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Lancet™ Named Winner of Principal's 10 Best Companies For Employee Financial Security

Lancet™ Named Winner of Principal's 10 Best Companies For Employee Financial Security

Principal Financial Group - May 2003

» Profiles of the winners

The Principal 10 Best Companies for 2003 are:

  • CEF Industries, Addison, IL
  • Delta Dental Plan of Iowa, Ankeny, IA
  • Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company of Iowa, Des Moines, IA
  • Hypertherm, Inc., Hanover, NH
  • Lancet Software Development Inc., Eagan, MN
  • MEEMIC Insurance Company, Auburn Hills, MI
  • MSU Federal Credit Union, East Lansing, MI
  • Noesis, Inc., Manassas, VA
  • Parr Instrument Company, Moline, IL
  • Strata Environmental Services, Inc., Knoxville, TN

What the Principal 10 Best Companies say about their commitment to employee benefits:

...tough economic times: "Our number one asset is our employees. You have to take care of your employees, even in the down years. Even when cash was very tight, we still paid out benefits," said Chuck Novak, treasurer, CEF Industries.

"We have a no-layoff policy. We will never turn to a layoff situation unless we're all going down together," said Brenda Blair, director of human resources, Hypertherm, Inc.

...business success: "We want to reward our people for their hard work. Today, it's no coincidence that we are successful. One of the reasons is because of our employees," said Chuck Novak, treasurer, CEF Industries.

"If we keep our employees happy, they keep our members happy," said Todd Surline, vice president of human resources, MSU Federal Credit Union.

"Sometimes when you have high retention, some may think you are retaining employees who aren't motivated. In our case, it's the opposite. While we enjoy a high retention rate, we're also one of the few insurance companies in the country that's generating profits from business without investment income," Christine Schmitt, CFO, MEEMIC Insurance Company.

"Having a great benefits package helps us attract customers. If we have a good, stable work force, it can help drive business-especially in a consulting business like ours. They're more likely to be long-term customers if they know the employees they rely on will be here next year," said Tom Niccum, PhD, CEO of Lancet Software Development.

"Our satisfied employees provide great service to our customers," said Charles Ferst, president, Strata Environmental Services, Inc.

...the rising cost of medical insurance: "The basic tool we're using to control medical insurance costs is better education of employees. We didn't change the benefits package. We're just trying to provide better education to people so they can make better decisions," said Rich McMurray, treasurer, Parr Instrument Company.

...employee retention, attraction and productivity: "In the past, we've had people who left because they could make a dollar more an hour down the road. Now, we know that benefits are a major part of people staying. It helps morale and it keeps them here," said Chuck Novak, treasurer, CEF Industries.

"By offering competitive benefits and wages, we can attract people from other companies," said Brenda Blair, director of human resources, Hypertherm, Inc.

"People are very concerned about benefits, especially the high cost of medical and prescription drug coverage. They think, 'Maybe I might make a few thousand less here, but if the benefit plan is better, then it's worth it.' Benefits plans are more and more important to people," said Lynn Kalinowski, president, MEEMIC Insurance Company.

"We strongly believe that benefits are a retention tool for us," said Todd Surline, vice president of human resources, MSU Federal Credit Union. "And our turnover is approximately half of the average credit union's turnover."

"If a company is there for the employees, you can wind up with a lot more dedication. We get a lot of after-hours contributions from our employees because they feel like they're a part of the unit," said Charles Ferst, president, Strata Environmental Services, Inc.

...taking care of employees: "We're very family oriented. We treat employees as family and try to provide for them," said Steve Fischer, vice president of human resources, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company of Iowa.

"We try not to look at employees as numbers but as individuals," said Lynn Kalinowski, president, MEEMIC Insurance Company.

"It's important for me to be focused on personal, professional and corporate needs-in that order. The personal needs of the employee and family need to be taken care of first. If we have people who are comfortable with how their families are being taken care of, they do a phenomenal effort in delighting the customers because they know their basic needs are taken care of," said Richard Martin, president, Noesis, Inc.

...military leave: "One of the things we've looked at this year is our military leave policy," said Brenda Blair, director of human resources, Hypertherm, Inc. "We've spent a lot of time looking at what other companies do and what it means to comply with the law. Then we thought, 'What's the right thing to do?' As a result, our military leave policy is quite generous."

...voluntary benefits: A few years ago we put in voluntary benefits. This was the first time we had ever asked anyone to pay for anything, and we were skeptical. But it went over well," said Chuck Novak, treasurer, CEF Industries, Inc.