From the Editor

Across all industries, no employer can avoid human resources. The Corporate 100 rank by number of employees motivates a focus on those human elements this month, but I hear about it year-round from my sister, an experienced HR manager.

Conversations around the holiday table led me to invite her to write for the magazine. Yes, Maija Doggett is that sister. She alerts me about HR issues I’ve never heard of, such as the problems with “tribe” in workplace jargon.

Respectfully, she’s not policing anybody’s language, especially not Native tribes or their members. But words contain codes that are not immediately obvious. For instance, my own article in this issue mentions the word “chief,” and a source outside the magazine advised caution, for reasons not unlike the trouble with “tribe.”

Of course, etymology is not the ultimate arbiter, but in this case “chief” is on safer ground. Linguists posit its derivation from the Proto-Indo-European root word for “head” that also gives us “capitalism,” “captains of industry,” and this month’s cover mascot, “chef de cuisine.” The word has many positive denotations and few, if any, negative connotations, so I feel justified using “chief” to refer to a corporate executive.

Semantic landmines aside, the Corporate 100 celebrates the labor factor of production, at least by companies employing more than 100 Alaskans. Smaller businesses are, regrettably, too numerous to cover with as much hype… which is why we launched a monthly feature a couple of years ago to highlight them.

TAB, an acronym for “This Alaska Business,” is a series on our YouTube channel. In two minutes or less, we spotlight enterprises with fewer than a dozen-or-so employees, sometimes a single owner-operator. Sixteen entries so far cover a variety of industries from across the state, and we hope to expand our reach. Check out these short videos edited by our friend Carter Damaska, an owner-operator himself of a photography and videography business.

In the middle range, between 12 and 100 employees, Alaska has tens of thousands of small businesses doing yeoman’s work. They aren’t listed in the Corporate 100, but they are vital economic contributors nonetheless. A Corporate 100 listing isn’t a prize, after all; listed companies can be proud of sustaining so many employees, but a portion of the achievement is simply answering our survey. To be clear, this is no small feat; we couldn’t publish the list without that cooperation.

Consider the Corporate 100 issue to be a handbook for HR suggestions, and keep it handy every month of the year. These articles should prompt every organization to examine its practices and contemplate areas for improvement. Not only does a healthy workplace culture drive productivity and help with recruitment and retention, but the closer to perfection employers get, the less I have to hear about it from my sister at birthdays and Thanksgiving.

Scott Rhode
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Scott Rhode
Editor/Staff Writer, Alaska Business