How two companies climbed Fortune’s Best Companies list

SAS inched up one rung to No. 2 on Fortune’s esteemed list, and CHG Healthcare made a huge leap, from No. 9 to No. 3. They made similar internal changes to boost their rankings.

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Even so, the company’s senior director of external communications, Pamela Meek, points out that the difference between a No. 3 spot and a No. 2 spot isn’t that big.

“When you get to even the top five, the choice gets really difficult,” she says.

Medical staffing firm CHG Healthcare Services needn’t be quite so humble this year, however. It jumped from the No. 9 slot in the 2012 list to No. 3 this time around.

“Our people immediately organized parades to help spread the cheer in every office,” CEO Michael Weinholtz said of the in-house celebrations after the ranking announcement.

Just how did the two companies paw their way up the list? With wellness programs, lots of new training initiatives, and, perhaps most important, lots of open communication.

Cultures of openness

“Starting with our company intranet, our people are encouraged to interact and comment on company news and employee stories that are posted hourly by a dedicated communications team,” Weinholtz says. “I’ve also made a commitment to keep a direct communication line open through my blog, Open Mike, where I encourage employees to post comments and ask questions as often as they’d like.”

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