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Three Florida companies make Fortune's list of top workplaces

Consistently, privately held Publix Super Markets appears in Fortune magazine’s list of “Best Companies to Work For.”

CHERIE DIEZ | Times (2003)

Consistently, privately held Publix Super Markets appears in Fortune magazine’s list of “Best Companies to Work For.”

Three Florida companies boast workplaces good enough to make Fortune magazine's national Top 100 "Best Companies To Work For" ranking this year. Results appear in the Feb. 8 issue.

In Deerfield Beach, Toyota/Scion independent distributor JM Family Enterprises Inc. (ranked No. 28) enjoys a well-publicized family atmosphere.

In Coral Gables, Baptist Health South Florida (No. 32) is not only South Florida's largest employer but offers three-year bonuses up to $4,000 to retain workers.

And in Lakeland, top grocer Publix Super Markets (No. 86), defied a 2009 recession by opening 36 new stores.

Curiously, none of these three companies are publicly traded, perhaps a hint that catering to Wall Street does not enhance the workplace. The same three were the only ones from this state to make Fortune's list in 2009 and 2008, as well. Publix has been listed every year since Fortune started it in 1998.

The top 100 list does include plenty of other companies, based elsewhere, that are prominent employers in the Tampa Bay area. And that gives us an opportunity to examine what specific perks, paychecks and cultural advantages they offer that helped put them on Fortune's radar. And it gives readers of this column better insight into who's out there, even in this difficult recession, with some compelling workplace features.

Some are even hiring. Let's take a quick tour.

At the financial brokerage firm Edward Jones (No. 2 on the Fortune 100 list), the firm weathered the stock market downturn without closing any of its 12,615 offices.

At yuppie-lovin' Whole Foods Market (No. 18), whose sole metro area store is on Tampa's Dale Mabry, a salary cap limits top earners to 19 times the average hourly wage of $16.98.

USAA (No. 45), which provides financial services to the military, features such benefits as a 401(k) match of up to 8 percent of pay and performance bonuses of up to 18 percent of pay. In early 2009, USAA said it was consolidating and adding 400 jobs to its operations in Tampa.

At Build-A-Bear Workshop (at No. 80), whose four area stores are housed in various malls, two-thirds of employees are younger than 25, 80 percent work part time, and those averaging 20-plus hours can get health insurance.

At Marriott International (No. 82) — whose dozens of area hotel properties range from Tampa's downtown Marriott Waterside and St. Petersburg's Renaissance Vinoy Resort to Courtyard Marriott and Fairfield Inn — chief executive officer Bill Marriott's annual letter to associates appears in 28 languages for a diverse work force.

Overall, among Fortune's top 100 companies:

• Fourteen pay all of their employees' health care premiums.

• Nearly a third offer an onsite child care center.

• Eighty-four allow employees to telecommute or work at home at least 20 percent of the time.

• And 19 offer fully paid sabbaticals.

Strong cultures. Distinctive perks. Better-than-average job security. Pretty sweet.

Contact Robert Trigaux at

Fast facts

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What are the best places to work in Tampa Bay? Check out the St. Petersburg Times' first survey of the Top 60 Workplaces in a special report coming March 21.

Three Florida companies make Fortune's list of top workplaces 01/25/10 [Last modified: Monday, January 25, 2010 10:34pm]
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