FORTUNE's Best Companies to Work for 2011

best companies to work for by Fortune Magazine: Milton Moskowitz, Robert Levering & Christopher Tkaczyk

Each year Fortune compiles its list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. Based largely on employee surveys, this list is significant for all those who are not just looking for a job, but also a great experience at work.

We've listed the top ten of Fortune's 2011 list below. This year eight of the top ten companies from last year were able to maintain there exclusive ranking. The two new additions are companies you've likely heard of before; they're online shoe retailer and outdoor product purveyor Recreational Equipment (REI)

So without further adieu, here are the top ten companies to work for...

01. SAS

Rank: 1 (Previous rank: 1)

What makes it so great?

A 14-year veteran of this list, the software firm takes the top spot for the second year running.

Its perks are epic: on-site healthcare, high quality childcare at $410 per month, summer camp for kids, car cleaning, a beauty salon, and more -- it's all enough to make a state-of-the-art, 66,000-square-foot gym seem like nothing special by comparison.

This year, strong employee feedback sent its numbers even higher. Says one manager: "People stay at SAS in large part because they are happy, but to dig a little deeper, I would argue that people don't leave SAS because they feel regarded -- seen, attended to and cared for. I have stayed for that reason, and love what I do for that reason."

2009 revenue ($ millions): 2,310

02. Boston Consulting Group

Rank: 2 (Previous rank: 8)

What makes it so great?

The consulting giant not only avoided layoffs in the downturn, but hired its largest class of recruits ever in 2010.

They're drawn by the firm's generous pay and a commitment to social work: Its Social Impact Practice Network (SIPN) offers a chance to work with the U.N. World Food Program and Save the Children, while BCG pulled its consultants off client projects to provide on-the-ground support in Haiti following the earthquake.

The company jumps up from no. 8 last year.

2009 revenue ($ millions): 2,750

03. Wegmans Food Markets

Rank: 3 (Previous rank: 3)

What makes it so great?

This customer-friendly supermarket chain cares about the well-being of its workers, too. This year, 11,000 employees took part in a challenge to eat five cups of fruit and vegetables a day and walk up to 10,000 steps a day for eight weeks.

Another 8,000 took advantage of health screenings that included a flu shot and H1N1 vaccine -- all covered by Wegmans.

2009 revenue ($ millions): 5,193

04. Google

Rank: 4 (Previous rank: 4)

What makes it so great?

The search giant is famous for its laundry list of perks including free food at any of its cafeterias, a climbing wall, and, well, free laundry.

Last year, with revenue up more than 20%, Google sweetened this already rich pot of perks by giving every employee a 10% pay hike. Googlers can also award one another $175 peer spot bonuses -- last year more than two-thirds of them did so.

2009 revenue ($ millions): 23,651

05. NetApp

Rank: 5 (Previous rank: 7)

What makes it so great?

It was a rebound year for the data-storage firm (no. 1 in 2009), as revenues jumped 33% and it hired hundreds of new employees.

Hourly executive assistants make $76,450 a year here, supplemented by a bonus of $21,917.

Employees also enjoy perks like free fruit on Tuesdays, free bagels and cream cheese on Fridays, and free espresso all the time.

2009 revenue ($ millions): 3,931


Rank: 6 (Previous rank: 15)

What makes it so great?

The online shoe retailer makes a big leap from no. 15 to no. 6 this year.

Now part of the family, the company's quirky, happy culture remains: Employees enjoy free lunches, no-charge vending machines, a full-time life coach on hand, and "create fun and a little weirdness" as one of the company's guiding tenets.

2009 revenue ($ millions): 1,190

07. Camden Property Trust

Rank: 7 (Previous rank: 10)

What makes it so great?

The Houston-based apartment management firm weathered the recession as employees pitched in to trim $6 million in costs, largely by renegotiating contracts and reducing pay.

One team sent a scrapbook to the CEO to show how much they love the company, while another planned and organized a "flash mob" dance routine for leaders' benefit.

One popular perk: Staffers can rent furnished apartments for $20 a night in locations like Orlando, San Diego, Denver and Austin for use on personal vacations.

2009 revenue ($ millions): 624

08. Nugget Market

Rank: 8 (Previous rank: 5)

What makes it so great?

Rallies are an everyday event at this nine-store Northern California supermarket chain, where management uses a big flat screen computer monitor in each store to deliver important information about products, messages from the leadership team, employee awards, and pump up the troops.

Employees who watch diligently can be rewarded with bonuses that range from $20 to $1,500. Universal perk: everyone receives a 10% discount on store purchases.

2009 revenue ($ millions): 288

09. Recreational Equipment (REI)

Rank: 9 (Previous rank: 14)

What makes it so great?

After 15 years of service, employees at this adventure gear retailer are entitled to a four-week paid sabbatical; after that, they can take one every five years.

Employees also receive 50%-75% discounts on full-price REI branded apparel and equipment, free rental of equipment like skis and kayaks, and an annual gift of REI gear.

A separate Challenge Grant program provides up to $300 worth of gear to employees that participate in a challenging outdoor adventure (one cycled 500 miles across Iowa).

2009 revenue ($ millions): 1,455

10. DreamWorks Animation SKG

Rank: 10 (Previous rank: 6)

What makes it so great?

The creators of Shrek and Kung Fu Panda are lavished with free breakfast and lunch, movie screenings, afternoon yoga, on-campus art classes and monthly parties.

CEO Jefferey Katzenberg still takes time to call job candidates to encourage them to join.

Any DreamWorker can pitch a movie idea to company executives -- and can take the company-sponsored "Life's A Pitch" workshop to learn how best to do it.

2009 revenue ($ millions): 725

Continue to CNN Money to see the Complete 2011 List of Best Companies to Work For

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November 20 2013 at 3:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

it's looking good information on top companies. it's pleasure to read the article. thank you

October 27 2011 at 8:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I worked in the construction field all my working years. I got the perks I earned and nothing more. I got a paid vacation of two (2) weeks.

January 20 2011 at 3:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

SAS is no different than any other company if you don't work in Cary, NC.

January 20 2011 at 12:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So the criteria for a good company is the perks they offer? What nonsense.

January 20 2011 at 11:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to rdk's comment

Hell to the yeah its the perks Richard. What did you think it was HOW MUCH THE CEO'S MADE.

January 20 2011 at 11:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's not what makes a good company, it's what companies are good to work for. Of course the company with the most benefits wins.

January 20 2011 at 12:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

My daughter worked for Nugget Market for 2 years. She worked in the deli in many roles. She ended up as a team leader, in name only. She was expected to do the work without the title or the pay. She was always promised training, and advancement. She tried for over a year to transfer to other sites, and was never allowed to because her manager would always tell corporate that she was too valuable to his store. She told me about the surveys that she filled out as a new employee, and the glowing reviews she gave, but as time went by, reality sets in and those "anonymous" surveys are no longer given to employees who have not given a glowing review.
From the time she started at her store, which was a brand new store in the chain, until she quit, the employee turnover was huge. No, Nugget has never laid people off, but many have either been fired or forced to quit.

January 20 2011 at 11:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where is COSTCO in this list??? COSTCO is treats their employees with dignity, and backs it up with benefits that allow them to become healthy and financially secure. They offer good pay, paid vacation and holidays, health, vision and dental benefits, a 401K, life insurance, long and short term disability and much, much more. In addition, COSTCO truly respects diversity and has an open door policy. Yaaaa COSTCO!

January 20 2011 at 11:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to kctaxlady's comment
Dayna attitude? I LOVE my job, it's perks, my bosses, etc. The fact that I am not impressed with what REI offers their employees is hardly something that will bite me in the ass. BTW, we're not friends. What a jerk.

January 20 2011 at 11:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm sorry....what? You need to work for 15 years at REI in order to get 4 weeks paid vacation? Big frigging deal. I don't care if they call it a "sabbatical" or not. I have been at my company for 3 years. I have 3 weeks paid vacation. Next year I will have 4. Don't get the big draw there.

January 20 2011 at 10:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
6 replies to Dayna's comment

Well, I use to work for AOL as remote staff in their communities. I won an award for my work and agility in the workplace with my contribution to the creation of the AOL for Small Business Community. Even though all remote staff of the communities was laid off, I still can say this was the best job I have ever had. I would join them again in a minute.

January 20 2011 at 10:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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