Senior project analyst Robert Scholl and his collection of coffee sleeves at Research Into Action.
Marjorie McRae enjoys Research Into Action not only for its environmental work but also because there’s
room in the office for her two dogs. // Photos by Teresa Meier
Jane Peters has noticed a pretty unique trait among not only her 21 employees, but anyone who’s even interviewed for work at her social marketing and evaluation research firm RESEARCH INTO ACTION (NO. 25 BEST SMALL COMPANY).
They all have the environment on their minds.
And because Research Into Action focuses primarily on energy efficiency, renewable energy and the environment, it’s been an attractive place for green-minded workers.
“That’s always been kind of a value that people who work here have had,” says Peters, who founded the Portland firm in 1996 to conduct research and analysis of, among other things, the energy programs utilities offer their customers. “I think people here really like to work someplace that is consistent with the way they’d like the world to go.”
Peters fosters that ideal even more with some of the benefits she offers employees, including monthly $50 bonuses for those who walk, carpool or bike to work, subsidies for a membership in the car-sharing service Zipcar and $100 a month to help pay for the purchase of a highly efficient car.
“We have quite a few hybrids in the parking lot,” Peters says.
Yet beyond some of the green and more unique benefits, Peters says she has always tried to make Research Into Action a great place to work through more workaday perks: a nice office environment, plenty of monitors and computer power, comfortable work stations, and a schedule that works out nicely for parents with kids in school.
One sign that it’s working: she’s had very little turnover in nearly 15 years.
“What I really hope is that this is a good place to work in terms of respecting everyone’s knowledge and skills, that there are opportunities to grow and sufficient benefits so people feel they are secure,” she says. “It’s pretty simple, but it works.”