Amex, Four Hotel Companies On Fortune's 2014 Best Places To Work List

Fortune this week published its annual list of the best U.S. companies to work for, and again the only travel industry representatives are hotel companies and American Express.

Fortune partners with the Great Place to Work Institute to compile the list, which is based on surveys of 252,000 employees from 257 firms.

San Francisco-based Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants ranked 21st, improving from its 28th position on the 2013 list. "Employees are the secret ingredient for this chain of unique boutique hotels and restaurants__they're challenged to create special moments for guests," according to the write-up. "A job well done is rewarded with 'Kimpton Moment' tokens that can be redeemed for paid days off, gift certificates to restaurants, flat-screen TVs and other prizes."

Ninety-six percent of surveyed employees said Kimpton is a friendly place to work, 95 percent indicated that they "are given a lot of responsibility and trusted to do a good job without management looking over their shoulders," 84 percent said they are paid "fairly for the work they do," and 78 percent said they receive "a fair share of profits."

Marriott International also obtained an improved ranking, moving to 57th from 64th last year. "The word 'family' comes up frequently when employees talk about Marriott," according to the write-up. "They use it to describe the company's efforts to foster work-life integration, and in talking about the hotel chain's workplace culture."

Ninety-two percent of surveyed Marriott employees said the company is a friendly place to work, 91 percent answered that they are "proud to tell others where they work, and that they feel a sense of pride in what they accomplish." Fortune/Great Place to Work Institute also cited the company's diversity and a sense of "upward mobility," given that "more than half of Marriott managers rise from the ranks of hourly employees."

American Express is the 67th ranked company, sliding from its 51st position last year. "American Express enjoys a longstanding reputation for venturing to the ends of the earth to help customers," according to the write-up. "Lesser known, but just as impressive, are the distances this company will go to care for its employees."

Ninety-three percent described the company as "a friendly place to work," which according to Fortune is "no small feat in an organization of American Express' size." Authors of the listings noted that positive sentiments from employees "held strong even as layoffs posed a challenge to the company's workforce in 2013."

Four Seasons Hotels also appeared again on Fortune's list, this time securing the 91st position. "Eighty-seven percent of employees describe their benefits as special and unique," according to the listing.

Hyatt Hotels was not on the 2013 list, but this year worked its way to a 95th ranking. "More than 90 percent of Hyatt's employees say they are proud, not only of what they accomplish in their jobs, but of the organization's impact in their communities as well," according to the write-up. "Ninety percent say employees are treated as full team members regardless of their position__no small feat in an organization where people scrubbing toilets work in the same buildings as general managers running multi-million-dollar properties."

Two-thirds of any company's score is based on the survey of a "random" sample of candidate companies' employees, which measures attitudes about management credibility, job satisfaction and camaraderie, and one-third is based on "responses to the Institute's Culture Audit, which includes detailed questions about pay and benefit programs and a series of open-ended questions about hiring practices, methods of internal communication, training, recognition programs and diversity efforts."

Any company that has been around for at least five years and has more than 1,000 U.S. employees is eligible for consideration. Great Place to Work received 376 applicants, but cut the pool to 257.

Number 1 on Fortune's list for 2014? Google. Again.