2015 Top Workplaces: The value of good benefits

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

At CWI Gifts, they believe taking care of business means taking care of employees.

"This really is a family-owned business," says David Parker, vice president of operations for the Reynoldsburg distributor of country and primitive gifts and home decor. "Our employees tell us they feel like they are part of our family. We encourage them to take care of themselves and their families as much as we encourage them to work hard to achieve the company's goals."

Compared with other characteristics, however, pay and benefits are not the most important factors to workers in central Ohio's 60 Top Workplaces, according to the top Workplaces study by WorkplaceDynamics. Just under half –49 percent-say it is important that their pay is "fair" for the work they do, and just over a third say it is important for their benefits package to be "good" compared to others in their industry.

>>Download the full 2015 Top Workplaces list

CWI Gifts offers paid time off, medical and dental insurance and a 401(k) plan with an employer match, Parker says.

"We also enjoy Pizza Fridays once a month, costume contests, potlucks, Easter egg hunts, cookouts, employee contests such as the Biggest Loser weight loss contest and a big Christmas party every year," he says. "We work hard and play hard. It's the only way to go."

Treating employees well is the right thing to do and it yields good results, adds Maria Clemens, chief information officer at the managed care organization, Management and Network Services in Dublin. "We genuinely do care about our employees. They make us who we are," she says. "We pay attention to how we treat each one."

In addition to a 401(k) matching program, Management and Network Services pays 82 percent of employees' health insurance premiums. The company also offers lunch-and- learns and other social opportunities. Employees can set their own schedules as long as they clock their hours between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc., participates in an annual third-party compensation survey to evaluate the fairness and competitiveness of associate compensation, says Susan M. Stuart, head of communication for the Columbus investment management company. All associates have equity ownership in the parent company, and a high percentage of annual incentive compensation is paid in company stock, she says. In addition to competitive salaries, all associates receive a five-year cliff-vested stock grant upon hire. The company also offers a 401(k) matching program and pays a high percentage of associate's insurance premium, she says.

The benefits contribute to a quality work experience for employees, Stuart says.

"A positive work environment allows each associate to have an enjoyable and fulfilling role, which in turn provides the foundation necessary to fulfill our mission of providing value to our clients through competitive investment returns and excellent client service," she says.

Trained and happy workers are at the heart of a good customer experience, agrees Keith Carroll, vice president of operations the Discover Financial Call Services call center in New Albany. The company wants employees to feel that they are respected and appreciated, and that means taking care of them and giving them the tools they need to do their job, he says. The company provides a gym, fitness classes and a basketball court for employees to use. The company has extensive training and on-boarding processes for new hires and associates who are promoted, he says.

"Nothing sends a worse sign of lack of respect than if they are not prepared to do the job," he says.


My pay is fair for the work I do. 49%

My benefits package is good compared to others in this industry. 37%