The Center for Companies That Care recently announced its “Honor Roll” for 2008. The companies that made this list have to adhere to the following characteristics and, in general, be exemplary in terms of improving the lives of their employees and their communities.

1. Sustain a work environment founded on dignity and respect for all employees

2. Make employees feel their jobs are important

3. Cultivate the full potential of all employees

4. Encourage individual pursuit of work/life balance

5. Enable the well-being of individuals and their families through compensation, benefits, policies and practices

6. Develop great leaders, at all levels, who excel at managing people as well as results

7. Appreciate and recognize the contributions of people who work there

8. Establish and communicate standards for ethical behavior and integrity

9. Get involved in community endeavors and/or public policy

10. Consider the human toll when making business decisions

This is a wonderful but challenging set of behaviors. While most companies would say they value these characteristics, a much smaller number actually live this way on a day-to-day basis. Those are the companies that are continually learning how to develop and maintain this high level of performance.

This is not just another award that friends give to friends. I know from my own experience as a reviewer, the Center for Companies That Care staff and volunteers take the selection process very seriously and thoroughly review every application. Applicants must provide detailed answers to questions that are based on the ten characteristics, as well as provide evidence that they truly care about their employees and their communities. To make the list is truly an honor.