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Fortune magazine names best employers

Edward Jones, Container Store again top list

The survey on which Fortune's annual ranking is based asks about human resources and workplace culture, among other things.
The survey on which Fortune's annual ranking is based asks about human resources and workplace culture, among other things.

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(CNN) -- Fortune magazine has released its annual list of the best companies in the United States for which to work.

The list is put together by the Great Place to Work Institute in San Francisco, California, which surveyed a random sample of employees from 269 candidate companies to get their opinions about their workplaces.

A total of 40,713 employees responded to the survey.

Each company was also asked to fill out a questionnaire describing its human resources policies and workplace culture. Two-thirds of each company's score came from the employee responses, and the other third was based on the company's benefits and practices.

Here are the top 10:

1. Edward Jones

For the second year, the St. Louis, Missouri-based stockbroker was named the best company to work for. A commitment to training and profit sharing (25 percent of employees have partnership stakes) are two of the factors that Fortune called key to the workforce's high morale.

2. Container Store

The retailer of boxes (and other items to put items in) ranks No. 2 for the second year in a row. The Dallas, Texas-based retailer, which is expanding across the country and continues to offer one of the highest pay scales in the retail field, also provides domestic partner benefits, free yoga classes at distribution centers, and chair massages at headquarters. Benefits include a 100 percent match for 401(k) for up to 4 percent of salary, and 94 percent of employees surveyed felt they made a difference to the company.

3. Alston & Bird

The Atlanta, Georgia, law firm was the first law firm to be in the top 10, when it made No. 9 last year. The company stresses daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly communication, and unlike many law firms had no layoffs this year. It holds celebrations for employees, including Bunny Brunch and Welcome Breakfasts.

4. Xilinx

The semiconductor maker, headquartered in San Jose, California, protected its employees from a nasty downturn in the industry tech by refusing to abandon a no-layoff policy. Workers took a 6 percent pay cut, but the CEO led the way with a 20 percent cut.

5. Adobe

The Silicon Valley stalwart renowned for cool graphics products and as a place where "camaraderie is the byword" holds the No. 5 spot. There are frequent all-staff meetings and job rotations. Perks include three-week paid sabbaticals every five years, Friday night beer bashes and an annual holiday black-tie party.

6. American Cast Iron Pipe

The company on Fortune's list with the lowest employee turnover (1.5 percent) is American Cast Iron Pipe. More than 20 percent of employees have been with the company more than 20 years. The Birmingham, Alabama, company has an on-site clinic that offers medical and dental care for employees and families for life.

7. TDIndustries

This employee-owned construction firm links insurance premiums to compensation -- the less you earn, the less you pay.

8. J.M. Smucker

The Orrville, Ohio-based jam and ice cream topping maker nearly doubled sales in 2002 with the acquisition of Jif peanut butter and Crisco shortening. The 105-year-old company offers health care for retirees and their spouses, as well as on-site stop-smoking classes and gives its employees unlimited paid time off to volunteer in the community.

9. Synovus

A Southeastern bank holding company with on-site child care, state-of-the-art gym, and generous profit-sharing and pension plans.

10. Wegmans Food Markets

The New York state-headquartered supermarket chain allows its employees time off to volunteer and care for sick pets. Its employees have mentored more than 1,000 kids, helping them to graduate from high school.

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