100 Best Companies to Work For 2014: Midsize Companies


Midsize Companies | 1st Place


Location: Bellevue / Employees: 91 / Top Score: Leadership of Executive

Smartsheet.com may be the biggest Washington business you’ve never heard of. While few people outside the tech sector have heard of this Bellevue-based company, its global presence is huge. Smartsheet’s work and collaboration management application is used by more than 40,000 organizations in 165 countries and counting, and its client list includes Google, Cisco and Groupon, among other heavyweights.

Whether you’ve heard of it or not, Smartsheet is as healthy and vibrant as a midsize technology company can be. It’s in the middle of its fourth consecutive year of triple-digit growth and the firm secured a $35 million round of venture funding in May, bringing its total funding to $70 million.

So how has Smartsheet sustained its almost meteoric rise? The firm hasn’t budged on its tireless approach to hiring the best talent and then offering an excellent suite of benefits and workplace culture to keep that talent in place. “We haven’t had an engineer leave since 2007,” says CEO Mark Mader. That qualifies as a near-miracle in an industry where quality software engineers are in high demand.

Such loyalty is a reflection of Smartsheet’s commitment to its workforce. Even as its staff has grown from nine to 120-plus in the past seven years, it has continued to cover 100 percent of health care premiums for employees, spouses and dependents. “Through ever-increasing premium growth, we’ve stood by it,” Mader says. “It’s the right thing to do.”

The firm’s culture is unusually open and communicative; financial performance is shared with every employee on a weekly basis. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that Smartsheet’s modern, open-concept headquarters are on the 20th floor of a Bellevue office tower with sweeping views in every direction, an in-house fitness center, and, in case hunger strikes, a Daniel’s Broiler restaurant one floor above.

Midsize Companies | 2nd Place

Prime 8 Consulting

Location: Kirkland / Employees: 44  / Top Score: Responsibility
& decision making

For Prime 8 CEO Drew Sharp, finding a balance between work and life isn’t just lip service. Sharp, who founded the technology consulting firm in 2006, leads waterfront morning runs from the company’s Kirkland headquarters. Prime 8 treats its 44 employees better than most of its competitors, with generous health insurance, retirement and telecommuting benefits. Add in quarterly town hall meetings, monthly breakfasts and regular one-on-ones for all employees, and it’s no wonder that Prime 8 boasts a near-100-percent employee retention rate.

Midsize Companies | 3rd Place

Level 11

Location: Seattle / Employees: 17 / Top Score: Benefits

Level 11 is an IT and technology consulting firm that understands the importance of levity: Its name comes from the 1984 faux-rockumentary This Is Spinal Tap, in which lead guitarist Nigel Tufnel boasts of owning an amplifer that “goes to 11.” Like that amp, Level 11 does everything “one louder” — and a bit better — than the rest. Employees work remotely as much as they like; they can pursue any continuing education opportunities they deem relevant to their jobs; upon hiring they are given activity-tracking wristbands the company’s engineers helped design; and they’re free to join the company’s sailing club or Ragnar relay-running team. 

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