100 Brilliant Companies

From Free Genetic Screening to a Maternity Concierge Program, These 10 Companies Go Above and Beyond for Their Employees

Check out the 10 companies that are taking compensation, perks and HR programs to the next level.
From Free Genetic Screening to a Maternity Concierge Program, These 10 Companies Go Above and Beyond for Their Employees
Image credit: Mario Wagner
Magazine Contributor
5 min read

This story appears in the June 2018 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Free lunch and extra vacation days? Those don't excite today's most in-demand employees -- which is why brilliant companies are becoming increasingly creative about ways to serve and foster their teams. That's now including things like Levi Strauss & Co.'s free genetic screenings and SurveyMonkey's expanded benefits for third-party contract workers.

Related: 10 Genius Marketing Campaigns That Went Viral

As part of our 100 Brilliant Companies list, see below how these 10 brilliant companies approach HR, work perks and compensation.

Intuit

It’s hard to compete with Google at the college career fair, and a year ago, Intuit was feeling the pain. “Tech companies with household names would have these long lines, and we’d have maybe a few people,” says Nick Mailey, Intuit’s VP of talent acquisition. Mailey and his team understood why -- young people just entering the workforce didn’t have exposure to Intuit’s business and financial software, making it tough to get them excited about the company. “We needed to show that we’re just as innovative, while differentiating ourselves from the other employers. We couldn’t just hand out water bottles,” Mailey says. 

With a Design Career Fair at the University of Washington coming up, recruiters decided to go big. Their solution: virtual reality. They put together a reel in 10 days. At the fair, they approached students in line for other tech companies and handed them VR goggles (instead of the typical water bottles), which offered a tour of the Mountain View headquarters, a look at how designers solve real-life problems, and an introduction to Intuit’s staff. The company’s Net Promoter Score among students surged from -60 to 30. Now Intuit has three versions of the VR experience, and about 200 VR goggles that travel with recruiters across the country. (Written by Kate Rockwood)

Vangst

Among the many challenges a cannabis business faces is this: It can’t post its open jobs on many job boards, despite most of those roles having nothing to do with cannabis. (Marijuana companies need financial analysts and marketing experts, too.) Vangst has stepped in to fill the void, helping companies connect with talent -- and last August, it expanded its service by launching Vangsters,
a digital platform to serve as a kind of LinkedIn for the weed business. 

Levi Strauss & Co.

How’s this for an unexpected workplace perk? Last fall, Levi’s started offering free genetic screenings to employees at its San Francisco headquarters, allowing workers to assess hereditary health risks. The program has proved to be polarizing, but still, more than half of HQ employees opted in, and Levi’s is looking to take the benefit company-wide.

Related: 10 Insanely Clever Ways These Companies Grew Their Business

Tyson Foods

After the newly passed federal tax breaks, many giant corporations said they’d give one-time bonuses to their employees -- which is nice, but not as lasting as the company’s tax benefits. Tyson, which will save $300 million, is handing out those bonuses and investing in a program with a more lasting impact: It’s expanding its Upward Academy program, which provides GED courses and English classes for Tyson employees, many of whom are immigrants. The program will go from 27 facilities to 40, and in the years ahead, Tyson plans to continue investing in the program until it’s available to every employee. 

Fifth Third Bank

As the corporate world debates the best way to support new parents, and the government has yet to deliver President Trump’s promised paid parental leave plan, it’s often falling to small companies to innovate ideas. Last year, this Cincinnati-based regional bank debuted an especially noteworthy one: a Maternity Concierge program, which helps female employees who are either pregnant or have a baby up to 1 year old find their best work-life balance. The service can help with everything from the essential (finding and researching childcare options when maternity leave is over) to the elective (baby-shower planning).

Leesa

The online mattress company -- which is a B corp -- regularly donates new beds to those in need. Following Hurricane Harvey, Leesa employees hand-delivered more than 500 to victims in homeless shelters. It may sound like extra work, but Leesa celebrates the practice, which has become an important recruiting tool, helping attract like-minded do-gooders as the company grows. 

Weebly

In 2017, the company launched an employee program called Weebly Wanderlust, giving every employee of five or more years a six-week paid sabbatical. The kicker? The website builder will even cover round-trip airfare to anywhere in the world. Let employees go free, the company believes, and they’ll come back happy.

Related: 10 Product Innovations You Need on Your Radar Right Now

Jaguar Land Rover

To attract 1,000 new electrical and software engineers, the car manufacturer launched a code-breaking challenge in partnership with Gorillaz. (Yes, the band.) The puzzle lived within Gorillaz’ mixed-reality app, which is a combination of virtual and augmented reality that grants access to the band’s house. It attracted more than 40,000 people, and top performers were fast-tracked through the company’s recruitment process. In September, the first hire was made. 

Survey Monkey

In January, based on full-time-employee feedback, SurveyMonkey started offering healthcare, time off and transportation benefits for all third-party contract workers at its California headquarters. Those benefits apply to 50 additional workers, and the company is working to expand the program to other offices.

The Muse

In 2017, the job-listing site for millennials released its BrandBuilder tool, which captures information and data about what current employees like about a company’s culture and opportunities. The Muse then uses that feedback as an additional recruiting tool, giving job seekers a more complete -- and honest -- view of a potential employer.

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