This Norwalk-based travel agency may be in the hands of a fourth generation of Taucks, but all employees are included in the family. During Hurricane Sandy's widespread power outages, staffers were offered three hot meals a day for themselves and their own families. Outside of company walls, Tauck holds community involvement days at locations like the Beardsley Zoo, Ellis Island, and Boston's Old North Church. Tauck vacationers help too, working on preservation-focused projects in places like the Grand Tetons. In the words of one employee, "We are privileged to work here and help people enjoy truly memorable experiences in their lives."
#5 Edward Jones
Edward Jones has nearly 60 branches in Connecticut and is always looking to open more with the help of talented hires. The firm is well known for transforming recruits with little to no financial background into successful financial advisors with the opportunity to work up to partnership level. Flexible hours and a choice of local offices — or remote work — allow for work-life balance, while a robust training program matches established advisors with new recruits to offer mentoring and field training. The company's success is everyone's success: a good year can yield bonuses three times a year and annual profit sharing.
#6 Citrin Cooperman
Mark Fagan, managing partner of this New York-based CPA firm's Norwalk office, says giving employees a voice is priority number one. Open meetings, input solicitation, and transparency across the board encourage communication, while opportunities to take part in planned and spontaneous cause-related activities enhance spirit. Accountant Sally Maybruch, a 28-year employee, has used the company's mentoring program to elevate her career, while receiving all the support she needed to raise three children as a working mom. One rarity? A paid sabbatical program; use some of the time to write essays on suggestions for the company and projections for your career, and the month is yours.
COCC, a provider of industry-leading complete technology services to banks and credit unions, is a mutual company offering a high level of customer service for its shareholders. COCC works to empower clients by giving them a voice in determining their technology future, insisting on open communication, sharing best practices and involvement in COCC's strategic initiatives.
COCC President and CEO Richard A. Leone said the company prides itself on its positive environment.
"Being named one of Connecticut's Best Places to Work demonstrates that we are growing the right way, with all our employees focused as one team to deliver the highest service levels to our customers," Leone said. "This award crowns the strongest decade in our 45-year history and I couldn't be more proud."
#8 Burns & McDonnell
The Burns & McDonnell New England office, located in Wallingford, is home to more than 170 employees specializes in program management, project controls, information technology, electrical transmission and distribution, design-build, business consulting and nuclear plant construction.
Burns & McDonnell Senior Vice President Brett Williams said the company strives to have a positive culture in the office.
"For the past four years, we've been honored to receive this prestigious recognition as a top place to work in Connecticut," said Williams. "Having happy and motivated employees has enabled our company to thrive, and we recognize the importance of continuing to raise the bar each year in order to recruit and maintain the very best talent."
Burns & McDonnell offers on-site fitness and dining facilities and other employee perks. Employees also enjoy regular company involvement in the community.
Kforce is a professional staffing and solutions firm specializing in the areas of technology, finance and accounting, and health information management for commercial and government organizations. Founded in Florida in 1962, Kforce now provides staffing services and innovative solutions through more than 60 offices in the United States, and one in the Philippines.
Melanie McNeely, Kforce managing director for the Connecticut area, said the company is honored to be recognized for its positive work environment.
"Kforce has a continued commitment to provide our employees with an exceptional workplace," McNeely said. "This award truly recognizes our great people and demonstrates why Kforce stands out as one of the top companies in the Connecticut area."
#10 Bearingstar Insurance
Bearingstar Insurance, a member of the Arbella Insurance Group, specializes in risk identification and protection serving the needs of individuals, families and businesses with 11 locations across the state.
Bearingstar represents many industry carriers, including American Modern, Safeco, Chubb Group, Progressive and Travelers.
Bearingstar is always finding ways to give back to the communities it serves with involvement in school, youth and sports programs such as the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference championships, educators' night at the New Britain Rock Cats and the Connecticut Association of Schools annual volunteer recognition event.
#11 Hinckley, Allen & Snyder LLP
Hickley, Allen & Snyder, founded in 1906, provides legal counsel and industry knowledge in several practice areas, including bankruptcy and insolvency, commercial and real estate finance, venture capital, intellectual property, state and federal taxation, securities law, health care law, construction law, corporate law, gaming law, municipal restructuring and real estate law.
The New England law firm, with more than 140 attorneys, supports a multitude of charities and focuses on three areas of giving, including pro-bono legal services, commitment of time to community organizations, and charitable giving to community organizations. The firm is based in Boston with offices in Hartford, Providence, Concord and Albany.
"We are honored to receive this recognition," said Marc Crisafulli, managing partner of Hinckley, Allen & Snyder. "Everything we do is aimed at creating positive outcomes for the people and communities we serve. Hinckley Allen has a daily focus on providing workplace excellence and enabling our employees to perform at their highest level."
#12 American Eagle Federal Credit Union
The largest community credit union in Connecticut with more than 100,000 member-owners and $1.3 billion in assets, American Eagle Federal Credit Union was founded in 1935 and now operates 17 branches in Central Connecticut.
The credit union has a long track record of community involvement in Hartford, Middlesex and Tolland counties in the areas of education and youth, basic human needs, and community development.
In addition, the Credit Union has established a Donor-Advised Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving that serves as its primary source of charitable giving and provides opportunities for the Credit Union, its members, and strategic partners to give back to the community.
#13 Stew Leonard's
A mainstay on many best places to work lists for years, Stew Leonard's has grown from a small dairy store founded back in 1969 to a $400 million business juggernaut with four stores — three of which are in Connecticut — employing nearly 1,500.
With a corporate culture centered upon S.T.E.W. — Satisfy the customer; Teamwork gets it done; Excellence makes it better; WOW makes it fun — Stew Leonard's cares for its employees with a comprehensive benefit plan that includes on-site medical screenings, competitive pay and profit sharing. In addition, the company provides full-time employees with a minimum of 50 hours of training yearly.
#14 Bingham McCutchen LLP
For the fourth-straight year, national law firm Bingham McCutchen appears on the best places list.
The Hartford office, with more than 100 attorneys and staff, encourages the strengthening of relationships with after-hours events and promotes professional development with in-house legal training.
In addition to the thousands of hours Bingham McCutchen attorneys devote each year in pro bono work, the firm's Pro Bono Fellowship Program allows two associates to work exclusively on pro bono projects for one year, while staying with the firm.
Lawyers and staff members also devote a great deal of time in an effort to improve the quality of life of underserved children and families, focusing on four major areas – organizations that provide legal services for the poor, innovative after-school programs, primary and secondary education, and arts and culture.
#15 Quinnipiac University
Quinnipiac, a private, coeducational university with 6,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students that is regularly ranked among the best universities in the country, was founded as a small New Haven college back in 1929. The school transitioned to a university in 2000 and is now comprised of eight schools and colleges and three campuses – Mount Carmel, York Hill and North Haven.
Quinnipiac has a nearly $260-million annual impact on the state's economy.
The university is a firm believer that service and civic engagement are crucial components of education and social change; Quinnipiac students are involved in community service programs, volunteer work and fundraising that benefit the local community.
"I am so pleased that our employees recognize the specialness of this empowering environment, where every employee on each of our three campuses, no matter the role, strives and contributes to Quinnipiac's excellence in higher education," said Ron Mason, Quinnipiac's vice president for human resources.