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What makes a company a great place to work? In the case of the 33 companies among Business Insurance’s 2009 Best Places to Work in Insurance, the answers go well beyond pay and benefits.

The companies among this year’s 33 Best Places to Work in Insurance also earned high marks from their employees in areas such as leadership and planning, corporate culture and communications, role satisfaction, work environment, relationship with supervisors, and training and development.

In the area of leadership and planning, for example, employees surveyed by Best Companies Group at companies on the list were strongly positive about understanding the long-term strategy of their organizations.

At small companies—those with 249 or fewer employees—94% of those on the list responded positively—”agree somewhat” or “strongly agree”—that they understand their company’s strategy. Meanwhile, at companies with 250 or more employees, 95% responded positively to that statement.

Of the smaller companies among this year’s Best Places, 95% of employees responded positively regarding their confidence in their organization’s leaders, with 93% of employees at large companies on the list offering a positive response.

In the area of corporate culture and communications, employees at companies on the Best Places list are strongly positive about the frequency and content of their company’s corporate communications. At the smaller companies, 94% responded positively to statements that their company’s communications were frequent enough and detailed enough; at the larger companies, 93% of employees were positive about frequency and 92% about the level of detail.

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