Top 5 U.S. companies to work for

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Fortune is out with its list of the 100 best companies to work for.

One attribute these businesses seem to have in common is a focus on encouraging employees to give back to their communities. These methods range from offering workers paid time-off for volunteering to providing financial incentives for living in Detroit.

Here’s a look at the top five companies that made the grade:

  1. Google: Google (GOOG), which started life as a search engine, is today involved in everything from robots to "smart" homes to cars that drive themselves. As Fortune reports, this reflects CEO Larry Page’s wish for employees to be "audacious." The company clearly believes treating workers well fuels that audacity.

  2. SAS: While many companies talk about supporting employees in striking the right balance between work and home, software developer SAS has made it a priority. In a poll more than 95 percent of the company’s workers said it is easy to get time off when they need to attend to family issues.

  3. The Boston Consulting Group: As one of the world’s top consulting firms, BCG demands a lot of its employees. In return it gives generously in pay, perks and opportunities. For example, the company will cover all costs – including tuition and living expenses – for people to attend graduate school and will also lend newly hired consultants up to $100,000 for a down payment on a home.

  4. Edward Jones: The nation’s fourth-largest financial services firm has a devoted workforce -- employee turnover is an industry-low 8 percent per year, according to Fortune. Employees love the responsibility and autonomy the company gives them, along with a corporate culture that encourages cooperation across the organization.

  5. Quicken Loans: The Detroit-based mortgage lender is encouraging employees to help revive the troubled city. The company has teamed up with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Compuware and other local companies to offer financial incentives for those who rent or buy in the city. Fortune reports that renters can get a $2,500 allowance toward the cost of their apartment in the first year, while some homeowners are eligible for forgivable loans.

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    Constantine von Hoffman is a freelance writer and writing coach. His work has appeared in outlets such as Harvard Business Review, NPR, Sierra magazine, Brandweek, CIO, The Boston Herald, TheStreet.com, CSO, and Boston Magazine.

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