1 of 3
O.C. Tanner
Carolyn Tanner Irish, chairwoman of the board of O.C. Tanner, addresses employees at the company's Salt Lake City campus on Thursday, March 3, 2016. The employee recognition pioneer was ranked No. 61 on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list — marking the second straight year the Utah-based firm has made the list.

SALT LAKE CITY — Two local companies made the list of the top places to work in the U.S., according to a national business publication.

Fortune on Thursday released its 100 Best Companies to Work For. The latest list of laudable employers included CHG Healthcare Service at No. 18 and O.C. Tanner at No. 61. This year marked the seventh year on the list for CHG and the second straight year for O.C. Tanner.

Partnering with the Great Place to Work Institute, Fortune conducts a national employee survey to rank firms for its 100 Best Companies to Work For list. Employees are surveyed on topics ranging from management’s credibility and overall job satisfaction, to pay, benefit and recognition programs. Eligible companies must be at least 5 years old and have more than 1,000 U.S. employees.

Headquartered in Salt Lake City, CHG Healthcare employs more than 2,000 people in seven offices across the country, including Florida, North Carolina, Connecticut, Michigan, Oklahoma and Utah.

“We’re honored to once again be recognized as one of the nation’s best workplaces,” said Scott Beck, chief executive officer of CHG Healthcare. “It’s our people who make CHG a great place to work.”

Kevin Ricklefs, CHG's senior vice president of talent management, said a strong workplace culture starts with listening and understanding how your employees feel about the company.

Years ago, employee turnover was between 50 percent and 60 percent annually at the company and industrywide, Ricklefs said. But leadership’s willingness to listen to feedback from workers helped make necessary changes that resulted in a much better work environment and drastically lower turnover, he said.

“In 2001, it was 49 percent," Ricklefs said. "For 2015, it was 17 percent. Keeping people here and keeping them engaged is a huge competitive advantage in our industry.”

He also said that there has to be buy-in at the top of the organization. If leaders are not invested in creating a strong culture, it will never take hold throughout the rest of the company, Ricklefs said.

He also warned that building an elite workplace environment cannot be done overnight. Creating a strong culture takes time, Ricklefs explained.

“We make a culture plan just like we do a business plan,” he said. “We make goals, create strategies and hold ourselves accountable.”

The other Utah company to make the list was O.C. Tanner. Founded in Salt Lake City in 1927, O.C. Tanner helps companies create and maintain inspiring cultures and engaging workplaces through employee recognition, the company website stated.

Receiving national acclaim for the second consecutive year, the company known for its worker appreciation programs was particularly pleased to be included among the best of the best.

“At O.C. Tanner, we take great pride in helping companies across the globe become great places to work, and for us that expertise starts with ensuring our company is a great place to work,” said O.C. Tanner CEO Dave Petersen. Creating a top-level workplace begins with appreciating the people who make the company prosperous, he said.

Receiving recognition at work has a statistically significant increase on engagement levels and great work, Petersen explained. Additionally, maintaining solid communication with employees helps foster a positive attitude among workers, he said.

Being frequently open and transparent with the people in the workplace establishes a foundation of trust, Petersen added.

“Let employees know they are valued by trusting them with information and keeping them in the loop with initiatives that are key to your company’s success,” he said.

Trusting employees by giving them the autonomy to do their job will give them a sense of their own contribution to the company’s overall success, Petersen said.

Creating a sense of purpose for employees is also a key element, he said.

"Uniting your people behind a common cause or goal can make work more meaningful and instill in people a sense of belonging and unified teamwork,” Petersen said. “The workplace should become a network of support, and a community where new ideas flourish and people feel supported."

Finally, developing strong familial relationships with co-workers can also help strengthen their sense of camaraderie.

“We spend so much of our time in the workplace that it’s vital to build strong bonds with our employees in order to give them a sense of belonging,” Petersen said. "We depend on them and they know it. They are our colleagues and our friends.

E-mail: jlee@deseretnews.com

Twitter: JasenLee1