Human Kinetics rated one of top 10 places to work in book publishing

Human Kinetics rated one of top 10 places to work in book publishing

CHAMPAIGN – Yoga classes at work, subsidized lunches in the cafeteria, a tennis court on company grounds ... is it any surprise Human Kinetics was recently named one of the top 10 places in book publishing to work?

The Champaign-based company ranks eighth in the nation, according to the November issue of Book Business magazine.

Joining Human Kinetics on the list were industry giants Random House (No. 9) and John Wiley & Sons (No. 6).

Top honors went to Hachette Book Group, praised for its flexible work arrangements, including telecommuting and compressed work weeks.

Human Kinetics, which employs about 320 at its headquarters on North Market Street, publishes books about physical activity, health and sports. It also produces DVDs, college textbooks, scholarly journals and online courses on those topics.

With so much emphasis on physical activity, it's only natural Human Kinetics has personal trainers from the Mettler Center conducting on-site classes in yoga and strength training. About 60 Human Kinetics employees take part, according to Ann Maloney, the company's human resources director.

Participating employees cover half the cost of the classes, and the company's wellness committee pays for the remainder, she said.

Human Kinetics' cafeteria serves both breakfast and lunch, with subsidized lunches costing employees about $2.50 a day, Maloney said.

The cafeteria has a salad bar and serves no fried foods, but does carry a few calorie-laden treats such as cinnamon rolls on Friday mornings. On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, employees can order suppers to take home.

The company also offers adoption assistance, domestic partner benefits and tuition reimbursement, according to Book Business.

Like Hachette, Human Kinetics allows telecommuting in certain cases and the option of occasionally working compressed work weeks.

Employees get eight paid holidays a year and qualify for 12 vacation days after a year's service. Vacation time eventually rises to a maximum of 25 days a year.

Each time five years of service is completed, employees get monetary awards. Fifty-four percent of the staff has worked there at least five years, Maloney said. A conference room is lined with photos of 20 people who have worked there at least 20 years and 16 people who have worked there 15 to 19 years.

What's more, the company is still hiring. Human Kinetics had 44 hires over the last year and is trying to fill some vacant positions. Its annual voluntary turnover rate is 4 percent, according to Book Business.

Last year, Random House topped Book Business' list of best book publishers to work for, but that list was compiled by Accelara Publishing Research.

This year Best Companies Group calculated the rankings for Book Business, said Alicia Perry, program coordinator for the Harrisburg, Pa.-based firm.

Twenty-five percent of the analysis was based on information provided by the companies, she said. Employers were asked what benefits they offer, how much of insurance premiums they cover and what other programs they have.

The other 75 percent of the analysis was based on confidential online surveys of employees. At Human Kinetics, 250 employees were sent surveys, according to Susan Springer, director of workplace assessments for Best Companies Group.

That firm has done similar surveys for other sectors, such as health care, banking and the collections business. It has also done surveys on a state and regional basis.

Last year, Champaign-based iCyt was ranked as one of the 30 best places to work in Illinois in a similar survey. The cell-sorting technology company was among 20 small to midsized employers included on that list.

What stood out about Human Kinetics

–  Bonus or incentive program for all employees.

–  Employee stock-option/profit-sharing program.

–  On-site exercise and fitness facilities.

–  On-site fitness and wellness classes.

–  On-site cafeteria.

–  Annual Halloween costume party.

–  Monetary gifts for years of service ($100 to $2,500)

–  Intranet referral service to help staff find anything from baby sitters to painters.

To see Book Business' article on the best book publishers to work for, check this Web site:

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