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Abt, Coyote, Red Frog lead Chicago's Top Workplaces list

By Corilyn Shropshire
Tribune staff reporter

November 14, 2011

Three Chicago-area companies, Abt Inc., Coyote Logistics and Red Frog Events ranked among the best places to work in the Chicago Tribune's second-annual list of top 100 workplaces.

Glenview-based appliance and electronics retailer Abt Inc. took the top slot in the large employers category, praised for giving employees financial incentives to perform, investing in their ideas and its 85,000-square-foot showroom.

In last year's survey, Coyote Logistics Co-Founder and CEO Jeff Silver was lauded for his leadership of the growing logistics firm. This year, Silver's pack of more than 600 praised the firm's new Avondale headquarters, complete with gym and recreation room, supportive leadership and the potential for lucrative commissions, landing the company in the No. 1 spot among mid-size firms.

Red Frog Events' "work hard-play hard" mantra, complete with flexible work schedules and generous benefit packages, made the Near North Side-based firm the No. 1 small company to work for.

Other employers that received high marks included Naperville-based real estate company Charles Rutenberg Realty of Illinois, ranked No. 4 on the midsize companies list, and Itasca-based fleet leasing firm Emkay Inc., which ranked No. 7 on the list of small employers.

Chicago's Top Workplace rankings were compiled from a confidential survey conducted by WorkplaceDynamics, an Exton, Pa.-based workplace survey specialist. More than 1,600 Chicago area employers were asked to participate and nearly 200 responded to a set of statements about their feelings toward the workplace, including execution of plans, working conditions and direction of the company.

"The Top Workplaces survey and the reporting that we put into it offer detailed insight into specific reasons why some employees value their jobs, said Associate Managing Editor/Business Michael Lev. "Employees need to feel confident about the direction of the company and feel that their contributions are valued and recognized. Often it's the smaller things, like regular communication with employees, and public recognition of achievements, that keep them feeling fulfilled."

WorkplaceDynamics identified the highest-ranking workplaces and divided them into three categories: small firms with fewer than 250 employers; midsize firms with 250 to 999 employees; and large companies with more than 1,000 employees. The winners included 20 large, 35 midsize and 45 small firms.

The winners were announced Monday evening at an awards reception at the Chase Auditorium Downtown.

The Tribune's Top Workplaces magazine will be available as part of Tuesday's Chicago Tribune.

Copyright © 2011 Tribune Company. All Rights Reserved.