Lynda Moorby, Karen Kellas and Brian Kranson of Cordial.

Lynda Moorby, Karen Kellas and Brian Kranson of Cordial. Photo by Bob Thompson/Fotowerks

1. Cordial

Top local executive: Jeremy Swift, CEO

Address: 402 W. Broadway, Suite 700, San Diego 92101

What they do: Collects and normalizes data from multiple sources into a single database for personalized distribution and engagement.

Email marketing startup Cordial has been judged to be the best place to work for small companies by the San Diego Business Journal. It is the company’s second consecutive appearance among the Best Places to Work.

For a small company with about 30 employees, which raised $6 million in a first-round of venture capital funding in 2017 and $15 million in a Series B funding earlier this year, Cordial covers an above market percentage of employer costs, offering unlimited vacation time, and many in-office perks like office music, indoor basketball hoop, Ping-Pong competitions, lunches and bakeoff challenges.

As a result of these and many other well-thought-out incentives, including gym and phone reimbursement, paid parking and parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child, Cordial, which was founded in 2014 by Jeremy Swift, has a 5 percent voluntary turnover rate.

“Employees look for places to work that are not only fun, but challenging, innovative, rewarding and also flexible,” Swift said, in a statement, adding that the organization limits meetings and staff-only events to work hours, keeps overtime at a minimum — if at all — and hosts outdoor one-on-one meetings.

The company, which makes machine-learning messaging software to power retail and e-commerce direct marketing campaigns, offers additional benefits such as formal employee recognition programs, flexible work hours to accommodate personal affairs, formal diversity training, flexible spending accounts, an unlimited number of sick days, employee bonuses and stock as well as lactation facilities for breastfeeding mothers. The company also promotes sustainable and green practices.

Today, Cordial continues to collect and normalize real-time data from multiple sources into a single database for personalized distribution and engagement and uses machine-learning algorithms to deliver messaging not only through email, but also with push notifications and SMS, when they’re most likely to get results. The company has more than 100 customers, including Teleflora, whose Marketing Manager Amy Malcom said Cordial has helped “integrate promotional and triggered emails for our flagship and partner sites.”

Another customer Shoes of Preywhose CRM & Content Marketing Manager Chloe Dutschke adds: “Cordial allows us to sync our customer data in such a comprehensive way that we have complete control over triggers and segmentation for promotional, behavioral and transactional messaging, without having to rely on engineering support.”

2. HoyleCohen LLC

Top local executive: Mark Delfino, CEO and Managing Director

Address: 9350 Waxie Way, Suite 500, San Diego 92123

U.S. employees: 35

What they do: Wealth management

This is the company’s third consecutive year on the Best Places to Work list.

HoyleCohen is committed to the community and followed the lead of a handful of employees to develop a passion for serving others in need. The firm has partnered with 13 organizations, donating more than 12,000 meals, 500 volunteer hours; and $42,000 in monetary gifts to organizations throughout San Diego County.

The company gives out “Core Bucks,” for achievements. The bucks can be collected and redeemed for prizes. Gift cards also are given to staff at any given point as acts of appreciation. The firm also has a Spirit of Excellence award which is an end of the year honor for the employee of the year who best exemplifies the company’s culture and values.

Employees have a March Madness tournament and can enjoy workout and yoga areas, an outdoor patio and hangout rooms.

3. BJA Partners

Top local executive: Myron Jucha, President

Address: 11405 W. Bernardo Court,

San Diego 92127

U.S. employees: 16

What they do: Full-service insurance brokerage and consulting firm offering employee benefits, property and casualty, retirement, and personal services.

BJA Partners works in the employee benefits industry, which means it is expected to offer among the region’s best set of employee benefits. It does.

For example, in addition to an excellent health plan, the company offers pet insurance, travel assistance, supplemental health programs, a wellness program and personal financial planning. In fact, employees are fully vested in the employer match from day one in the 401(k). BJA offers bonuses for employee referrals, a profit-sharing plan and fully or partially paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child.

In terms of work culture, the company offers flexible hours and allows employees to bring pets to work. The office closes early on Fridays, and the employees celebrate holidays in a fun way (Halloween costumes, tacky holiday sweater time, etc.). There are gift cards for employee recognition, and appreciation for employees is shown through lunches, happy hours and special events.

4. Cultura

Top local executive: Anne Benge, CEO

Address: 5010 Shoreham Place, Suite 110, San Diego 92122

U.S. employees: 27

What they do: Office furniture dealer and workplace designer and consultant

On the benefits side, Cultura offers pet insurance, identity protection and legal shield, accident insurance, cancer insurance, critical insurance, hospital indemnity, flexible spending accounts, and dependent care FSA in additional to traditional coverage areas.

The company promotes a culture of fun through perks and freedoms. The kitchen is full of snacks. Random treats are brought in throughout the week; the wine fridge is always stocked; and the keg is always cold. Employees have the freedom to work where they want and how they want, from the many options in the contemporary workspace or remotely. They can bring their dogs to the office.

Instead of having employee of the month recognition, the CEO does shout outs at the weekly company meeting where she shares positive feedback she’s heard from clients, industry partners and co-workers.

Employees take any excuse to celebrate — birthdays, work anniversaries, life milestones, retirements, holidays, reaching a goal or closing a deal.

5. BL3NDlabs

Top local executive:George Burnett III, Founder, CEO and CTO

Address: 101 W. Broadway, Suite 530, San Diego 92101

U.S. employees: 15

What they do: Design and build digital products and integrate technology solutions.

BL3NDlabs was founded in 2015 and is on a fast-growth track, working with startups and established companies.

Employees credit the management with creating a culture that allows autonomy for the staff to get tasks done and approach tasks and projects in various ways.

They also credit the company with providing designers a modern set of tools.

Employees are provided snacks and meals and flexible hours.

Employees have access to a “chill out” room and game time to relieve the stress from the fast work pace.

There are on-site personal development and stress management workshops, seminars and classes on productivity and time management.

The company also has hosts meetups and industry events, including

San Diego Tech Ladies.