RANK: First Place, Large Nonprofits
COMPANY: Career Path Services, Spokane
Inspiring Others to Hear the Call
Career Path Services has been linking employers and job seekers for more than 40 years. In that time, the agency has grown from a single office of 15 employees to more than 90 employees spread across the state of Washington. Every year, Career Path Services assists thousands of low-income, rehabilitating and developmentally disabled workers as they seek reentry into the workforce. CEO George Iranon believes that the journey back to stability begins with a positive interaction between each job seeker and his or her advocate at Career Path Services.
“So many of the people we serve are in poverty and they don’t have healthy role models that work with them,” Iranon says. “If we’ve got healthy employees who not only see themselves in a career but in a calling, they might be able to inspire somebody in poverty to do something more productive and positive with their life.”
To that end, Career Path Services’ workforce is empowered with a range of health and wellness benefits that are virtually unheard of in the nonprofit sector. For starters, employees enjoy comprehensive health care coverage, a four-day work week and semiannual two-day, off-site retreats. Plus, every worker receives a $300 annual wellness stipend to be spent on the health- or wellness-related expense of their choice, free sessions with a financial adviser and $40 each month for mobile phone usage, regardless of how much that phone is used for work.
For Iranon and his crew, that’s not enough. They need to have fun, too.
“We’re about food, fun and fellowship,” he says. “If you don’t have fun doing something for 40 hours a week, for 40 years, it’s a sad life!”
Each May, the organization participates in Spokane’s famed Bloomsday Run. And Iranon cooks breakfast for the runners. Throughout the calendar year, employees are encouraged to bring a little bit of levity to the table, be it a Friday afternoon dance party, a lighthearted-yet-sincere recognition of another employee’s efforts or a Hawaiian shirt policy during the summer.
“We have people who are so invested in their jobs that when you give them permission to include some creativity and fun, they go to town,” Iranon says.
RANK: First Place, Small Nonprofits
COMPANY: WTIA, Seattle
Good Culture from the Top Down
It may not be obvious to the technologically unsavvy, but Washington has been at war much of the past decase: Our state's tech firms have been waging a cutthroat battle for top-tier talent since Kozmo.com seemed like a good idea. As the most highly qualified candidates choose among the best firms in the state, compensation and benefits have become sweeter than ever.
So how does a nonprofit trade association compete with that?
The answer, according to Washington Technology Industry Association CEO Susan Sigl, is to create a workplace that exemplifies the best of the tech industry.
“We are really fortunate. We’ve got a board of 40 technology leaders here in Puget Sound,” says Sigl, who announced in May that she would be leaving WTIA after three years at the helm. “Those folks are company builders, they’re strategists and they help set the culture. ... Good culture comes from the top down.”
With more than 500 member companies representing some 100,000 technology workers, WTIA is among the nation’s most powerful statewide technology trade associations. The organization serves as a hub of Washington’s tech marketplace, linking like-minded firms, providing continuing education and advocating for tech interests in front of policymakers.
WTIA is also one of our state’s great places to work. The association’s workplace atmosphere is a reflection of values that have become pervasive in Washington’s tech sector: an emphasis on work/life balance, generous employer contributions to health insurance premiums and 401(k)s, as well as a continuing-education policy that encourages professional development.
“The tech sector is so competitive,” Sigl says. “So tech companies have to have leadership that believes in good, solid culture and values.”
That solid culture, Sigl says, isn’t standardized, “but it’s an industry requirement because you’ve got to have it in order to attract great people.”