Lenders for The Mitchell Co. often pull president and CEO John Saint aside and lecture him. Why? Because he's too generous with his employees.

“We've been told very sternly by our lenders that we give too much,” Saint says. “In spite of that, we still have record profits. We're not taking any of it with us.”

Mitchell loves to give, as evidenced by its robust benefits package. The company hasn't passed an increase in health insurance costs onto its employees in 10 years, it offers college scholarships to all employee children who are full-time students with at least a C average, and last year it matched 401(k) contributions by a factor of four to one.

HELPING HAND: Mitchell gives back to its community. That's not all. The company gives generous bonuses to Mitchell workers, who last year received checks worth at least two months' salary. It also cares for employees who are responsible for family members young and old. Adult children of elderly parents and working mothers with children in day care receive an extra week of leave annually.

“We have a very rich benefit package,” Saint said. “We have a very low turnover rate in this company. We try to do things to help our employees.”

Mitchell does what it can for the community, too. It donates its corporate plane to fly local children to prominent hospitals around the country for medical care. It hosts barbeque fundraisers and pancake breakfasts.

Such events do more than help the cities and towns where Mitchell operates; they also build camaraderie within the organization.

“Everyone who cooks the pancakes has the same job,” Saint says. “Chuck [Stefan, the company's senior executive vice president for apartment development] and I squirt the pancakes on the grill and flip them as fast as we can. It's good for the employees to see everyone working hard from the top on down. We're all up early working.”

The Mitchell Co.

  • Headquarters: Mobile, Ala
  • Online:www.mitchellcompany.com
  • Employees: 125
  • Turnover Rate: Less than 1%