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Best small companies to work for
Badger Mining ranks No. 1 among small businesses thanks to profit-sharing and free health coverage; Analytical Graphics tops the list of mid-sized employers for 3 years running.
By Jessica Seid, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- To be considered a great workplace, fat paychecks and big benefits packages aren't everything.

Communicating clearly with employees and encouraging staff to voice their opinions are also critical, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which released its annual list of the "Best Small & Medium Companies to Work for in America" Monday.

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Badger Mining, based in Berlin, Wis., topped SHRM's list of best small employers. Among medium-sized companies, Exton, Pa.-based Analytical Graphics ranked No. 1.

"These companies stand out because their employees find them to be places where they can trust the management, have pride in their work and have fun at work," said Robert Levering, cofounder of the Great Places to Work Institute, which selected and ranked the companies, in a statement. "Other companies have much to learn about how to both be productive and do right by their people."

Badger Mining, which is family-owned and privately held, produces a million and a half tons of specialized sand each year for industrial use. Badger Mining dedicates 10 percent of its budget to safety training and, as a result, has the lowest incident rate in its industry.

All employees can participate in a profit-sharing arrangement; they are not charged any premiums for standard health coverage or basic long-term-care coverage; and everyone receives $200 in personal finance advice each year.

Analytical Graphics was ranked the best medium-sized company to work for in America for the third year in a row. The information technology company holds annual business review meetings for all employees, quarterly town hall meetings and weekly Story Time meetings where departments share information about what's happening around the company.

The company also provides an on-site gym and free meals to make employees' lives easier.

This is the third annual release of the list - which recognizes the top 25 small companies, defined as those with 50 to 250 employees; and the top 25 medium companies, which includes those with 251 to 999 employees.

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2006 Best Small & Medium Companies to Work for in America
25 Best Small Companies
1. Badger Mining Corp., Berlin, Wis
2. Pacific Service Credit Union, Walnut Creek, Calif
3. The RightThing Inc., Gurnee, Ill.
4. Insomniac Games Inc., Burbank, Ca.
5. Northeast Delta Dental, Concord, N.H.
6. McMurry Inc., Phoenix, Az.
7. Dixon Schwabl Advertising, Victor, N.Y.
8. Professional Placement Resources, Jacksonville Beach, Fla.
9. Bridge Worldwide, Cincinnati, OH
10. Johnston McLamb, Chanitilly, Va.
11. Urban Innovations Ltd., Chicago, Ill.
12. Triage Consulting Group, San Francisco, Calif.
13. Ribelin Sales Inc., Garland, Tx.
14. Matrix Resources Inc., Atlanta, Ga.
15. Schleuniger Inc., Manchester, N.H.
16. B.I.N. Sales & Marketing Inc., Norwalk, Conn.
17. Dolphin Quest, Middleburg, Va.
18. Kahler Slater, Milwaukee, Wis.
19. InsureMe, Englewood, Co.
20. Root Learning Inc., Maumee, OH.
21. DigitalGrit Inc., Boonton, N.J.
22. archer>malmo, Memphis, Tenn.
23. Runzheimer International, Rochester, Wis.
24. Landrum Human Resources Company, Pensacola, Fla.
25. The Brattle Group, Cambridge, Mass.
25 Best Medium Companies
1. Analytical Graphics Inc., Exton, Pa.
2. Holder Construction Company, Atlanta, Ga.
3. Ultimate Software, Weston, Fla.
4. Sage Products Inc., Cary, Ill.
5. ACUITY, Sheboygan, Wis.
6. Hypertherm Inc., Hanover, N.H.
7. Eileen Fisher Inc, Irvington, N.Y.
8. Professional Veterinary Products Ltd., Omaha, Neb.
9. The Integer Group Denver, Lakewood, Colo.
10. Future Network USA, Brisbane, Ca.
11. Lincoln Plating, Lincoln, Neb.
12. Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, East Lansing, Mich.
13. Digital Federal Credit Union, Marlborough, Mass.
14. The Hospice of Marion County Healthcare Alliance, Ocala, Fla.
15. Eastern Financial Florida Credit Union, Miramar, Fla.
16. Grand Circle Corp., Boston, Mass
17. Rackspace Managed Hosting, San Antonio, Tx.
18. Pioneer Financial Services, Kansas City, Mo.
19. Wescom Credit Uion, Pasadena, Ca.
20. Graniterock, Watsonville, Ca.
21. CXtec, Syracuse, N.Y.
22. Plantronics Inc., Santa Cruz, Ca.
23. AMX Corp., Richardson, Tx.
24. Mitretek System Inc., Falls Church, Va.
25. Pinnacol Assurance, Denver, Co.
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