Colorado's Best Companies 2006: 1st Place, Medium Business Category (100-499 employees)





• Outstanding family-related benefits including childcare, domestic partner benefits, lactation rooms, adoption benefits.

• Unique wellness programs designed to sustain a culture that promotes a healthy lifestyle.

• Opportunities to participate in volunteerism on-site and off-site.

• Extensive health insurance program begins first day of employment.

• Choice of many unusual perks from free event tickets to paid sabbaticals.

As a business, OSI Pharmaceuticals has a mission to improve the quality of life for patients with diseases. As an employer, it has the same mission with its employees. “It’s important to work for a company where the end goal is to make life better for people. It’s altruistic,” says Jill Kohla, human resources generalist for OSI Pharmaceuticals, which discovers, develops and commercializes pharmaceutical products designed to extend or improve the lives of patients with cancer, eye diseases and diabetes. “They really do make a difference. It is a nice balance between work and life. The main reason for going there is to make a difference, but I am also proud because it is an amazing company that cares about employees and their families.”

OSI has instituted a bountiful assortment of family-related benefits. Kohla works 80 percent time, took maternity leave, and “was able to be off for two weeks prior to the delivery of my daughter,” she says. The company allows flexibility in work schedules through part-time, flexible start and end times, telecommuting and letting employees work from home when their children are sick. OSI also assists by offering subsidized backup childcare, discounts on childcare centers, eldercare resources, pet care referrals, a wellness reimbursement, domestic partner benefits coverage, adoption programs and lactation rooms.

Commitment seems to be a common theme at OSI not only in terms of supporting cancer research but also in honoring its staff. “It has been amazing to watch,” says Kohla. “It is really the employees who work here and help each other out that make the difference.” She continues, “The company rallies together when an employee team member has health issues. We have had people do a meal list and buy groceries. People really step up here.”

That spirit of volunteering lives on throughout the year. Some of the volunteer opportunities include paid leave for bone marrow donation, on-site blood drives, a Relay for Life run, fundraising meals, raffles and grants to charitable organizations.

OSI has a gold-standard plan of wellness that is in alignment with its goal of reducing the risk for cancer, detecting it early and providing access to the best care if cancer is diagnosed.

Some of the features of this plan are tobacco-free work site policies, tobacco treatments, cessation initiatives, elimination of barriers to active lifestyles, cancer-screening behaviors, preventative screening and tests, and a culture that promotes physical activity, healthy food choices and nutrition/weight control programs.

“We have incredible benefits,” says Kohla. One of the best options is that employees receive benefits on the first day of employment. The medical plan is extensive; 78 percent of premiums are covered by the company. New hires are also eligible for three weeks of vacation. Additional features include dependent and medical flexible spending accounts, college saving programs, long-term disability insurance, life insurance, two personal days, stock options and credit union memberships.

Along with traditional benefits, the perks undoubtedly have something to do with the average tenure of over four years for employees. “We really do offer so much. But some of the little things make it so nice to work there,” says Kohla. One of those “little things” is a paid leave of absence – a sabbatical of one month after completion of 15 years of employment. Other perks include incentive awards, discount sporting event and theater tickets, tuition reimbursement, financial seminars, service awards, wellness reimbursement, book exchanges and an employee referral plan.

Winning the award as one of Colorado’s Best Companies for Working Families has certainly created cause for celebration at OSI. “We are thrilled to receive this award and be acknowledged for what we do for our employees,” says Kohla. “They were so excited. We feel good and this is very important to all of us. There is a lot of celebrating going on now at OSI Pharmaceuticals.”