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Great Smaller Companies to Work For

Great Place to Work Institute ranking looks at small & medium organizations

June 30, 2004


Three mortage-related businesses made the first ever list of the Best Small & Medium Companies to Work For in America, which reportedly found that the keys to a successful company are respect for and communication with employees.

The top 25 small and top 25 medium organizations were selected and ranked by the Great Place to Work Institute. The San Francisco-based company helps compile Fortune magazine's 100 Best Places to Work For, which recognizes employers with 1,000 or more employees. The list was released by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which collaborated with Great Place to give small-and mid-sized companies the opportunity to compete for the honor of being the "Best" in the nation.

"Being a top employer is critical to long-term growth and success," said SHRM president and CEO Susan Meisinger in the announcement. "Too often only large organizations receive credit for great people practices. SHRM is very proud to show that smaller organizations can and do compete for top talent and may even have added flexibility or innovation to help employees perform well while loving their jobs."

Companies were selected primarily on the basis of employees' responses to randomly distributed opinion surveys, Great Place said, which then based rankings on responses to detailed questionnaires about the organizations' workplace cultures.

In the small company (50-250 employees) category, Advanced Financial Services Inc. placed No. 5. The Newport, R.I.-based residential mortgage lender claims it was a pioneer in alternative financing and that it has helped achieve homeownership for over two decades. SHRM said Advanced Financial encourages its 212 employees to communicate their ideas to improve the organization by randomly selecting six employees to participate in semiweekly breakfasts with the company president.

In the 23rd spot was Parkway Properties Inc., which has 237 employees. The Mississippi real estate investment trust specializes in operations, acquisition, ownership, management, and leasing of office properties, and also offers real estate services, according to its Web site.

Within the "best" medium entities (251-999 employees), Sandy Spring Bank was No. 22. With 603 employees, the Maryland thrift originates mortgage loans through its division Sandy Spring Mortgage in five eastern U.S. states and Washington, D.C.

"These organizations are outstanding examples of companies that value their employees and have worked hard to create a positive, productive organizational culture," Meisinger said. "All of these organizations stress respect, honesty, and communication to keep their employees engaged and excited with their jobs. These smart people practices make the difference between good companies and great companies."

Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for MortgageDaily.com.

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