Today, Fortune released its annual list of the 100 best workplaces for women in partnership with consulting and research agency Great Place to Work Institute (GPTW).
To figure out which companies would make the cut, GPTW surveyed more than 400,000 employees in the United States and honed in on four key factors.
First: how positively women rated their organizations over 50 different metrics (including ethical leadership, respectful and fair workplace interactions, great benefits and development, and strong caring and personal support). Second, women's survey responses compared to their male colleagues'. Third, their experiences across job roles; and finally, representation in management and executive positions.
The top 10 companies on the list showcased organizations in a wide variety of industries, including Texas Health Resources, a faith-based, nonprofit health system in Arlington, TX, Ultimate Software, a human resources software solutions firm in Weston, FL, St. Louis-based financial services firm Edward Jones, and Marriott International, which is based in Bethesda, MD.
Employees at these companies said things like, "Our facilities contribute to a good work environment" (at grocery chain Wegmans Food Markets), "I feel I receive a fair share of the profits made by this organization" (at Delta Air Lines), "We have special and unique benefits here" (at Navy Federal Credit Union), and "I believe management would lay people off only as a last resort" (at Edward Jones).
The employee benefits ran the gamut from just fun to seriously impactful. Many of the organizations offered perks like fitness classes (onsite or with discounts or full-coverage), massage therapy and dry cleaning, and free snacks during the day, discount ticket sales, and free or subsidized food and beverages.
When it came to serving parents, some organization led the pack. For example, the Navy Credit Union offers 55 fully-paid days of maternity leave (though only 10 days for paternity leave). Ultimate Software had a comparable package, with 50 fully-paid days of maternity leave and 20 days of fully-paid paternity leave.
There were some blips. Marriott, which is fourth on the list, offers 25 days of paid leave (after one year of employment) and 18 paid days off for part-time workers after one year. However, the company gives a mere 10 days of fully-paid maternity, paternity, and adoptive leave. They do offer 70 days of job-protected leave for parents, but the fact is that few parents in the country could afford to go that long without earning an income — even in a two-parent household.
Texas Health Resources offers 60 days of job-protected maternity leave — although that included FMLA and short-term disability leave, and the company did not indicate whether any of that was paid.
These figure are far below average: A 2016 report from The Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that on average organization give 41 days of paid maternity leave, 22 paid days of paternity leave, 31 paid days of adoption leave, and 36 paid days of surrogacy leave. (SHRM also provides a parental leave benchmarking tool that allows users to compare their organization's packages with others.)
As R29 argued in a previous look at Fortune's list, having cool perks is great, but more meaningful ones that invest in employees' quality of life as they move through the workforce are what really make the difference. It's good to see some companies stretching themselves beyond average, but there's obviously still more work to be done.