Transparency and communication emerged as common themes among top companies at the keynote panel during EBN's 2012 Benefits Forum & Expo, where executives from Southwest Airlines, The Ken Blanchard Companies, Alston & Bird LLP and CHG Healthcare Services - companies that share the distinction of being on Fortune's "Best Companies to Work for in America" list - revealed their best practices and benefits strategies in a session moderated by Jennifer Benz, chief strategist and founder of Benz Communications.

None of the four companies had the deliberate goal of making the "Best Companies" list. Rather, making the list was a byproduct of other goals, such as lowering turnover or benchmarking. For the companies at the panel, "programs are not solely created to be on a list," said Shari Conoway, director of people at Southwest Airlines. "They're created because they're necessary, because it's the right thing to do. And the list comes after that."

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