Profits, perks and personnel — they’re all related at these thriving family-friendly Utah firms

Survey • Employers such as Domo in American Fork offer perks that make their employees feel appreciated.

As soon as Katelyn Barnwell told her co-workers at Domo that she was expecting, she was able to shop for maternity clothes at Nordstrom and A Pea in the Pod — on the company's dime.

When she gave birth to Lola, she found flowers waiting for her at home, a onesie with the words "Future Domosapien" printed on it, plus $1,000 to help her pay her hospital bills.

And, thanks to the American Fork company's maternity-leave policy, she has 10 weeks of paid time off.

"It's just one thing after another," says a grateful Barnwell as her 12-day-old naps. "They're reinforcing how much they care about you and how excited they are for your growing family. We felt that we were totally loved, and [that] they understand the importance of family."

Domo is one of dozens of Utah companies The Salt Lake Tribune's Top Workplaces survey praised for the ways they help employees thrive on the job and off.

It's no wonder • Work-life balance is one of the three most important elements in creating a positive workplace, according to a survey of nearly 2,000 U.S. adults commissioned earlier this year by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Inc.

As good leaders know, loyal and motivated employees are keys to a company's success. Leaders in The Tribune's survey say those workers will give their best to the company when they know their employer cares for them.

Perks found in the survey include the common — flexible hours, telecommuting, parental leave, tuition reimbursement — and the not-so common: Ogden's Get Away Today Vacations travel agency pays for employee trips to Disneyland and San Diego each year. A Plus Benefits, a Lindon company specializing in human resources and business productivity, says it encourages a strict end time to the workday.

BambooHR, a human-resources-software provider, also in Lindon, won national attention this summer from CNN and Huffington Post for giving employees not just time off, but also $2,000 to pay for their vacations.

Some Utah employers — including Workday, Health Catalyst and Executech — offer unlimited time off.

Executech's president, Eric Montague, recently nixed his South Jordan company's two-week limit on vacations after his employees told him they wanted more time off to compensate for the extra hours they have to work as IT service providers. He has seen his workers' stress go down, while their time off hasn't jumped that much.

It's one of many rewards the company has implemented in the "talent war" breaking out along Utah's Silicon Slopes. A big tool in keeping his employees loyal is the inclusion of their partners, he says. To reward hard work, he'll pay for weekend getaways for couples at the Grand America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. Everyone gets a monthly date night on the company dime, for up to $50. Executech also holds frequent events for spouses, including a group sub-for-Santa shopping trip.

"What's interesting about employing somebody is you also employ their spouse, whether you realize it or not," Montague says. "One of the things that is key in keeping an employee satisfied is making sure their personal life is happy. If somebody's unhappy at home, they're not happy at work. It's just that simple."

Executech, one employee wrote in the survey, truly cares about its workers. "They make it a point to show them … how valued they are."

A common theme running through the survey comments posted by Discover Card employees was how much they value their workplace for providing them the flexibility to balance work and home life. A supervisor who helped one employee with bereavement leave "made me feel like … my personal life was more important to Discover than my job performance," according to an anonymous commenter.

That's intentional, says Steve Butler, vice president of Discover's call center in West Valley City. "The company is so family focused and recognizes the importance of our personal life to our well-being."

Such awareness shines through in benefits such as the on-site physician assistant, weight-loss sessions and professors who offer classes to employees seeking college credit to move into leadership positions.

The company recently added a therapist for employees who need counseling to manage life stresses. And it now provides free financial courses to help workers plan for retirement, create wills and pay or save for student loans.

"If people are struggling financially and really worried about that, they can't do their best," Butler explains. "When they eventually retire, we want [our employees] to be able to have a lifestyle that will make them happy."

How does the company benefit? Butler notes that Discover ranked highest in customer satisfaction for the third straight year, according to a J.D. Power survey.

The business analytics startup Domo has exploded. Since its 2010 founding, it has grown from 60 employees to about 800 and is now valued at more than $2 billion, according to the company.

Its "Family First" benefits package is a major part of its recruiting strategy among Utah's demographic profile that finds young, in-demand IT professionals having children in college or right after graduation.

Besides the $2,000 in Haute Mama gift cards for maternity clothing, the Baby Bucks newborn cash benefit and family leave (two weeks of full pay for fathers and 10 weeks at 80 percent pay for mothers), Domo just added a fertility benefit. The company will cover up to $40,000 in medical and prescription drug costs for fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization. The new program also helps employees navigate surrogacy or adoption.

Next up? • Finding a way to help millennials pay off student loans and help workers with aging parents cover elder care, says Cathy Donahoe, Domo's vice president of human resources.

"It started with what would matter to our employee base. Guess what? When you do the right thing for your employees, it makes you more competitive," she says. "We don't have crazy turnover, and that makes a difference in what we're able to accomplish."

Domo also hosts a black-tie Christmas party for employees and their partners, a family tailgate party with 20 bounce houses, a live band and fireworks. This year it added a family Halloween party.

Such rewards, Donahoe says, are "about realizing that your ecosystem is not just your employees."

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