At a time when competition for workers is tight and companies are seeking fresh ways to attract and retain talent, the Business Journal’s recent Best Places to Work in Los Angeles event offered up an array of ideas.

For most of the 100 companies honored at the sold-out luncheon, staged at downtown’s L.A. Grand Hotel, winning over workers is not about the latest HR gimmick or trendspotting in the break room.

Rather, the running theme in acceptance speeches and tableside conversations was that successful businesses in this city eagerly invest time and energy into their relationships with employees. They all seem to recognize that happy employees almost always equal productive employees — and that tune was in heavy rotation throughout the day.

Of course, the businesses that reached the L.A. Grand stage were also there because their commitment to employees includes going the extra mile when it comes to perks and benefits.

Creativity and innovation were rewarded. Long Beach-based architecture firm Kardent Design features in-office yoga, half-day Fridays and board-game lunches. The West L.A. office of global PR agency Murphy O’Brien offers in-office massages, meditation and breathing classes.

Software company Phonexa Holdings, based in Glendale, offers free car washes to employees. Marina del Rey-based childcare app developer WeeCare Inc. lets its staff bring dogs to the office. And Santa Monica-based augmented-reality firm Vertebrae Inc. provides kegerators filled with kombucha and beer.

Looking for a break after a stretch of all-nighters? Check out Woodland Hills-headquartered financial consultant Goetzman Group Inc., which provides up to 10 weeks off between projects.

Education was a recurring theme. Rosemead-based Asian fast-food chain Panda Restaurant Group Inc., which was well-represented with 20-plus employees in red company polo shirts, has scholarships and continuing education programs for its staff. Ad platform Amobee, which has an office in Santa Monica, offers tuition reimbursement for employees pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Other companies show they care by helping their employees care for others. The Century City office of accounting firm CBIZ MHM provides 24 hours of paid volunteer time each year.

Management consulting firm Pariveda Solutions’ El Segundo office has a chief fun officer — and really, what company doesn’t need that title in its C-suite? Chatsworth-based North Star Moving offers up “social sip” Fridays with beer, wine and appetizers while engineering firm P2S Inc., headquartered in Long Beach, has monthly “meet-and-eats” and quarterly “taco tailgates.”

Then there are those businesses that take employee appreciation to a whole new level. Insurance brokerage Lockton Cos. offers a Rolex watch for 10-year anniversaries while management consultant Impact Networking, which has multiple offices in Southern California, provides a $5,000 Tiffany’s shopping spree after an employee reaches their five-year work anniversary.

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