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Fortune Magazine, with the Great Place to Work Institute and Hewitt Associates, probed 206 of more than 1,000 large and midsized firms, and polled some 27,000 of their employees, to identify the very best places to work and how they got that way. Factors involved in the selection include compensation, industrial relations and business practices. The list also considers the level of trust, pride, and camaraderie that employees share with management and their peers, and what practices the company is pursuing to sustain those things.

A composite of the typical 100 Best company is a drawn from the medians of several categories. It is 36 years old and has a U.S. work force of 5,520. It had 1997 revenues of $1.3 billion and a CEO with an eight-year tenure. Its work force is 44% female, 78.2% Caucasian. A third of employees have been on the job less than two years, with 6% more than 15 years. Last year it received 19,000 job applications, adding 724 jobs.

 

Compare this to the 100 Best Companies list compiled by Robert Levering and Milton Moskowitz

Rank 
Company
City
Rank
Company
City
 1  SYNOVUS FINANCIAL  Columbus, Ga  51  COMPUWARE  Farmington Hills, Mich.
 2  TDINDUSTRIES  Dallas  52  K2  Vashon Island, Wash.
 3  SAS INSTITUTE  Cary, N.C.  53  AMGEN  Thousand Oaks, Calif.
 4  SOUTHWEST AIRLINES  Dallas  54  BUREAU OF NATL. AFFAIRS  Washington, D.C.
 5  SCITOR  Sunnyvale, Calif.  55  STARBUCKS  Seattle
 6  PEOPLESOFT  Pleasanton, Calif.  56  GENENTECH  South San Francisco
 7  GOLDMAN SACHS  New York  57  ERIE INSURANCE  Erie, Pa.
 8  DELOITTE & TOUCHE  Wilton, Conn.  58  ENTERPRISE RENT-A-CAR  St. Louis
 9  MBNA Wilmington, Del.   59  COMPUTER ASSOCIATES  Islandia, N.Y.
 10  HEWLETT-PACKARD  Palo Alto  60  BE&K  Birmingham, Ala.
 11  EDWARD JONES  St. Louis  61  LENSCRAFTERS  Cincinnati
 12  FINOVA GROUP  Phoenix  62  LUCENT TECHNOLOGIES  Murray Hill, N.J.
 13  AFLAC  Columbus, Ga.  63  SUN MICROSYSTEMS  Palo Alto
 14  FIRST TENNESSEE BANK  Memphis  64  JOHNSON & JOHNSON  New Brunswick, N.J.
 15  FRANK RUSSELL  Tacoma  65  USAA  San Antonio
 16  WRQ  Seattle  66  WAL-MART STORES  Bentonville, Ark.
 17  JANUS  Denver  67  MEDTRONIC  Minneapolis
 18   A.G. EDWARDS  St. Louis  68  INGRAM MICRO  Santa Ana, Calif.
 19  ACXIOM  Conway, Ark.  69  BAPTIST HEALTH SYSTEMS  Coral Gables, Fla.
 20  W.L. GORE & ASSOCIATES  Newark, Del.  70  FOUR SEASONS HOTELS  Toronto
 21  KINGSTON TECHNOLOGY  Fountain Valley, Calif.  71  MERRILL LYNCH  New York
 22  J.M. SMUCKER  Orrville, Ohio  72  ALAGASCO  Birmingham, Ala.
 23  JM FAMILY ENTERPRISES  Deerfield Beach, Fla.  73  ENRON  Houston
 24  CISCO SYSTEMS  San Jose  74  ARROW ELECTRONICS  Melville, N.Y.
 25  UNUM  Oortland, Me.  75  ERNST & YOUNG  New York
 26  TIMBERLAND  Stratham, N.H.  76  LANDS' END  Dodgeville, Wis.
 27  MICROSOFT  Redmond, Wash.  77  HARLEY-DAVIDSON  Milwaukee
 28  MERCK  Whitehouse Station, N.J.  78  PUBLIX SUPER MARKETS  Lakeland, Fla.
 29  PLANTE & MORAN Southfield, Mich.   79  FEDEX  Memphis
 30  GREAT PLAINS  Fargo, N.D.  80  ALLIED SIGNAL  Morristown, N.J.
 31  GUIDANT  Indianapolis  81  ACIPCO  Birmingham, Ala.
 32  LUCAS DIGITAL  San Rafael, Calif.  82  QUANTUM  Milpitas, Calif.
 33  GRANITE ROCK  Watsonville, Calif.  83  W.W. GRAINGER  Lincolnshire, Ill.
 34  ODETICS  Anaheim, Calif.  84  S.C. JOHNSON  Racine, Wis.
 35  AUTODESK  San Rafael, Calif.  85  CERNER  Kansas City, Mo.
 36  CDW  Vernon Hills, Ill.  86  ALCON LABORATORIES  Fort Worth
 37  VALASSIS COMMUN.  Livonia, Mich.  87  HERMAN MILLER  Zeeland, Mich.
 38  REI  Kent, Wash.  88  UNION PACIFIC RESOURCES  Fort Worth
 39  FENWICK & WEST  Palo Alto  89  WORTHINGTON INDUSTRIES  Columbus, Ohio
 40  CONTINENTAL AIRLINES  Houston  90  HONDA OF AMERICA MFG.  Marysville, Ohio
 41  CAPITAL ONE  Falls Church, Va.  91  KINKO'S  Ventura, Calif.
 42  OHIO NATL. FINAN. SVCS.  Cincinnati  92  APPLIED MATERIALS  Santa Clara, Calif.
 43  WEGMANS  Rochester, N.Y.  93  QUAD/GRAPHICS  Pewaukee, Wis.
 44  MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL Washington, D.C.   94  3M  Maplewood, Minn.
 45  J.D. EDWARDS  Denver  95  3COM  Santa Clara, Calif.
 46  BMC SOFTWARE  Houston  96  INTERFACE Atlanta 
 47  QUALCOMM  San Diego  97  BALDOR ELECTRIC  Fort Smith, Ark.
 48  WHOLE FOODS MARKET  Austin, Texas  98  NORDSTROM  Seattle
 49  INTEL  Santa Clara, Calif.  99  CORNING  Corning, N.Y.
 50  PATAGONIA  Ventura, Calif.  100   L.L. BEAN  Freeport, Me.

Source: Fortune Magazine, January 1999