Best Places to Work: Association Edition
Photos by Kevin Kennedy 

Best Places to Work: Association Edition

Look over “Best Places to Work” rankings and you’ll often find associations on the list.

What makes an organization a “best place to work”? It’s not just good pay and free snacks. These three associations, all recognized by the Washington Post, build employee loyalty with perquisites that go well beyond vacation days and insurance packages.

American Podiatric Medical Association

Bethesda, Maryland
Members: 12,000 podiatrists
Staff: 57

Most unusual perk: Free head and neck massages several times a year.

Other highlights: To be family-friendly, APMA closes between Christmas and New Year’s Day, offers flextime, and provides free year-end financial consultations. To support the community, APMA schedules sandwich making for food programs; coat, toy, and school-supply drives; and competitions to prompt staff donations to charities. To promote good health, it provides free flu shots and classes in yoga, stress relief, and weight management. To have fun, the staff celebrates with monthly cake days plus a summer picnic and a holiday party.

Turnover rate: Nearly half the staff has been with APMA for more than 10 years. Some 20 percent have worked there more than 20 years.

Perspective: “When a team wins the Super Bowl, everybody on the staff has contributed and everybody gets a Super Bowl ring,” says Glenn B. Gastwirth, executive director and CEO of APMA. “We think the same way—all of us play a role in APMA’s success, and though everybody’s contributionns are different, we do things to make it clear we value them all.”


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Rockville, Maryland
Members: 182,000 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, scientists, students, and support personnel
Staff: 275

Management philosophy: As part of a culture that values teamwork and professional development, ASHA calls supervisors “coaches,” uses a 360-degree feedback system with all employees, and has a learning goal for every staff member.

Benefits philosophy: ASHA’s commitment to work-life balance and wellness translates into chances to telecommute and work a condensed week in the summer, as well as health screenings and daily onsite fitness classes, such as kickboxing and Zumba. Health-related campaigns have involved the Mediterranean diet and a “Spring into Motion” challenge that attracted 30 percent of the staff.

Most unusual perk: ASHA headquarters is a Gold LEED-certified green building. In addition to being environmentally friendly, the unique architecture lets the staff enjoy natural light and outside views from most spaces.

Turnover: Just 6 percent in 2014, half the industry standard for organizations in the Washington, DC, region, according to the Human Resource Association of the National Capital Area. Average tenure is almost 10 years.

Perspective: “We take care of the staff, the staff takes care of our members. I don’t know why anybody would not try to create a positive work environment where the result can be such a highly engaged workforce,” says Director of Human Resources Janet McNichol, CAE.

Consumer Technology Association

Arlington, Virginia
Members: 2,185 consumer technology companies, from smartphone manufacturers and cable TV providers to 3D printing companies
Staff: 148

Most unusual perk: A mortgage-assistance program designed to improve staff members’ quality of life by cutting down on their commuting time. If a staff member buys a home within a five-mile radius of the office, CTA will provide a $25,000 unsecured, forgivable loan to be used as a down payment.

Second-most unusual perk: All employees, including interns, get to attend CTA’s famous Consumer Electronics Show, held in Las Vegas every year. Through a program called “Share the Love,” even employee family members are eligible for an expenses-paid trip to the show if they’re willing to, for example, work the information booth.

A sampling of other benefits: Up to a month of paid maternity/paternity leave; adoption assistance; free onsite, employee-only gym available 24/7, plus fitness classes, a trainer, and health screenings; matching charitable contributions; community service days; and tuition assistance.

Perspective: “We represent the consumer electronics industry, one of the most innovative areas out there, so we like to stay at the forefront of innovation in how we treat our employees,” says Allie Fried, director of international communications.