With unemployment just over 10%, job security is one of the top desires of employees today. Along with good pay and benefits, people want to find a company that's not going to give them a pink slip any time soon.
Here's a group of companies that earn high marks in that regard. Nine companies on Fortune magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For list for 2009 have never undergone layoffs - ever.
1. Nugget Market
Nugget Market has avoided layoffs because of careful job placement and shrewd labor management. Instead of laying off workers, the 81-year-old grocery store refrains from replacing employees who leave. Its stores are 15 miles from each other, making it easier to fill positions, and employees are trained to fit various roles. The Woodland, Calif.-based supermarket chain filled 173 jobs, for a 22% job growth in the year before the list was released in February.
Sandwiched between Goldman Sachs and Adobe Systems, the store ranked number 10 on the overall list. Store directors make an average of $116,440 in annual salary, and checkers, the most common hourly workers, earn $34,490. The store also offers 100% health care coverage.
2. Devon Energy
Devon Energy, an oil and gas producer headquartered in Oklahoma City, takes a conservative approach to its finances, yet still treats its employees well. Ranked 13 on the overall list, it started a 401(k) retirement plan featuring company contributions of 11-22%.
Flexible and prudent management helps avoid layoffs. The company, which cut its operating budget before the recession, withholds raises in bad years but gives midyear pay increases in good times.
Aflac, known for its quacking duck ads, sells supplement insurance. The company, based in Columbus, Ga., keeps its eyes on its budget and ears open to employees. Employee suggestions like telecommuting and flex schedules have saved it millions of dollars. Other company benefits include an onsite fitness center, subsidized gym membership and the largest onsite corporate child care center in Georgia.
Because the 24-hour convenience store is privately held, it can send profits back to its stores and workers instead of shareholders. Smart financial management has helped it thrive in the downturn. It offered over new 1,400 jobs last year. Wages and benefits are so good that over 200 employees have stayed with the company more than 20 years.
The storage retailer, based in Coppell, Texas, froze salaries and watched spending to avoid layoffs. Still, it kept expanding last year, opening four stores and adding 70 employees. Extensive employee training makes the company stand out.
6. NuStar Energy
Considering layoffs harmful to company productivity, management avoids them like the plague. The San Antonio-based pipeline and refinery operator also offers bonuses that can exceed $10,000 and 100% 401(k) matches for up to 6% of pay.
Known for flashy store displays, the privately-held grocery chain focuses on customer service and long-term sales rather than short-term earnings. CEO Stew Leonard Jr. says selling groceries is a stable business, which helps avoid layoffs. No matter how the economy is faring, people still have to eat.
The privately-held online discount brokerage as cut bonuses instead of cutting employees. A conservative growth strategy has also helped it avoid layoffs.
A strong balance sheet with no debt helped the grocery chain acquire 49 stores and hire over 1,250 people last year. In its 79 years, it has never had layoffs. No wonder - it's entirely owned by employees.
Besides never laying off employees, at least as of early this year, companies on the list are also some of the best to work for. Treating employees well means good pay and benefits - two factors that are attracting all the right workers.
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