SANTA ROSA--Robb Daer, vice president and partner at George Petersen Insurance Agency, believes the reason his company is one of the best places to work boils down to the issue of trust. Not only do employees earn the trust of their clients, but they also have the trust of management.

"We spend a lot of our lives at work and so obviously we want people to be happy," Mr. Daer said. "We understand that people have lives outside of work, they have kids and families. At the end of the day, that's what's really important. So, if someone needs to go and pick up their kids from school or take care of a sick family member, or whatever it is, that's fine. We're lucky to be a large enough operation that if we have a few people missing from the office, someone else will be able to handle it.

"The people who work here are smart and dedicated and they do a great job.  They are experts at what they do and there's no need to micromanage them and beat them up over things that really just don't matter."

Management trust that employees will get the job done even if no one is hovering over them and they also trust their feedback and input.

"If someone comes up to me and says, 'There's a better way to do this,' I'm going to think about what they have to say," Mr. Daer continued. "After all, if they're doing a job that I don't usually do, chances are they're going to know more about it than I am."

"Overall, we are easygoing, fun, hard-working and dedicated in our approach. We are customer-focused. We have worked hard to empower our staff and provide a supportive environment as well as effective systems and processes. There is a commitment to educating our staff. Lastly, we believe we have strong trust relationships with our staff and with our customers."