3. Sterling-Rice Group

Advertising and communications firm

BEST PERKS: Alternative work environment, Community & environmental support, Swag
HIRING? Yes! srg.com

We believe in creating ideas with life. Ideas that are human. Ideas that create impact, live on, and thrive, that change the way consumers think, feel, and behave.

SRG is a brand-strategy, innovation, and creativity firm based in Boulder, Colorado. Our interconnected model and unique fusion of strategy and creativity provide a wide set of capabilities for growing brands and businesses. Our core competencies are insights, strategy, innovation, and communications. For the past 27 years, we’ve worked with the most sophisticated and innovative companies in the country, as well as with smaller entrepreneurial organizations. Our philosophy is simple: we do work that works. We’ve generated over $10 billion in incremental revenue for our clients in just the past five years. And over 90 percent of our clients rehire SRG.

We have a culture that can’t be duplicated, and it is at the heart of everything we do and every decision we make. We were founded with a set of beliefs—excellence, creativity, honesty, respect, responsibility, education, social value, and fun—and we measure ourselves against them every year. Some of these values recently became en vogue with companies, but we’ve been living them for almost three decades. We spend time together as one big family to have fun, celebrate our success, and honor each other’s personal and professional success. In our 27 years, we have never not grown, and we’ve never had layoffs. We keep spirits high with company meetings in the mountains, spontaneous ski trips, and weekly after-work events. In addition, we host an average of 30 employee events each year, including morning espresso and smoothie carts, sporting events, end-of-day happy hours, beer and wine tastings, Halloween party, holiday party, St. Patrick’s Day pancake breakfast, Cinco de Mayo celebration, summer picnic, Super Bowl dip-off, Kangoo Jump class, bake sales, etc. Our legendary First Friday lunches feed our culinary curiosity while letting us regularly celebrate our successes. And our commitment to giving back to the community is a source of great company pride. Here, collaboration is the new competition. So every time any one of us wins, we all do.

By far our most substantial incentive program is SRG’s profit sharing. This program provides an annual bonus based on the company reaching the planned goals for the year, and there are accelerators built into the profit sharing if the company exceeds the plan. All employees participate and share in the company’s financial success. Even in spite of some economically challenging years, SRG has always paid a profit-sharing bonus. SRG contributes 3 percent of each employee’s annual earnings to every employee’s 401(k), regardless of employee contribution. Employees are immediately eligible, and matches are 100 percent vested. 

Our biggest award is the Alan Webb Inspired Thinking Award, established 2008 in honor of Alan Webb, the company’s first creative director and a key leader at SRG. This is a very special award for the agency, given each year to one outstanding individual who best reflects the qualities and spirit that Alan so permanently implanted in this company.  

We have always been centrally located in downtown Boulder. Our location provides direct access to Boulder’s extensive bike-path network, for jogging, walking, and, of course, biking. In the winter months, an ice-skating rink is located in the building’s courtyard, and in the summer Boulder hosts their renowned farmer’s market on the edge of the park adjacent to our building. The building’s most prominent fitness facility is the One Boulder Fitness athletic club. The club hosts a variety of yoga, spinning, and aerobic classes, in addition to providing members with top-of-the-line fitness equipment and private coaching. Discounted membership plans are available to all SRG employees. We host health clinics throughout the year that include annual biometric screenings, health risk assessments, and flu shots. Every Friday, chair massages are available during the workday for employees.

One of the many reasons employees come to work at SRG is the opportunity to enjoy the fantastic outside lifestyle that living and working at the foot of the Rocky Mountains offers. So while our staff hardly needs to be encouraged to get outside, SRG sponsors employee participation in several outdoor athletic events each year. In the spring, SRG sponsors four company teams in the Bolder Boulder Memorial Day run. In the summer and fall, SRG covers the entry fees and paid time off for employees who participate in both the Wild West Relay and Courage Classic Bike Ride, for which employees also raise funds to support Children’s Hospital. In the winter, SRG sponsors an all-company powder day at our local ski area, Eldora.

SRG has a generous vacation and paid-time-off policy that encourages a healthy work-life balance and that recognizes employees for their years of service. All employees are granted two days of paid personal time, two paid floating holidays, nine paid holidays, and unlimited sick time to be used at the best discretion of employees. In addition to the base paid time off, employees are given, and encouraged to use, their vacation time based on years of service. In the first year, employees receive up to two weeks of paid vacation time; during years two through five, employees are given three weeks of paid vacation time; after five years, employees are given four weeks; and after ten years, employees are allowed five weeks of paid vacation time.

One of our founding beliefs is social value, and we take it pretty seriously. We are highly involved in the community and support a number of local organizations. Each year we contribute at least 10 percent of our operating profits to various nonprofits in the form of matching employee donations, direct cash donations, pro bono services, and as major event sponsorships for over a dozen organizations. The three organizations that we are most involved with are the Community Foundation, Family Learning Center, and Community Food Share. In addition to these charities, we support Children’s Hospital, Meals on Wheels, Boulder Community Hospital, American Red Cross, and the Boulder Philharmonic.

We also rise to the occasion and rally around significant causes where there is a need. For example, SRG and its employees raised $50,000 for Haiti last year and an additional $35,000 for Japan earthquake relief. On their own, our employees are also incredibly generous. When asked, 93 percent volunteered their time last year, and 98 percent made one or more charitable contribution.  

SRG has a dedicated sustainability practice charged with maximizing the agency’s sustainability efforts and curbing our consumption of natural resources. The program has fostered enthusiastic recycling and composting habits and limited the use of plastic water bottles with reusable drink ware. We save half a million pieces of paper annually by setting all printers to default double-sided printing. We’ve already reduced the amount of energy our servers use by one-third. The program leaders are developing a zero-waste policy for company events and also work with our property owner to dramatically enhance the energy profile of our building through motion-sensor lighting, auto-control heating, delamping of commons areas, etc. SRG also participates in a number of programs focused specifically on minimizing our carbon footprint. Since 2008, we have worked with and purchased carbon and clean-source offset credits through Renewable Choice Energy to offset the company’s estimated carbon consumption by 100 percent.

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