Jobs can be defining aspects of everyday life, especially since the average American spends about 90,000 hours—the equivalent of over 10 straight years—working. With so much time dedicated to our careers, it’s important we work somewhere we love. Here are 14 companies that have fostered happy employees, thanks to a host of out-of-the-box perks and philanthropic opportunities.
Bentley Systems. Photo by Tessa Marie Images.
At Bentley Systems, the world feels much closer than it is. With locations in 55 countries and projects in nearly 100, the software company helps users develop infrastructure for airports, rail systems, roads and bridges, including the Tappan Zee in New York.
“We’re really on the bleeding edge of our field of software, working in the architectural engineering design and construction field globally. It’s amazing just to see the differences that our software can make,” says Beth Emmert, marketing director of strategic partnerships.
At the 27-acre Exton headquarters where 474 employees work (it employees 3,500 people globally), the campus has a positive atmosphere and lots of perks, Emmert says, including walking and biking paths. “On any given day, we have colleagues who are walking on the Upper Uwchlan and Schuylkill trails,” she says.
Other highlights include an outdoor seating and activity area, a cafeteria, and a vegetable garden. “All of the vegetables grown are donated to the [Chester County] food bank,” says Emmert.
A social committee plans events like holiday get-togethers and summer barbecues. Individual departments have taken trips to the Franklin Institute and pro sports events.
Bentley Systems also encourages continued education with a tuition reimbursement program. “We have a training and development team, and there are a lot of internal and external training and development programs the team is running and offering to colleagues,” says Emmert.
With just under 40 employees, Brinker Simpson specializes in accounting services, from audits to tax preparation to forensic and litigation support. Preparing taxes is a several-month-long battle for preparers, but at Brinker Simpson, the partners try to make it as stress-free as possible.
To let off steam, parties are the norm. “During tax season, we have theme lunches once a week. One year, it was ‘Around the World.’ Another time, we did ‘Dining Around Delco,’” says Kellie McShane-Harris, who’s been with Brinker Simpson for seven years and works in client services.
The rest of the year holds different types of perks. “I think the culture is that we work hard, but we also play hard,” says McShane-Harris. “There are a lot of opportunities to get together as a group, whether it be a happy hour or a Quizzo night.”
Annual trips to Philadelphia Union games and New York City are extended to family members. The Springfield-based company and its employees are also dedicated to philanthropy. Those who wish to partake in Casual Fridays are asked to donate $5 each month, which is then given to charities like the Boys & Girls Club of Chester, the Delaware County Literacy Council and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
McShane-Harris says the overall atmosphere and open-door policy are what make Brinker Simpson great. “I think everybody feels comfortable and welcomed,” she says.
CardConnect. Photo by Tessa Marie Images.
East Coast meets West Coast at CardConnect. The credit card data processing company, which employs 275 people, has a quasi “work hard, play hard” mentality.
For its head of training, Shane Toogood, the perks began with the job itself. When he came on board two years ago, he noticed something missing in the training program. “They were nice enough to let me start training new hires that came through,” he says. “Eventually, they promoted me to corporate trainer.”
He’s seen similar situations play out for colleagues—something he says makes employees feel valued.
The relaxed atmosphere translates to everything from the dress code to the two on-site kegs (reserved for after-hours use, of course). “You don’t see many people wearing ties or suits around here,” says Toogood.
The KOP office is replete with entertainment, including ping-pong, foosball and a large TV with video games—all of which helps break down departmental barriers. “It’s almost like a family here,” says Toogood.
CardConnect also offers weekly catered lunches and an on-site gym. Or it will provide coverage or discounts for LA Fitness and Life Time Fitness.
An open floor plan with plenty of seating options allows for changes in atmosphere and scenery. “It’s very common to see somebody sitting in the kitchen, having a coffee and working on their laptop,” Toogood says.
Outings are also commonplace, both departmentally and company-wide. Past events have included a Star Wars screening.
When Joseph Callahan launched his company in 1993, he couldn’t have foreseen where technology would take him. But over the past 25 years, his original vision has evolved into a robust subscriber-platform software service now known as Ciright.
As the company has grown to employ about 140 people, Callahan has made crucial decisions about the kind of culture and atmosphere he wants. Much of that revolves around incentivizing people to make changes and develop new ways to drive efficiencies, he says, describing his employees as motivated and eager to learn.
Callahan has also created a fun side at the West Conshohocken headquarters, offering games like pool and shuffleboard, plenty of open collaborative spaces, and meals and snacks. There’s even a bar and on-site laundry facilities. Of the open floor plan, Callahan says the kitchen, with its large table, is the heartbeat. “It’s all hand-carved to seat 20 people,” he says.
Ciright offers unrestricted vacation days, so employees can take off anytime throughout the year. And thanks to the virtual nature of the business, they can work remotely.
All of those perks, Callahan hopes, lead to happy employees and top-notch products. “Our people are the most valued asset in our company,” he says.
With just over 30 employees, Gawthrop Greenwood takes its congenial atmosphere seriously, establishing what it’s dubbed the “Happiness Committee,” where paralegals, staff members and administrators are tasked with organizing fun events. “A couple of years ago, we started doing a barbecue in the summer, just out back,” says Sandra Knapp, a partner at the West Chester-based law firm and the management committee chair.
The firm also hosts an annual workday summer picnic, monthly “Thirsty Thursdays” at Starbucks and “Mid-Month Movie Madness,” when the staff catches a flick. “It’s the small things that make a big difference,” Knapp says.
Gawthrop Greenwood values philanthropy, adopting several families each year through the Chester County Department of Children, Youth & Families. It’s also involved with local charities like Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. “It’s part of the web of the culture of the firm,” says Knapp. “I was pleasantly surprised with how involved the firm is as a whole, from the top down, in the community.”
The firm even allows for one paid day off each year to volunteer with a nonprofit.
“Open” is the name of the game at Wayne’s Evolve IP, a cloud computing and unified communications company founded by four Villanova University alums. That includes everything from communication to the floor plan, which eschews offices in favor of a common workspace—even for execs.
Such openness has been a huge benefit for Lindsey Elberti, director of organizational development. Her journey at Evolve IP began in sales nearly 10 years ago. Elberti soon discovered sales wasn’t for her. “Our CEO, Guy Fardone—he was COO at the time—reached out to me and said, ‘I’m kind of getting a feeling you’re not really liking the sales position. We really love you being part of the team, and this role has opened up. Would you be interested in pursuing it?’ That resonated so much,” Elberti says. “We care about people so much here, and career pathing is something we’re constantly promoting. Last year, we had 34 promotions. We really strive to make sure our associates are where they need to be.”
In order to do so, there’s a 100-day plan for new employees, plus quarterly reviews. “We’re constantly checking in,” Elberti says.
Evolve IP has 11 locations worldwide and more than 200 employees in Wayne. It offers standing desks, outings to Phillies and Flyers games, frequent summer barbecues, and workshop series on topics like healthy eating. The company values philanthropy and has donated over $6 million to charities, where employees also volunteer.
The Institutes looks more like a liberal arts college than a typical workplace—albeit smaller. Its 85-acre Malvern campus in the heart of horse country is home to 170 employees. The nonprofit organization “promotes the study and teaching of risk management insurance through educational resources,” says Frank Tomasello, program director at the Institutes Griffith Insurance Education Foundation.
The Institutes supplies those resources in a nonpartisan and non-advocating way to public policy makers. “We’re able to provide background and information as a tool to really benefit public policy makers. By extension, we equip them with information, and they’re in a better position to wrestle with important public policy issues that affect all of us as citizens,” says Tomasello. “The impact of it is what I really enjoy.”
Tomasello says the people may be the best aspect of the organization. “We have very diverse, dynamic, energetic and ethical folks,” he says.
Then there are the perks, which include free daily breakfast and lunch, an on-site gym, tuition reimbursement, and parental leave. The Institutes also offers a 401(k) program, matching up to 16 percent. Plus, the campus features a 1.25-mile paved walking trail. “It’s wonderful on a nice day,” says Tomasello.
RiverCrestGolf Club& Preserve.
Between its sprawling clubhouse, Sam Snead-designed golf course, ballroom and pool, Phoenixville’s RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve offers an idyllic escape for both members and employees. The club has around 120 on staff and treats everyone equally, says Toni Vennettilli, director of sales. “From the hostess to the dishwashers, no one here feels they’re better than anyone else. If we’re super-busy, it would be nothing for one of us to go upstairs and roll out tables and help set up a banquet room,” she says.
Vennettilli also appreciates management’s flexibility when it comes to things like sick days. The club puts an emphasis on philanthropic endeavors, too. Among its biggest charitable fundraisers is an annual golf outing for members and employees. Over the years, local nonprofits like the Phoenixville Community Education Foundation and the Pathway School have benefited.
Working at a golf club affords employees some of the same perks that members enjoy. RiverCrest offers a complimentary lunch every day, regular gym access, and once-weekly play on the golf course, where friends and family can join them. The club holds a summer barbecue and pool party for the staff and its families, plus a holiday celebration to show employee appreciation. “It’s like a family,” says Vennettilli.
Chester County Intermediate Unit.
At the Chester County Intermediate Unit, each day brings new challenges and subsequent rewards. Its 1,500 employees work toward the organization’s mission of aiding the 86,000 public and nonpublic school students in all 12 school districts throughout the county. CCIU specializes in curriculum services, special education, compensatory education, career and technical training, and more. “I like to see the students succeed,” says Laurie Masino, a community-based instruction supervisor. “Seeing them progress toward that opportunity is really rewarding for everybody.”
The environment is an exceedingly positive one, where employees work collaboratively, says Masino. “Every day, I’m amazed to come here and see people work with their full heart in what they do,” she says.
Perks include flex hours in the summer, so employees who complete their work can take three-day weekends. CCIU is also pilot-testing a work-from-home program, which allows added flexibility. Training and development are plentiful, and CCIU offers tuition reimbursement to encourage growth within
There’s also the on-site County Cup, a to-go kiosk that’s entirely supported by students and individuals with disabilities. “I think that brings disability awareness to our own community, as well as the visitors to our building,” says Masino. “It’s such a positive atmosphere to come to.”
Susquehanna International Group.
Susquehanna International Group, which develops trading and technology tools, has taken the best elements of the town center and made them central to its Bala Cynwyd campus.
Locally employing around 1,200 software developers, engineers and analysts, SIG offers perks like free breakfast and lunch, featuring traditional eats and funkier options like avocado toast. Healthy living is evident in everything from the 9,000-square-foot gym, which offers early morning and evening fitness classes, to the wellness center, where employees can see a nurse practitioner and have blood work and biometric screening done. “It’s just an incredible time-saving, money-saving option for our employees,” says Gina Pinotti, global head of technology.
Other highlights include on-site dry cleaning, tailoring, gaming tables, car detailing and haircuts, plus an employee concierge. Occasional team dinners and outings to Phillies games are also common. “I even got to throw the first pitch one year,” says Pinotti.
Visiting speakers are another bonus. “Most are interesting sort of world issues or technical speakers,” says Pinotti. “It’s a great way to keep people’s minds fresh.”
Philanthropy is at the forefront, and SIG participates in races for both Blossom Philadelphia and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, while also contributing to Toys for Tots, Adopt-a-Family and Cradles to Crayons.
It’s the culture that keeps employees happy. “We have a great deal of respect for our co-workers,” says Pinotti. “We’re not a company driven by titles or position. There’s a fluidity of information. It makes it a very healthy, collaborative environment.”
Villanova’s idyllic campus would be enough of a benefit for most, but working there means that and more. Employees can use the campus gym, and they have access to a wealth of dining options. The university also has philanthropic initiatives, including the St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service and the campus ministry’s volunteer program at soup kitchens.
Employees can attend daily lectures or take advantage of tuition remission. “We probably have more administrative staff that have master’s degrees because they can take classes,” says Kathy Byrnes, an alum and the associate vice president for student life.
Those benefits extend to employees’ children after a certain number of years and once they’re accepted into the university. “I think being in an environment with young people who are engaged and motivated is just really life-giving and rewarding,” says Byrnes. “When you’re surrounded by great people, it’s hard not to have a good day.”
For some realtors, offices are chaotic. At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, headquartered in Devon, they try to make the office a comfortable space. The company has over 65 sales locations, with more than 4,800 associates. Offices have an atmosphere that’s very collaborative, family-oriented, inspired and energized, says Debbie McCabe, the vice president and a regional manager who’s been a realtor there for 20-plus years.
Still, being out and about on a regular basis is a perk McCabe never took for granted. “There are very few jobs that you actually get to spend time out in the environment you live in. Being out of the office, being out with people, that’s fun,” she says.
McCabe tries to make things fun and easy for her agents, too. She and other area managers plan outings that range from sporting events to movie viewings. Berkshire Hathaway also hosts an annual employee barbecue, complete with music and games.
Realtors can frequently hear outside speakers, who offer an educational component essential for maintaining licensure, and they regularly contribute through Fox & Roach Charities, which has given back over $5.5 million to the community and more than 201,000 volunteer hours.
But McCabe says the work is the most personally fulfilling. “It’s a wonderful feeling when you find that buyer their dream home and know that what you’ve done has paved the way for a future of memories,” she says.
At QVC, the environment is one of camaraderie, says Jane Treacy, an original program host. Team members are kept apprised of the goings-on, from a weekly meeting to a display in the atrium.
The on-air and online retailer sells over 2,580 brands in the U.S. and grossed more than $8.7 billion in revenue in 2016. Employing over 17,000 people worldwide, QVC still manages to feel like a family. “I think it goes beyond love. It’s everything you feel for your family. The respect, the pride, the ownership and, truly, the love you feel for your family, I feel for QVC,” says Treacy.
The company values philanthropy, including QVC Presents “FFANY Shoes on Sale,” a program Treacy’s been involved with since its inception. During the annual event, QVC sells shoes at half their retail price, with funds going toward breast cancer research. It’s all the more important to Treacy because her sister received treatment at one of the centers the event benefits.
Other perks include an on-site credit union and Starbucks, dry cleaning, car wash services, weekly sample sales, and gym and product discounts. QVC also has ping-pong tables and the QGarden, with its fresh produce going to local pantries. And then there’s the bonus of interacting with celebrity vendors like Martha Stewart and Jonathan and Drew Scott of HGTV’s Property Brothers.
Vanguard is one of the largest investment firms in the world. Across Pennsylvania, it employs over 12,000. With such a substantial footprint in the community, The Valley Forge-based company works to establish positive relationships through volunteerism, charitable giving and stewardship.
“We’re a mission-driven organization, and the crew members we attract to work here really care about being able to give back where they can and having Vanguard facilitate that giving back,” says Kyra Scalea, manager of community stewardship.
Among the initiatives are two optional service days each year. “One is in January—MLK Day of Service—and then again in September during our annual workplace giving campaign, where we really ignite the crew to go out in the community and serve,” says Scalea.
Employees partake in nonprofit projects that range from cleaning up parks to working in homeless shelters. They also receive one paid day a year for volunteer time off and logged 60,000 hours of community service in 2017. The company also offers a 50-percent match to philanthropic donations made by employees. “I love that I get to harness the power of this generous crew and we collectively are able to make such a dramatic positive impact in our community,” says Scalea.
Other perks include on-site dry cleaning, health clinics, a cafeteria and a gym, plus an annual holiday gala that’s open to employees and their families. There’s student loan repayment assistance, retiree health coverage, and family leave for both mothers and fathers—for adoption and surrogacy, too.
ABOUT OUR SELECTION PROCESS: We asked readers to submit nominations for great places to work. Those included in this story were selected via a thorough editorial process.