King Arthur flour has always done things a little differently.
The 225-year-old company, which went from family owned to employee owned in 1996, has three co-CEOs--the chief financial officer, the chief marketing officer, and the vice president of human resources. It offers employees free food at its onsite bakery. It boasts an employee attrition rate that is "significantly lower" than the 13.3 percent that the manufacturing/distribution industry averages. And it reports that revenue for 2014 was north of $100 million, which amounts to a compounded annual growth rate of more than 5.4 percent over the past four years, a time when many people came to believe that gluten is the devil.
The company says that all of this is the inevitable result of a ferocious focus on treating employees well. This is not just lip service--concern for its workers has been part of King Arthur's charter since long before it became a Certified B Corporation in 2007, a status conferred on businesses deemed ethically and environmentally fit by the nonprofit B Lab. In 2014, King Arthur got the third-highest "worker" score among all B Corps nationwide.
The company achieved this by doubling down on the employee-friendly policies that many companies brag about but sometimes offer sparingly. King Arthur employee benefits include job sharing, flexible work schedules, and remote office options; 40 hours a year of paid volunteer time; free professional-development courses; and reimbursement accounts for things like smoking cessation, weight management, and child care. Lower-paid workers get a subsidy for produce from a local farm. There's a gym that offers free or low-cost group exercise classes. Lunchtime seminars are available--as are, of course, foosball and table tennis.
And King Arthur's next 225 years? "We may not know what type of business well be in and how well compete," says CFO and co-CEO Ralph Carlton, "but its hard to imagine that our employees and our culture wont be at the center of what were doing."