Fortune's 100 Best Companies To Work For

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

Google campusCall it a hat trick: for the first time in the 15-year history of Fortune's Best Companies to Work For list, we have a three-time champion, as Google reclaims the top spot for workforce happiness (it debuted on our list at no. 1 in 2007, and stayed there in 2008). We've had a couple double headers before -- Container Store, SAS and Edward Jones have all clinched the no. 1 spot twice -- but Google this year marks the first three-peat.

And while the perks of the Googleplex are epic -- everything from bocce ball to a bowling alley, from free food to free laundry -- what set it apart from the competition was one clear thing: its scores on our employee Trust Index, a blind survey of random employees that asks them about their general job satisfaction, attitude toward management, and sense of employee camaraderie.

It's this subjective stuff -- how employees really feel about their job and their workplace -- that makes up the backbone of our survey, which we conduct in cooperation with the Great Place to Work Institute, and of the list itself. Sure, the size of the swimming pool and the company match on the 401(k) plan matter, and we track those easily quantifiable things (you won't find a more complete recreational facility than the one at Qualcomm, for instance, and the holiday party at Salesforce.com is truly epic). But this list is a measure of employees' overall satisfaction with their jobs and the companies they work for -- which, smart CEOs will tell you, is worth its weight in gold.

Indeed, even in a tough economic climate, rather than cutting back on these niceties, the heads of the companies on our list know that investing in building and keeping a loyal workforce pays dividends. The voluntary turnover rates of companies on this list are astoundingly low; the lowest, SAS, is just 2.2%, but consider the rates of Intel (2.3%), General Mills (2.6%) and American Express (7%) -- and compare these figures with the corporate world at large, where rates in the 20s and higher are not uncommon, even in a rough job market.

So while the fitness facilities might help attract the best people, it tends to be the culture that keeps them. Who are this year's Best Companies and what makes them so great? Check out the top 20 companies to work for in the gallery below, and view the full list on CNNMoney.

21 PHOTOS
Fortune's Best Companies to Work For - 2012
See Gallery
Fortune's 100 Best Companies To Work For
USAA

Rank: 20 (Previous rank: 17)

What makes it so great?

Employees at the financial services firm for military members work in the largest private office building in the U.S. Among its features: a medical clinic, an indoor walking path, and tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts.

Headquarters: 9800 Fredericksburg Rd.
San Antonio, TX 78288

2010 revenue ($ millions): 17,946

Website: www.usaa.com

See jobs at USAA

view the full list on CNN Money.

Intuit

Rank: 19 (Previous rank: 44)

What makes it so great?

The TurboTax maker uses its culture to spark innovation, with "idea jams," formal rotation programs for new employees, and four hours of "unstructured time" per week for employees to work on projects of their own.

Headquarters: 2632 Marine Way
Mountain View, CA 94043

2010 revenue ($ millions): 3,455

Website: www.intuit.com

See jobs at Intuit

view the full list on CNN Money.

Chesapeake Energy

Rank: 18 (Previous rank: 32)

What makes it so great?

A sleek new 63,000-square-foot child-care center that's big enough for 300 children is the largest such facility in the state -- and the latest addition to the natural-gas producer's perk-filled headquarters.

Headquarters: 6100 N. Western Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73118

2010 revenue ($ millions): 9,366

Website: www.chk.com

See jobs at Chesapeake Energy

view the full list on CNN Money.

JM Family Enterprises

Rank: 17 (Previous rank: 16)

What makes it so great?

The country's largest Toyota distributor offers profit-sharing, free haircuts, and a state-of-the-art child-care center. In the spirit of founder Jim Moran, it keeps a fleet of yachts for use by employees during appreciation events.

Headquarters: 100 Jim Moran Blvd.
Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

2010 revenue ($ millions): 9,300

Website: www.jmfamily.com

See jobs at JM Family Enterprises

view the full list on CNN Money.

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants

Rank: 16 (Previous rank: 83)

What makes it so great?

Traditions like the "Housekeeping Olympics," which features blindfolded bedmaking and the "vacuum dash," and a $10,000 employee prize for best service keep this hotel operator from feeling like a big chain.

Headquarters: 222 Kearny Street, Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94108

2010 revenue ($ millions): 780

Website: www.kimptonhotels.com

See jobs at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants

view the full list on CNN Money.

NuStar Energy

Rank: 15 (Previous rank: 30)

What makes it so great?

The company has never had a layoff, pays 100% of its workers' health insurance premium, and matches 401(k) contributions up to 6% of pay. It also lends the corporate jet to employees in times of crisis.

Headquarters: 2330 N. Loop 1604 West
San Antonio, TX 78248

2010 revenue ($ millions): 4,403

Website: www.nustarenergy.com

See jobs at NuStar Energy

view the full list on CNN Money.

DreamWorks Animation

Rank: 14 (Previous rank: 10)

What makes it so great?

What animates the animators here is the accessibility of CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, who welcomes new hires and sends a daily update to the staff. As one employee puts it, "He makes it feel like 200 people work here, not 2,000."

Headquarters: 1000 Flower Street
Glendale, CA 91201

2010 revenue ($ millions): 785

Website: www.dreamworksanimation.com

See jobs at DreamWorks Animation

view the full list on CNN Money.

DPR Construction

Rank: 13 (Previous rank: 22)

What makes it so great?

The construction firm wins praise for its open culture: Employees are free to attend all quarterly meetings, and workers feel listened to. Says one: "If I have a good idea, I am empowered to move it forward."

Headquarters: 1450 Veterans Blvd.
Redwood City, CA 94063

2010 revenue ($ millions): 1,432

Website: www.dpr.com

See jobs at DPR Construction

view the full list on CNN Money.

Mercedes-Benz USA

Rank: 12 (Previous rank: 15)

What makes it so great?

To celebrate the 125th anniversary of Karl Benz's invention of the automobile, the company gave bonuses based on tenure -- workers in the U.S. with more than 14 years of service got $1,400.

Headquarters: One Mercedes Drive
Montvale, NJ 7645

2010 revenue ($ millions): 1,200

Website: www.mbusa.com

See jobs at Mercedes-Benz USA

view the full list on CNN Money.

Zappos.com

Rank: 11 (Previous rank: 6)

What makes it so great?

Now in its second year under Amazon.com, Zappos maintains its zany culture. New last year: Zfrog awards, which let employees pitch new business ideas, and on-site "laughter yoga" classes.

Headquarters: 2280 Corporate Circle
Henderson, NV 89074

2010 revenue ($ millions): 1,640

Website: www.zappos.com

See jobs at Zappos.com

view the full list on CNN Money.

Quicken Loans

Rank: 10 (Previous rank: 29)

What makes it so great?

Employees of the online mortgage lender take immense pride in its move from the suburbs to downtown Detroit: "We're taking [the city] from its lowest point and bringing it back to the spotlight it deserves."

Headquarters: 1050 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48226

2010 revenue ($ millions): 1,300

Website: www.quickenloans.com

See jobs at Quicken Loans

view the full list on CNN Money.

CHG Healthcare Services

Rank: 9 (Previous rank: 27)

What makes it so great?

The staffing agency routinely acts on suggestions made by employees. This year it revamped its drug plan, built a gym at its Fort Lauderdale office, and made Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a paid holiday.

Headquarters: 6440 South Millrock Drive, Suite 175
Salt Lake City, UT 84121

2010 revenue ($ millions): 536

Website: www.chghealthcare.com

See jobs at CHG Healthcare Services

view the full list on CNN Money.

Recreational Equipment (REI)

Rank: 8 (Previous rank: 9)

What makes it so great?

The adventure-gear retailer scaled new heights last year with its first Manhattan store. Outdoor-loving employees take advantage of sabbaticals, free equipment rentals, and hefty discounts on merchandise.

Headquarters: 6750 South 228th Street
Kent, WA 98032

2010 revenue ($ millions): 1,659

Website: www.rei.com

See jobs at REI

view the full list on CNN Money.

Camden Property Trust

Rank: 7 (Previous rank: 7)

What makes it so great?

This apartment-management firm, which manages properties that house 100,000 people in 13 states, is generous with employees -- last year it doled out surprise bonuses, from $100 to $5,000.

Headquarters: 3 Greenway Plaza, Suite 1300
Houston, TX 77046

2010 revenue ($ millions): 610

Website: www.camdenliving.com

See jobs at Camden Property Trust

view the full list on CNN Money.

NetApp

Rank: 6 (Previous rank: 5)

What makes it so great?

The data storage firm's pay-for-performance program triggered huge bonuses last year when revenues shot up from $3.9 billion to $5 billion. Employees received payouts of up to 31% of their salary.

Headquarters: 495 East Java Drive
Sunnyvale, CA 94089

2010 revenue ($ millions): 5,123

Website: www.netapp.com

See jobs at NetApp

view the full list on CNN Money.

Edward Jones

Rank: 5 (Previous rank: 11)

What makes it so great?

With some 11,000 offices across the country, the investment firm escaped the recession with nary a layoff. Says managing partner Jim Weddle: "It's a great time not to be a bank -- or to be owned by one."

Headquarters: 12555 Manchester Road
St. Louis, MO 63131

2010 revenue ($ millions): 4,183

Website: www.edwardjones.com

See jobs at Edward Jones

view the full list on CNN Money.

Wegmans Food Markets

Rank: 4 (Previous rank: 3)

What makes it so great?

The family-owned grocery chain has made employee health a religion: More than 2,000 workers have enrolled in a free smoking-cessation program since 2009; this year it opened a new 24/7 health hotline.

Headquarters: 1500 Brooks Ave
Rochester, NY 14624

2010 revenue ($ millions): 5,687

Website: www.wegmans.com

See jobs at Wegmans

view the full list on CNN Money.

SAS Institute

Rank: 3 (Previous rank: 1)

What makes it so great?

Subsidized Montessori child care, unlimited sick time, intramural sports leagues, and a free health care center are just some of the perks at the software company's lushly landscaped campus.

Headquarters: 100 SAS Campus Drive
Cary, NC 27513

2010 revenue ($ millions): 2,430

Website: www.sas.com

See jobs at SAS

view the full list on CNN Money.

Boston Consulting Group

Rank: 2 (Previous rank: 2)

What makes it so great?

A perennial of the top five of our list, the global consultancy invests 100-plus hours and thousands of dollars to recruit each consultant; once hired, they earn an average of $139,000 a year.

Headquarters: One Beacon Street
Boston, MA 2108

2010 revenue ($ millions): 3,050

Website: www.bcg.com

See jobs at Boston Consulting Group

view the full list on CNN Money.

Google

Rank: 1 (Previous rank: 4)

What makes it so great?

Everything was up at Google last year -- revenue, profits, share price, paid search clicks, hiring -- and so, too, was employee love; the search giant climbed three slots in our ranking to reclaim the top spot. The reason? Employees rave about their mission, the culture, and the famous perks of the Plex: bocce courts, a bowling alley, eyebrow shaping (for a fee) in the New York office. Then there's the food: some 25 cafés companywide, all gratis. Wrote one Googler: "Employees are never more than 150 feet away from a well-stocked pantry."

Headquarters: 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

2010 revenue ($ millions): 29,321

Website: www.google.com

See jobs at Google

view the full list on CNN Money.

More from CNN Money:

- 25 top-paying companies to work for

- 56,000+ job openings: They’re hiring!

of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


Next: Why Employers Don't Care About Your College Major



Don't Miss: Companies Hiring Now



Stories from CNNMoney

Read Full Story

People are Reading