Top workplaces provide unexpected prospects for staff members.

Offering pay and benefits is a job standard. Offering a 24/7 employee support line and opportunities to grow skills and career level in as little as four months? Not so much. WesBanco and Choice Recovery are two exceptions to the rule, with programs and ideologies in place that are aimed at fairly compensating, rewarding and opening doors for employees. And 61 percent of survey responders think it is important for a gig to meet or exceed expectations.

WesBanco is a small bank. Aware that smaller means less room to grow, it gives employees a chance to expand skills and gain pay through cross-training.

“I think because we're a smaller bank a lot of times we're limited with our staffing … Our high performers, many of them want to learn other opportunities,” says Regional Human Resources Manager Cyndy Bass. “So, let's say we've got a teller (who) might have an interest in becoming a personal banker at some point. We'll give them an opportunity to learn part of that role and then be trained as a teller/personal banker, or what we call a ‘universal banker,'” she says.

And WesBanco addresses both the professional and the personal. Its Health Advocate Program, offered through a third-party, is a free resource of guidance and support for personal challenges that run the gamut from death to divorce.

Choice Recovery also passes the expectations test with flying colors. The debt collection agency strives to break out of the collections mold. It knows that having character attracts those with character.

“Everything we do is by design,” says COO John Olmstead. “Finding people that fit the criteria that we have—we know that if we're not diligent with that we're not going to have good folks, and our motto is built on having the best people working for our company.”

Beyond competitive pay and generous benefits—including 14 vacation days for an entry-level employee—Choice wants its people to tackle new roles. For example, Benjy Paley was job-searching four months ago. At a job fair, he approached Choice Recovery's table only as practice for the jobs he was actually interested in. He was won by the kindness and camaraderie he experienced and accepted an entry-level position—and has since become director of marketing.

“Benjy came in as a consultant, but he had a bigger vision, a bigger dream … (Employees) start doing one thing, but they see where their talents, their skills, their experiences could lead them, then typically they're given the go-ahead to do that,” says Olmstead. Choice Recovery further aids in the development of its people with “custom leadership development programs that allow people to, ‘Do their best in work and life,'” says Olmstead. “That's how (job search support program) [re]start was born. It came out of what we call ‘Built to Lead.' That they took their business plan to Chad, the owner … he gave them the green light.”

Chloe Teasley is the editorial assistant.