November 11, 2013
2013 Top Workplaces

Innovative Benefit Programs: The Training Associates, Westborough

To Judy Hyotte, the benefits of working at The Training Associates in Westborough aren't just about specific policies on things like insurance and holidays.

"They really ... make sure you enjoy what you're doing," she said.

Hyotte joined TTA almost two years ago as a second career after retiring from a job in Boston. She said she appreciates flexible hours and telecommuting, but just as important is the way management at the family-owned training company projects the attitude that everyone is on the same team.

"They're very understanding if you need time to do something," she said. "You're an adult. You're respected."

At some companies, managers may worry that letting workers leave early or work from home on Fridays, could lead to situations in which an employee leaves gaps that co-workers must scramble to fill. But Keith Lippert, the company's director of marketing communications, said it's just the opposite.

"It's almost like a 'pay it forward' mentality," he said. "We have those benefits at our fingertips that the owners have given us, so the respect is there as far as doing a good job in return."

Lippert said the company, which employs about 90, offers strong standard benefits like health and dental plans, a 401(k) match and plenty of vacation days and holidays, as well as extras like flexible scheduling, holiday parties, company outings and an on-site gym.

Yet some of what TTA does is not as much about benefits for employees as about building a culture that doesn't distinguish between things that are good for employees and things that are good for the company. As a provider of third-party trainers, TTA has thousands of training professionals available to call on for in-house trainings. That allows workers to cross-train for each other's jobs, so they can more easily support each other's flexible schedules, Lippert said. It also helps workers advance through the company.

"It's really not just to do your job well today but to do a better job tomorrow, and for the growth of the company," he said.

Even in rough years like 2009, when the economy was struggling, Lippert said, TTA has made a point of keeping the little extras for workers. That year, he said, management scaled down the company outing but made sure to offer a modest catered meal.

"It's not, 'Well, we didn't make profit this quarter, so we can't do these things.'"

In recent years, TTA has been growing at a fast clip, with revenue rising from $19.5 million in 2010 to $71.2 million in 2012 as more companies sought out professional training services. Lippert said 2013 has also been a great year, and 2014 is looking even better. Between the growth and the strong benefits, Lippert said, the company sees huge interest among potential employees.

"We get an overabundance of excellent resumes," he said.

Lippert said seasoned professionals who have been commuting from Central Massachusetts to Boston for years often want to find work closer to home so they can spend more time with their families. At the same time, though, they don't want to give up good pay and benefits, or the stability of a strong company.

In fact, Lippert said, he's part of that group."We just don't want to be on a train for an hour and a half."

Hyotte said that's important to her too. Even more important, though, is the appreciation she feels for her workplace.

"I wish I had found this place sooner."

Honorable Mention

Reliant Medical Group, Worcester

Reliant pays for most of its employees' health insurance premiums. It also helps with employees with their financial goals by working with business partners who meet with employees — at no cost to them — to assist them with their short- and long-term financial planning needs.

Read more

Work And Workers: As Not Seen On TV

General Excellence: Hanover Insurance Group, Worcester

Employee Health & Wellness: Chitika

Employee Rewards & Recognition: World Energy Solutions, Worcester

Education, Training & Career Development: Fallon Community Health Plan

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