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Charting the rock star companies of 2011 with more than 100 employees.

Getting to know the distinguishing qualities of B.C.'s top employers.

At the end of the day, it’s not the games lounges and the karaoke parties that bring them back each Monday morning. It’s not even the handsome pay packets. When we asked employees what keeps them truly invested in their work, we found that the core motivators are actually quite simple – a sense of worth and a feeling of connection.

These are the province's best companies with more than 100 employees.


1. Chemistry Consulting Group Inc.

Victoria | Professional Services & Communications | 107 employees
Founded in 2006, Chemistry Consulting is a business and human resource consulting firm with a niche focus in the tourism and hospitality sectors. A common theme among employee comments in this year’s Best Companies survey is that staff are given the tools for their job, and the flexibility to do their best. “I am trusted to do the work that I was hired to do,” notes one participant. “With this trust I am never micromanaged, but rather am supported to share my ideas; and they are valued as much as management ideas.”


2. 1-800-Got-Junk?

Vancouver | Consumer Services | 120 employees

This full-service trash removal company ensures clients get the best service by providing outstanding training to its employees. “I enjoy how thoroughly I was trained prior to actually doing the job,” notes one employee; “a lot of places throw you out there and don’t give you the tools to succeed.” The organization’s culture is another winning factor: “1-800-GOT-JUNK promotes passion, integrity, professionalism and empathy in dealing with employees,” comments another employee. “Employees feel respected and valued in their job, which makes them dedicated workers and in turn makes the company more successful.”


3. Nurse Next Door Home Healthcare Services Inc.

Vancouver | Health Sciences and Services | 230 employees
Nurse Next Door was created as a result of the personal experiences of co-founders Ken Sim and John DeHart, after trying to find the right caregivers for their family members. With a staff of 230 their “family” has grown considerably: “It’s a family environment,” says one employee. “When someone is hired we never say, ‘Welcome to the team.’ We say, ‘Welcome to our family!’” Another staff member echoes the sentiment: “Nurse Next Door goes the extra mile to accommodate and celebrate its employees. They treat everyone as family and really admire their workers.”


4. Cactus Restaurants Ltd.

Vancouver | Hospitality & Tourism | 1,739 employees
The energetic staff at Cactus Club blend the worlds of fine and casual dining and have a great time while they’re at it. One employee credits an understanding management team and friendly co-workers, saying, “It’s not just a job; it’s a family.” Even during tough economic times, the restaurant chain has expanded rapidly across B.C. and beyond. Another employee notes: “The standards they set as a business can also be applied to life beyond the restaurant because they treat employees with respect and they encourage the constant growth and improvement of their people and standards.”


5. Joe Fortes & Goldfish Restaurants

Vancouver | Hospitality & Tourism | 146 employees
Joe Fortes Seafood and Chop House and Goldfish Seafood and Chops are committed to the perfect dining experience. One employee explains that part of that comes in the form of allowing staff the opportunities to gain new skills so they can work in the area that suits them best: “They arranged and paid for outside training for me to succeed in a new department. My schedule was adjusted during this time allowing me to complete the training, without which it would have been hard to succeed in my new department.”


6. Accent Inns Inc.

Victoria | Hospitality & Tourism | 171 employees
A father and daughter team, Terry and Mandy Farmer aren’t typical hotel employers. Even during slow times in the tourism sector, notes one employee, “Instead of breathing down our necks and pounding their fists for better results, we see Mandy and Terry walking the hallways encouraging us. They are pouring money into the properties to make them look better, while also making our jobs easier.”


7. Slant Six Games Inc.

Vancouver | Digital Tech and Tech Services | 118 employees
Slant Six develops action video games, which will obviously appeal to a particular demographic among the talent pool. One employee believes Slant Six is the best because “we make video games about zombies.” Others cite corporate culture, with one noting, “SSG has a very strong and distinct culture that allows individuals to excel within their respective areas, to take pride in their work and to have a comfortable working environment.”


8. Great Little Box Co. Ltd.

Vancouver | Manufacturing, Construction, Distribution | 216 employees
Great Little Box Company makes a variety of packaging products and distributes shipping and moving supplies. The company retains its employees by offering a number of incentives; most often noted was the all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas last spring. “Nothing says best place to work more than all of us together in a pool sipping margaritas in Vegas!” notes an enthusiastic employee. “It was a great reward for meeting our goal and we truly bonded with each other and became a closer group; what a treat.”


9. Para Space Landscaping Inc.

Burnaby | Consumer Services | 102 employees
Para Space provides year-round landscaping services and maintenance across the Lower Mainland. Employees maintain that one reason for its success is long-term thinking. One employee comments that the company tailored a five-year plan in part to support the employee’s advancement into management. Another employee notes, “The opportunities for advancement are available to every employee and all it takes is a little dedication and persistence. I have never before worked for a company that has expressed exactly how someone can advance if they want to.”


10. Flight Centre Canada

Vancouver | Retail | 380 employees
If you guessed employees get some pretty sweet perks working for this travel products and services retailer, you’d be right. “We had dinner and drinks on the rooftop terrace at the W Hollywood Hotel as part of our conference,” enthuses one employee. “The night after was followed by The London Hotel West Hollywood. This is just the tip of the iceberg as far as what I’ve experienced in my time with the company. Dinner in London, flying business class, a week in Melbourne for training . . . the list is endless.”


11. Global Relay Communications Inc.

Vancouver | Digital Tech and Tech Services | 135 employees
Global Relay is a technology services company that specializes in web development and management for other businesses. While the work is plenty stimulating in itself, most employees cite a friendly and engaging environment as the main benefit. “The people in our company are some of the brightest I have the pleasure of working with,” notes one. “I consider myself smart, but I am often humbled by the talents surrounding me. Furthermore, these talents are being recognized and nurtured.” Another adds, “This is the sort of culture a business needs to have to succeed in the market today and attract the talent that it desperately needs to compete globally.”
 
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