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South Jersey’s Best Places To Work

by Trish Adkins
Imagine an office with a roaring fireplace, a state-of-the-art cafeteria or even a full-day, on-site kindergarten program to make the work-life balance for parents just a little bit more attainable. Or consider perks like flexible schedules, tuition reimbursement and scholarships, and 100-percent paid for health insurance. We’re left with just one question: What more could you ask for?

Campbell Soup Company
An iconic presence in South Jersey, Campbell Soup Company offers more than great comfort food—it provides a home away from home for employees.

“Campbell recognizes that every employee has different needs,” says Chief Human Resources Officer Bob Morrissey. “We offer a variety of programs and benefits to help employees balance their work, personal commitments and interests to achieve their full potential.”

Along with great benefits, flexible scheduling and condensed summer workweeks, communication is key in connecting the 1,500 employees in South Jersey with the more than 15,000 employees worldwide. Campbell provides a quarterly Employee Forum that gives them the opportunity to hear directly from the CEO and senior leaders about company strategies and financial performance.

On-site perks include a Family Center that provides daycare, full-day kindergarten, adoption assistance, and a room for nursing mothers. In the modern, 80,000-square-foot Employee Center unveiled in 2010—the centerpiece of a $132 million campus improvement project—there is a fitness center as well as a company store filled with Campbell brands, a company credit union and cafeteria. Renovations throughout the campus also enhanced the work environment by providing more contemporary office space and much-needed conference rooms. “The new facilities enable Campbell to recruit, retain and develop the best employees in the food industry,” Morrissey says.

Campbell celebrates the accomplishments of employees in a variety of ways, ranging from a peer-to-peer recognition program to an annual companywide awards ceremony. The company also gives employees opportunities to grow through training and education programs offered through Campbell University and tuition assistance, which totaled $1.4 million worldwide in 2011.

Wellshire Farms
Wellshire Farms is the largest supplier of all-natural, preservative-free meats for Whole Foods in the U.S. and Canada, and it also supplies products to ShopRite, Acme and Trader Joe’s. After starting his business in the basement of his home in 1996, and then expanding it to include more than two dozen team members, founder and owner Louis B. Colameco knew his employees needed to have a comfortable and pleasant work environment in order to be productive.

Today, the “office” consists of a converted and renovated 1800’s farm and stables on 10 acres of ground. “If you are stifled in your environment, you can’t think,” says Colameco, who finds the typical corporate cubical setup to be oppressive.

“Everyone has a window, a comfortable chair and the flexibility to work anywhere on the property,” says Colameco, adding the grounds include an enclosed swimming pool, gym, trampoline, walking trails and shuffle board court. Inside, the office features a large wood stove. There’s a corporate chef on the premises two-three times per week, who prepares meals for employees using some of Wellshire’s 350 different products. Fresh groceries are also brought in every week and employees are encouraged to prepare lunches in the company kitchen.

If that’s not enough, other perks include closing early each Friday, 100 percent company-paid health insurance, recycling and composting on site, and a new NitroFill station to fill the tires of employees’ vehicles.

Univers Workplace Solutions
Univers Workplace Solutions provides benefits and enrollment communication products to companies in all 50 states, housing 200 full-time employees and a 1,000-member team of on-call temporary workers. Despite its size, “Our core values and operating principals are centered around people first,” says Chief Human Resources Officer Kathy Caccese.

The company offers a variety of benefits ranging from flexible scheduling during the summer months, telecommuting options, a credit union, spot bonuses, employee incentives, health and fitness incentive programs, and a wide array of voluntary benefits including legal, accident, life insurance and a pre-tax transit program. Once a month, employees are reviewed through a talent/risk inventory that looks at opportunities for salary increases. Core groups and project teams have off-site meetings a few times a year and the company keeps things light-hearted with an annual Wiffle ball tournament.

Caccese says the small-town character of Hammonton is evident in the office, where everyone knows each other’s families. Through the Educates Program, dependents can be awarded a $15,000 grant for use toward college tuition. The Cares Program assists employees when they are in need, providing funds for medical bills or funeral expenses.

Flaster/ Greenberg P.C.
Cherry Hill
“We don’t sell merchandise; we sell a service,” says Flaster/Greenberg managing shareholder Peter Spirgel. “So our assets are our employees.”

This full-service commercial business law firm believes strongly that its employees should be treated as justly as its clients. “We’ve tried to create an environment for all of our employees that treats everybody fairly, with respect, and allows them to have a good work/life balance, which is often a challenge in the legal profession.”

Along with a full range of benefits—health, disability and life—there is a profit-sharing plan for all employees, tuition reimbursement and legal service benefits available. A fully equipped gym, firm-sponsored 5Ks, and yoga classes on Wednesday nights add to a health-minded approach, as well as a staff bike club that participates in weekend rides.

When it comes to team building, there are several events, including an annual softball game, end-of-summer party, Thanksgiving feast and white elephant holiday party.

“We recognize people have to spend most of their waking hours at work, so we try to make work as pleasant as possible,” Spirgel says. “I think when people are happy and feel good about their place of work, they treat each other better and perform better—and that spills over to the experience our clients have.”

Hill International
Hill International, a project management and construction claims services firm with 110 offices worldwide, prides itself on being a global company with a small-company feel.

“There is an independent, local culture in each of our offices that reflects the local market,” says John Paolin, vice president of Marketing and Corporate Communications.

Many of the employees in Hill’s corporate headquarters in Marlton have worked for the company for 25 to 30 years. Paolin says some employees have left and then opted to return to Hill because of its family-like culture and emphasis on personal growth. Hill offers tuition reimbursement as well as bonuses for completion of courses and degree work.

A lake and woods with walking paths and beautiful outdoor spaces surround the offices. Employees participate in many social engagements like basketball games, happy hours and charitable endeavors.

Employees are also treated to an annual holiday party, which Paolin describes as a first-class experience with catering, music, dancing and camaraderie. The company organizes potlucks and a spring family picnic, as well.

Grimley Financial Corporation
Grimley Financial Corporation, a third-party debt collection agency, prides itself on offering a family-like atmosphere with on-the-job perks and special activities.

“There are lots of perks and surprises like game tickets, dinners and lunches,” says Maxine Hillenbrand, a debt collection analyst who has worked at Grimley for nine years.

Throughout the spring and summer months, CEO Chuck Grimley arranges for the Mr. Softee truck to stop by the offices once a month. The company also offers supplemental benefits from Aflac in addition to vision, dental, medical and a 401(k) plan.

“All the perks are a great morale booster,” says Donna McWilliams, an insurance collection representative at Grimley.

In addition to fun perks, Chris Scharle, director of Sales and Marketing, says the open, communicative atmosphere is one of the best parts of coming to work. The CEO is always in the office and team members are always available to help problem-solve and alleviate on-the-job stress with positive reinforcement. "At Grimley, you feel committed and you want to perform your job to the best of your ability,” says Scharle.

Beneficial Bank
26 locations in South Jersey
Beneficial Bank is focused on serving educational needs within its company walls and also within the communities in which they do business. The bank supports the continued education of employees through a tuition reimbursement program. Discounted tuition is offered through Pierce College for employees, spouses and children. They are also committed to professional development through their Performance Management process, which provides team members with the opportunity to discuss their goals and track their growth.

In the community, Beneficial employees directly support education by volunteering their time to teach financial literacy lessons at schools throughout South Jersey. Employees also help local charities through their Blue-Gooders program, a team of employees that volunteers at local events and holds food drives during the holidays.

According to Jill Ross, vice president and New Jersey market director, “It is important to me to work for a company whose mission aligns with my own. Beneficial’s mission and my job is to educate our customers to do the right thing financially.”

Cherry Hill
Katz/Pierz, a firm that provides insurance and benefits solutions for individuals and employers, knows that good benefits and a collaborative work environment can make the workplace an amazing place to be.

The office of about 20 employees is also very family friendly. Joe Sulpizio, partner at Katz/Pierz, says ensuring their employees can be present in their children’s lives and at recitals, ball games, plays and other activities is second nature. The company offers flextime to ensure parents can balance family life with their career. Every employee is treated to a birthday cake and often the firm has a full office lunch, which gives the entire team time to collaborate and check in on projects.

“I love what I do. I love the people I work with and the camaraderie in the office,” says Sulpizio.

Employees are also provided with a 401(k) match and an annual bonus program.

NuStar Energy
Paulsboro and West Deptford
Twice per year, the company has wellness competitions to encourage healthy living. Specializing in transportation and storage of fuel products, NuStar Energy’s core value is simple: “Employees are our No. 1 asset.”

The international company employs 130 at its facility in Paulsboro, with a support office in West Deptford. Dan Statile, vice president and general manager at the Paulsboro facility, says the company offers opportunities for career advancement through education, training and regular reviews, frequent roundtable discussions with corporate executives, extensive benefits, and a dedication to health and wellness. Employees are treated to monthly health and wellness lunchtime events. There are also free annual health assessments, walking clubs and a nurse practitioner on site multiple times a week.

Family is very important; the NuStar Foundation provides scholarships for employees and their families, and the company supports bring your Child to Work Day each year.

Employees treat one another like family, as well. Last year, when Hurricane Irene hit, several employees were affected. NuStar provided hotels for evacuees, generators for those without power, tree removal service and grants to help families rebuild their homes. In the past, the company has also provided money for school uniforms, built homes through Habitat for Humanity, and participated in the Relay for Life.

“All of our community outreach helps employees develop a sense of satisfaction and positive self-image,” Statile says. “We know at the end of the day that we succeeded in our jobs and were also able to give back to the community.”

Mount Laurel and Maple Shade
ARI manages vehicle fleets for public and private entities across a broad spectrum of industries and six continents. The top principle of their business model is the belief that the most critical part of their success is their people.

“Our employees are our most valuable asset, so we work to ensure that our employees are provided with a variety of opportunities to further their career through training and education, and can participate in the company’s overall success through regular town hall sessions and opportunities to excel through our ‘Partners in Excellence’ quality assurance program,” says Bill Kwelty, senior vice president.

The average tenure for employees is 15 years and the turnover rate is just 2.9 percent. At the global headquarters in Mount Laurel, there is the ARI Bistro. The cafe offers employees a variety of healthy eating options, a landscaped outdoor seating area, and a gym.

ARI provides opportunities for collaboration and team-building through quarterly town hall meetings with staff and senior management, a quality assurance program that awards employees who excel at customer service, continuing education opportunities through tuition reimbursement, and an on-site ARI University. There’s also an emphasis on giving back to the community.

“Our dedication to community service has always been one of our company’s core values. It stems from our founder, Steward Holman, who had a strong belief that it is a business’ obligation to give back to the community in which it operates,” says Kwelty.

Bayada Home Health Care
The driving force behind the culture at one of the country’s leading providers of home health care is what’s called The Bayada Way, a philosophy centered around compassion, excellence and reliability. According to Michele Miron, Bayada’s recruiting director, The Bayada Way is what ensures the best possible experience for the patient and their family, and that extends to all Bayada employees.

“We take great pride in working for Bayada,” Miron says. Plus, she adds, with the company growing across 26 states and recently acquiring 16 Nursefinders offices, “people feel as if, with our company growth, we’re stable and secure. That’s a good feeling as an employee.”

There are several employee recognition programs offered, including a scholarship program in which health care professionals can apply the money toward a master’s degree, earning an MBA or transitioning from an LPN to RN or RN to BSN. The Bayada Bucks program offers points to employees that go above and beyond, which they can redeem at the Bayada store for items like designer handbags.

Employee benefits at Bayada include comprehensive medical and dental, along with a 401(k) and something they call “well pay,” in which eligible employees can be paid quarterly for unused sick time. An annual satisfaction survey also goes a long way in making sure employees are happy.

“People genuinely want to help people here,” Miron says. “They genuinely care. We bring people into the organization that believe in The Bayada Way.”

Team Builders Plus
Team Builders Plus is a management consulting firm that creates team-building programs for companies of all sizes. “What we preach to our clients, we practice within our walls,” says owner and founder Jeffrey Backal. “We treat our employees like family.”

The company offers comprehensive benefits and a flexible work environment, plus great family events. The entire staff, plus spouses, significant others and children, have participated in many out-of-office activities, including traveling to the Poconos to celebrate New Year’s Eve together.

Staff members participate in and review new team-building programs before they are launched to clients. This summer, the company will try out a cooking team-building program.

Backal says the most important part of the work environment is the family-like atmosphere. Employees often include staff in personal events like weddings and mitzvahs. “Special events would not be the same without them. My staff are like family to me,” says Backal.

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst
Burlington/Ocean County
It’s considered the country’s premier joint warfighting base, meaning its national and international impact is far-reaching, but Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst is also South Jersey’s largest employer, putting people to work here daily in both military and civilian positions.

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, which spans 20 miles and two counties, is dedicated to creating a community for all service members and civilian employees to live, work and play. The joint base hosts a number of family and community events throughout the year while providing the entire community with a well-rounded living experience to enhance the holistic health of the force.

Federal civilian employees at the base enjoy benefits including flexible schedules and telecommuting options; family and medical leave; a family-friendly workplace including childcare centers; 10 paid holidays each year plus sick leave; up to 26 vacation days a year; comprehensive health insurance; long-term care insurance; a retirement plan and life insurance; leave-sharing programs; student loan repayment; retention allowances; and recruitment and relocation bonuses.

Headquartered in Marlton; with hospitals, outpatient, office and wellness locations throughout South Jersey
As the largest health care system in South Jersey, Virtua maintains its commitment to keeping South Jersey healthy by starting with its 8,400 employees.

“It is very important for everyone to stay fit and stay healthy,” says President/ CEO Richard P. Miller. “At Virtua, employee wellness is a key initiative now and for the future. We continue to create a culture of wellness among our employees and have many incentives in place to help make that happen.”

Virtua, also honored in 2011 as a Best Place to Work, has continued to promote a culture of wellness among employees by offering new programs in 2012. All staff are encouraged to take a health risk assessment, offered as an incentive to continue to advance the culture of wellness within Virtua. More than 1,100 individuals have participated. The results are used as tools for employees to understand immediate health risks so they can take action for personal health and well-being.

To keep their healthy lifestyles affordable, Virtua offers significantly reduced membership fees for employees at Virtua’s fitness centers. There are also increased incentives and reimbursements for participation in programs at the Center for Weight Management; six free visits to a dietician annually; and lower co-pays to use specialists and primary care physicians within the Virtua preferred network.

“If our employees are healthy and well, they have a better quality of life—both at home and at work. We value our employees and strive for what is best for them and their families,” says Miller.

Edmund Optics
Celebrating 70 years of business, Edmund Optics is the world’s largest supplier of optical components. After so many years, the company remains infused with entrepreneurial spirit and a positive, family-based work culture, says Marisa Edmund, vice president of Marketing and Communication. “Achievement is encouraged, expected and celebrated,” she says.

Edmund employs more than 150 people in South Jersey and 700 worldwide. The company offers flexible schedules, a 401(k) plan, tuition reimbursement and child care reimbursement to all employees.

Throughout the year, Edmund Optics hosts events to keep staff morale high like ice cream parties, a Spirit Week celebration and dodgeball battles. The South Jersey office has a catering company on site, providing low-cost, gourmet lunches for less than $5 a meal. Each month, Edmund Optics chooses a different charity and plans an office event around it. Through August, the company will hold a lemonade stand each Friday to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.

Edmund says the best aspect of the workplace is its people. “The caliber of the people, their positive work attitudes, spirit and passion make Edmund Optics a great place to work.”

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 2, Issue 6 (June, 2012).
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