Last night we crowned the Coolest Companies winners at our annual Chicago Fest summer bash. There were food trucks, cornhole, life size Operation, a killer band, and 11 cool companies walked away with crowns and awards. It was a blast.
If you missed out on all the fun, here’s a breakdown of last night’s winners, along with excerpts from their nominations on what makes them a cool company. (You can learn more about how we picked the winners here.)
- Has a structured betting system to facilitate employees’ competitive instincts. People bet on things like which CTA train line is slower, whether a team member can complete 1,000 jumping jacks in an hour, or if a team member can taste the difference between different brands of bottled water.
- Has an “Internal Talks” series, where the company gets together over lunch while a team member gives a talk. Topics range from a new tech skill that a team member just learned, to a summary of a completed project, to a practice session for a talk that the team member will give at an upcoming conference.
- Other perks like unlimited vacation, a coffee bar, and Divvy memberships.
- Plans bring your kids and bring your parents to work day, chili cookoffs, Cinco de Mayo pinata competitions, Whirlyball tournaments, and more.
- Has a Frogger machine and a beach volleyball team.
- Has an office scooter.
- Is introducing an employee program in 2017 for a paid month-long sabbatical.
- Is based out of Frank Lloyd Wright’s old office.
- Is actively involved in the Chicago-community through Epsilon’s Community Outreach program, fully managed and run by a group of volunteer associates to sponsor and plan local events.
- Has local beers on tap, a rooftop deck, free opera tours and events each month.
- Has unlimited vacation, and the co-founders encourage everyone to unplug for a week.
- Its most regular activity as a team is tasting all of the donuts Chicago has to offer.
- Praises employee accomplishments with a 5’3’’ trophy that’s passed around.
- Celebrate anniversaries with extended vacations and gifts.
- In January the company takes a plane to an all-expense paid trip to a five-star resort in Mexico.
- Has a streaming audio and video system where every team member is the DJ via Spotify.
- Free Friday lunch and end-of-day beers.
- Monthly anniversary/birthday bash.
- Has an open space that houses the office, engineering workshop, test kitchen, a “tree house,” and an upcoming indoor herb garden.
- Every day is bring your pet to work day, and there’s a mandatory three-week vacation policy.
- Has a fully stocked test kitchen and a world class chef.
- Has daily catered lunches.
- Does company events like a battle at Whirlyball, a company BBQ 36-stories up on the Skybridge roof deck, and a team dragon boat race on the Chicago River.
- Does an on-site biweekly Happy Hour.
Impact Networking (Reader’s Choice)
- Has an Employee Innovation Program that encourages and formally recognizes ideas submitted by Impact employees that positively affect the company in one or more of the following areas: Growth, Culture, Efficiency, Savings, etc.
Allstate (Reader’s Choice)
- Has free breakfast, drinks, healthy snacks, a ping pong table, and life-sized Jenga
- Has an open mic night.
- Gives employees discounts for activities around Chicago, personal vacations, apparel, cell phones and more.
Curiosity (Alumni Champ)
- Has weekly team lunches, happy hours, and an indoor s’mores bar.
- Holds gaming nights at Dave & Buster’s.
Image by Karis Hustad