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Economy doesn't stop 100 Best

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Articles - March 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010

When the going gets tough, The Best get going.

When I started thinking about a headline that would capture the spirit and hard work of this year’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon, When the going gets tough was the first thing that came to mind. And it stuck.

The landscape was bleak when we sent the 17th annual 100 Best survey out last fall. Businesses were heading into another year of a historic downturn and many told us that having suffered through layoffs and other dismal events they weren’t going to participate in the survey. They either didn’t want to hear the bad news or didn’t want to rank low.

Well, that’s like hiding under your bed when your house is on fire.

In the previous survey we had a record 372 companies sign on. This year, that number was down to 303. I’d like to congratulate every single one of those 303 companies that thought it was important to find out how their employees are doing.

All of you are winners in my book for taking the survey so that you can figure out how to make your company a better place to work. Like I said: When the going gets tough, the best companies get going.

In the end, it’s about good leadership, which turned out to be among the most important attributes of this year’s winners. While overall scores were down, largely because of diminished benefits, satisfaction levels were high for this year’s 100 Best.

Managing editor Ben Jacklet interviewed dozens of the companies and in his story and found that the things that make a workplace great can vary, but one constant is inspired leadership. Throughout this issue, you’ll find examples of how leaders from large, medium and small companies across a wide spectrum of industries tirelessly — joyously — give their heart and soul to their team.

We also shined a spotlight on the Top 10 winners so that other companies could learn from their successful workplace best practices. My favorite suggestion? A shock pen. You’ll have to check out the story to find out what I mean.

Especially in hard times, being a great place to work helps your bottom line. It gives you a competitive edge, keeps the best people with you, and in turn those employees give back that heart and soul many times over.

Robin Doussard
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