 employees enjoy competitive benefits along with a team approach as part of the corporate culture, according to Kathi Marr, food and beverage administrative assistant. “We’re part of a family and we all contribute to the success of the company,” she said.
Professional growth is encouraged with tuition reimbursements and morale is boosted through employee recognition programs. With 24-hour a day scheduling in most departments, the company is able to accommodate the majority of requests for flexible work hours.
“Atlantis has always been very helpful for anybody who has a crisis,” Marr explained. Community service is highly valued as employees are encouraged to volunteer for such events as the Relay 4 Life and Toys for Tots. “I like coming in because everybody is friendly and communicative. You feel you are part of something and not just getting a paycheck,” Marr said.
Managing Partner: John Bailey
Founded in 2001, Bailey Kennedy has become one of the state’s most successful law firms with a diverse practice that includes commercial litigation, appellate advocacy, administrative law, civil litigation and public entity defense. It represents healthcare facilities, gaming companies, publicly traded corporations and financial institutions.
The 24 employees of the firm enjoy a collegial and supportive atmosphere, according to legal administrator Alice O’Hearn, who has worked with the founder, John Bailey, since 1988. O’Hearn credits the partners for creating a culture that values everyone’s opinion and promotes a free exchange of ideas. “There’s no such thing as a stupid question or a closed door,” she explained. With lunch always provided by the company, employees are encouraged to interact on a regular basis. “Having lunch together everyday is the one thing that bonds us all,” she said. With opportunities for flex scheduling, especially to accommodate family issues, employees are treated as individuals. Benefits include employer-paid healthcare for employees and their dependents along with life and long-term disability insurance and a 401(k). O’Hearn has such positive feelings about the firm that she named her two greyhounds Bailey and Kennedy.
Clark County Credit Union
CEO: Wayne Tew
With around 39,000 members and six branches, Clark County Credit Union (CCCU) is a financial co-operative that has provided basic fiscal services to select Clark County employees since 1951. Treated as owners and not customers, members receive service that is designed to bridge a lifetime of association. Sheila Norris, a 62-year-old teller at CCCU, said she loves her job because she’s never worked where the atmosphere is so much like family. “We’re all equals and we respect each other,” she said. When she suffered an illness several years ago, Norris was especially touched by how supportive her fellow employees and management were. As she nears the end of a career that has included other work experience, she’s happy to go out with a bang at CCCU.
“It’s so exciting to end my work career on this note. God saved the best for last,” she said. CCCU employees enjoy generous healthcare benefits, 401(k) contributions and performance bonuses along with education and exercise programs.
Nevada Managing Partner: Larry Krause
As the U.S. member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, the company has more than 100 offices nationwide, with more than 8,000 CPAs accounting for nearly $10 billion in annual revenue. The company offers auditing, tax preparation, financial advisory and consulting to a wide variety of industries around the world.
With roots reaching back to London in 1898, the firm has operated on the forefront of modern accounting for more than 100 years. Its global presence and expansive benefits attract many of the best and brightest in the field of accounting. Shira Wood, regional resource manager in Las Vegas, said one of the high points of her 14-year career with the company was being able to work in Australia for four years. She also values flex scheduling, and has career customization which allows employees to accelerate or decelerate their career progress. “It’s a great place to be. We really do care for our people. They can drive their own careers,” she said. The 120 Las Vegas employees are encouraged to interact through community service and socialization and are enjoying a new environmentally-friendly office space. “I think we work really hard, but there are benefits that offset it,” Wood said.
Fair, Anderson & Langerman
Co-founders: Curt Anderson and Jill Langerman
Applying the resources of a large accounting firm with the personal touches of a smaller one allows Fair, Anderson & Langerman (FAL) to be both big enough and small enough to satisfy its diverse client base. In its day-to-day operations, the company focuses on its core values of honoring commitments, seeking intellectual growth, demonstrating goodwill, showing concern for clients and striving for professional excellence.
Founded in 1988, FAL offers generous benefits to its 32 employees such as immediate access to healthcare and paid time off upon hiring, $1,000 for personal growth each year, on-site exercise equipment and cash gifts on employment anniversaries. Morale is high partly due to the intensive hiring process which focuses on core values, according to Ronnie Sloan, president.
“Employee satisfaction starts with the first interview,” she explained. The ten percent who make it through the process to become employees are welcomed into the corporate culture through frequent staff meetings, interaction with management via catalytic coaching, a formal orientation process, personal journaling and a variety of social events to foster good communication. “We’re the best kept secret in accounting,” Sloan said.
First Security Bank of Nevada
CEO and President: Dave Moody
With two branches and around 20 employees in Las Vegas, First Security Bank of Nevada was organized by a group of experienced bankers in 2007. A full-service commercial bank offering business accounts and lending products among its services, First Security also emphasizes remote capture of data.
Having experienced bank mergers in their prior employment, the management of First Security has focused on bringing hands-on banking to its customers. The personal touch enjoyed by customers is also predominant with employees. “Senior management is the number one reason we’re here. They’re proactive in making our jobs easier,” said Jason Naugle, vice president of operations.
The company has an open door policy to facilitate communication and fosters a family-friendly environment through benefits and sensitivity to family issues. Naugle said he’s grateful for concerns expressed when his three-month-old daughter had heart surgery last year. “They were always asking me if I wanted time off,” he said. Even in a relatively new business, employees already feel vested, according to Naugle. “They have trust and faith in us and let us share in the success of the business,” he said.
Geotechnical & Environmental Services, Inc.
President: Greg DeSart
As experts on the soil and ground water conditions in the Las Vegas Valley, Geotechnical & Environmental Services, Inc. (GES) has provided consulting to public and private clients for more than 15 years. With a focus on the future as well as the present, the company offers geotechnical and environmental engineering, materials testing, construction inspection and drilling. Clients can expect quick response times because GES owns its own laboratory which is certified by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. The 50 employees enjoy a challenging work environment that emphasizes staff development and good communication. “It’s comforting to come here. It’s the best job I’ve ever had and I’ve worked a lot of places,” said Felicia Sanders, a technical assistant. As a grandmother of eight, she especially appreciates the support she was given when each of the children arrived.
Along with many traditional benefits, GES offers a home loan program which has made home ownership possible for many employees, according to Sanders. GES also shares information with employees through a program which enables everyone to see how the company is doing. Like many workers, Sanders expects to be around for awhile. “Ever since my interview two and a half years ago, it’s gotten better,” she said.
Holland & Hart
Management Committee Chair: John M. Husband
The largest law firm in the Mountain West, Holland & Hart, which recently merged with Hale Lane Peek Dennison and Howard, began as a small firm founded in Denver by Steve Hart and Joe Holland. Its 14 offices in seven states and Washington, D.C. include a presence in Las Vegas and Reno. Dedicated to providing long-term client relationships, the firm offers personalized service to individuals and businesses of all sizes. Its broad-based practice areas include business, litigation, natural resources and specifics industries, such as mining, water quality and space law. Recognizing the importance of a dynamic work environment, the company fosters personal growth for all its employees.
“People are treated with respect,” said Las Vegas-based Greg Gilbert, administrative partner of the Nevada offices. “We have an atmosphere of inclusion.” Showcasing the value placed on employees, the lengthy list of benefits includes all the expected perks along with adoption leave, unlimited sick leave, wellness programs and paternity leave. Through individual involvement and the Holland & Hart Foundation the firm is strongly committed to community service. “It’s critical that every member contributes pro bono time,” Gilbert said.
Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce
CEO: Kara Kelley
Since 1911 the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce has been a major player in the economic climate in Southern Nevada, with its wealth of programs that promote, strengthen and support business. Boasting more than 7,000 members, the chamber is the largest business organization in Nevada. Serving as a model to the businesses they interact with, the chamber strives to be a dynamic, psychologically healthy and productive workplace for its 65 employees.
In addition to a complete benefits package, an awards program enhances performance and boosts morale, according to Cara Roberts, public relations director. “The whole idea is not only to honor employees, but to get everybody thinking about going the extra mile,” she said. The chamber’s new environmentally-friendly offices were designed with significant employee input. “I felt ownership the moment we moved in. There’s a tremendous amount of pride,” Roberts explained.
Nathan Adelson Hospice
CEO: Carole Fisher
As the only non-profit hospice program in Southern Nevada, Nathan Adelson Hospice provides support for patients who have a terminal illness and life expectancy that is measured in weeks or months, rather than years. Operating from four locations, services include hospice care, pain management and spiritual support. In conjunction with The Center for Compassionate Care, Nathan Adelson offers bereavement counseling and education for the healthcare industry at its Swenson Street location.
With 300 paid employees and 200 volunteers, the company strives to foster good communication, according to Janet Stice, senior director of human resources. “One of the major reasons people leave jobs is because they don’t feel appreciated,” she explained. Employees are encouraged to get together at a variety of social events and are recognized during appreciation weeks and personal holidays. “The morale is shockingly high,” Stice said. Staff meetings are mandatory and employees frequently meet with supervisors to discuss improvements. Because of the nature of their work, employees are aware of the impact they have on other people’s lives. “We see such life and death situations with each other that the staff also rallies around each other,” Stice said.
CEO: David LaPlante
As a superb example of today’s innovative technology companies, Twelve Horses has become a recognized leader in the fast-paced Web business field since its founding in 1995 in Reno by CEO David LaPlante. In the spirit of the mythical creatures for which the business is named, the company empowers its clients through interactive communication solutions. With a roster of 45 employees, Twelve Horses specializes in relationship marketing and messaging from its headquarters in Reno and offices in Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Phoenix and Tampa. Clients are scattered around the country and include small, medium-sized and Fortune 500 companies. Although she enjoys the company’s generous benefits, Leilani Schweitzer, social marketing manager, said she especially appreciates the overall corporate culture and flex scheduling. As a single mom, Schweitzer does a lot of work virtually. “There’s beauty in being able to work in my pajamas,” she said. Schweitzer also said she thrives on the creative environment that sets employees up to succeed, rather than fail. “It’s the best group I’ve ever been around because they’re all very smart and positive,” she explained. As she continues to grow along with other high-energy, creative employees, she looks forward to a long relationship with the company. “So much of our lives is spent working so it’s important to be in the best place,” she said.
CEO: Brent Wright
From a fledging business with ten employees founded in 1997 by Brent Wright and Daniel Bartlett, Wright Engineers has grown to 130 employees and offices in Las Vegas, Phoenix, Salt Lake City and Irvine. The company focuses on structural, civil, mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering along with LEED certified sustainable designs. Corporate culture at Wright values community involvement with the company volunteering expertise and man hours to community events and projects. Because the success of the firm relies upon its people, they are rewarded with employer-paid benefits which include retirement and profit sharing along with healthcare for themselves and their dependents.
When Leonard Ratliff, project manager, saw babies and dogs at workers’ desks, he realized it was a special place. “I’ve found the culture very different from any place I’ve ever been. They make it easier to come to work than to stay home,” he said. “The real secret to happiness for the employees is respect,” he said.