Utah companies received special awards as part of this year’s Top Workplaces survey.
The honors were given for achievement in specific areas such as providing quality training for employees, encouraging new ideas and promoting balance between work and life.
The annual survey, conducted by Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee research and culture technology firm, also singled out three leaders — one each from a small, a midsize and a large company — for their leadership skills.
Here are the award recipients in each category:
Leadership: large company
Aaron Skonnard • Co-founder and CEO of Pluralsight, an online education company that provides video training courses for developers, information technology administrators and other professionals. Since its founding in 2004, the Farmington-based company has grown from about 30 Utah employees to more than 800. “'Aaron has a vision, and he has a very clear plan for how to get there,” one employee said in the survey. “He is a skilled communicator. He is strategic, and measured. I don’t worry that he’s shooting from the hip or stepping into a mess without a plan. He knows what he wants for the company, and is consulting with experts and planning effectively for how to get there.”
Leadership: midsize company
Ben Peterson • CEO and co-founder of Lindon-based BambooHR, which provides human resource software for small- to medium-size businesses. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Bamboo’s client list includes SoundCloud, Foursquare, Freshbooks, Stance, Reddit and Magnolia Homes. According to one of the company’s more than 340 employees, Peterson “is very open with us, and he seems like a very humble guy. He is always talking to everyone and sitting with everyone at meetings, instead of trying to distance himself or make it obvious that he is the CEO," said an employee. "I like that he keeps us updated on the plans for the future.”
Leadership: small company
Jeff Spangler • President and co-founder — with James Carlson and Chris Cannon — of Zurixx, which provides educational training and coaching for the financial services industry. Started in 2012, the Cottonwood Heights company has about 80 Utah employees. Spangler is described as being “successful and smart." “All three give a damn," another worker said of the founders. "They are in the office, in meeting, out at events. They want it to succeed and they show that.”
Company award: direction
TrueHearing Inc. • The midsize company, founded in 2003 by Lindsay Atwood, who also launched TruVision Lasik, helps people get hearing aids they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. Based in Draper, “the company seems to be on a steady progressive climb,” said one employee, "and they are good about thanking the employees for their contribution.”
Veritas Funding • Employees at this Midvale-based mortgage-lending company had a lot of positive things to say about their managers. “They encourage us to learn something new and help us change jobs within the company if that is something we are interested in,” said one worker. Another noted that “My manager always takes time to listen. She figures out what is needed before rolling it out to the department. She’s an amazing leader and always shows appreciation.”
Twistlab Marketing • There are no bad ideas at this Cottonwood Heights marketing agency, founded in 1999. “If you disagree with the way that something is done, you just have to speak up and defend your point of view," an employee wrote. "If it makes more sense than the regular process, it’s adopted. I love that I have a voice.”
Brighton Home Health and Hospice • This Murray company, which provides care to patients in the last phase of their lives, is run efficiently. With Brighton, “every i is dotted and every t is crossed!” an employee wrote. “They do things right as well as with a great deal of compassion and care. They are picky with what type of individual they hire and value each employee they have. There really is not a better place to work. We are valued, our voice is heard and they allow great care to be given.”
MX • This 8-year-old Lehi company is on a mission to help individuals, families and communities become financially stronger through technology. It’s a big job, but it’s one that employees embrace. “I like doing something that I feel makes a difference in the lives of our customers and end users," one said, "and I appreciate that my colleagues feel the same way.”
Young Automotive Group • This family-owned automobile business has been operating for 93 years, since opening its first dealership in Morgan, in 1925. But it hasn’t lost its humble roots. Today, the Layton-based operation is run by the fourth generation of family members and has 17 auto dealerships, the Rocky Mountain Raceways racetrack, and a host of related companies in northern Utah and southern Idaho. “There was an employee who was going through some very difficult times and the group set up fundraisers and provided them with financial security to get through it," a worker wrote. "They have done this multiple times for employees and customers. The Young Automotive Group is more than employer; they are a family.”
Clued-in senior management
Bohme • This women’s clothing franchise has stores across Utah, but its leaders never lose touch with front-line employees. “They are connected. They talk to every level of employee, down to the most part-time sales associate,” said one worker. “Everyone has their cell numbers and can call at any time. Feedback is encouraged and very welcome and always responded to.”
CHG Healthcare • With more than 1,300 employees in Utah alone, this Midvale-based company is one of the largest health care staffing operations in the nation, but “all of the employees are kept in the loop at all times....good or bad,” said one employee. “We all know what is going on and where we stand. I love the transparency and the fact that one can approach ANYONE at any time (upper management included) and inquire about anything, and that is accepted and welcomed. Everyone is seemingly ‘equal’ in that regard. We are very close, for being such a big company.”
Utah Food Services • Founded by chef Robert Sullivan in 1995, Utah Food Services is the exclusive caterer for the Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City, the Mountain America Exposition Center in Sandy and other Utah venues. Employees know they are the company’s most important asset. “The challenges never end,” said one worker. “The camaraderie to meet these challenges is some of the best I have ever been involved with. They care about me.”
BAE Systems Intelligence and Security • While providing intelligence and security capabilities to government agencies, this company is still able to offer its 651 Utah employees a balance between work and home life. “I like that I can take off for an appointment or an event for my child and still make up my hours within the allotted time frame,” an employee noted. “I also love the fact I can purchase more PTO [paid time off] hours to be able to take a solid vacation once or twice a year and still have PTO available for any unforeseen incidents that arise.”
Prestige Financial • The more than 600 employees at this credit and finance company, an affiliate of the Larry H. Miller Group, provide loans for automobile dealerships in 41 states. “We have monthly trainings that help me improve my job performance as well as my personal life," one employee writes, including "setting smart goals and how to track my performance and make improvements.”
Rhodes Bake and Serve • Besides providing free bread and rolls, this Murray-based frozen-dough company offers employees healthy, noncarb perks, including an on-site medical clinic, a nutritionist, a personal trainer and exercise class as well as free fruits and vegetables. “Rhodes is just great place to work," said one employee. "The people I work for and with are amazing and all the extra perks are very much appreciated. I really enjoy coming to work.”
For the fifth straight year, The Salt Lake Tribune has partnered with Energage, an employee research firm, to determine Utah’s Top Workplaces.
To see the 2018 list, click here.