White Castle, America’s first fast-food hamburger chain, announced that it has earned the Great Place to Work Certification.

The prestigious designation is based entirely on what current team members say about their experience working at White Castle. According to a Trust Index survey conducted earlier this year of White Castle’s nearly 10,000 employees, 81 percent of them said the company is a great place to work. That’s 22 percentage points higher than the 59 percent average for U.S.-based companies.

“As a family-owned business celebrating its 100th birthday this year, we know that this milestone is only possible because of the people who make our work their lives’ work,” says John Kelley, chief people officer at White Castle. “So, we have always taken care of our team members and strived to make White Castle a place where people want to work. This certification confirms that we’ve created a culture where team members feel valued and appreciated.”

Founded in 1921, White Castle has a long history of looking out for its team members. In 1924, for example, it became one of the first companies in the U.S. to offer health insurance to its employees. In addition, White Castle traditionally promotes from within. Nearly all 500 of its regional directors, district supervisors and general managers started behind the counter at a White Castle restaurant. As a perk of working in one of White Castle’s more than 360 restaurants, team members get a free meal during their shifts.

The company’s commitment to treating all of its team members — regardless of their positions — with fairness and respect has resulted in unmatched employee loyalty. More than 1 in 4 of the company’s team members have worked at White Castle for 10 years or more. Every year, White Castle honors team members with 15 years of service on “Elaine Miseta Day,” named after the administrative assistant who worked 67 years at White Castle for the company’s first three presidents. Each honoree receives a pin that says, “52 years to go!” (to reach Miseta’s record).

Great Place to Work is the global authority on workplace culture, employee experience, and the leadership behaviors proven to deliver market-leading revenue, employee retention and increased innovation. The Great Place to Work Certification helps companies attract and retain top talent, receive important feedback from their employees, and benchmark their culture against the world’s most successful companies. The certification also enables qualifying companies to be automatically considered for placement in more than 20 “best workplace” lists.

“Great Place to Work Certification isn’t something that comes easily — it takes ongoing dedication to the employee experience,” says Sarah Lewis-Kulin, vice president of global recognition at Great Place to Work. “It’s the only official recognition determined by employees’ real-time reports of their company culture. Earning this designation means that White Castle is one of the best companies to work for in the country.”

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