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Employees choose Top Workplaces through survey
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Employees choose Top Workplaces through survey

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As employers take extraordinary steps to meet the needs of workers and customers during the pandemic, the Top Workplaces awards are recognizing those efforts.

For the eighth year, the Richmond Times-Dispatch has partnered with suburban Philadelphia-based Energage to rank the Top Workplaces in the greater Richmond area.

Survey feedback from employees is the sole basis for determining Top Workplaces. And that feedback serves as the ultimate test of how employers are responding in the age of COVID.

“In times of great change, it is more important than ever to maintain a connection among employees,” said Eric Rubino, Energage’s CEO. “If COVID taught us anything, it’s that asking questions and listening to employees is critical to navigating this new world of work. More than ever, you need to be more intentional about your culture.”

The foundation of the Top Workplaces program is a scientific survey of employees who rate their workplace culture. The feedback also gives companies insights about what makes them unique.

Surveying began in October, when The Times-Dispatch started running news articles and promotions to welcome nominations for Top Workplaces consideration.

In all, 901 employers in the region were invited to have their employees take the survey. Any organization was eligible to participate, provided it had at least 35 employees in the region. Employers could be public, private, nonprofit, or governmental. There is no cost to enter the Top Workplaces program.

Combined, the companies surveyed for the 2021 program employed 30,947 people in the Richmond region. Of employees who received questionnaires, 16,745 responded, either on paper or online.

For 2021, 81 employers earned recognition as Top Workplaces, a record high in the history of the program.

The employee engagement survey of 24 questions gathers responses regarding issues relating to workplace culture:

  • Alignment: where the company is headed, its values, cooperation, effective meetings;
  • Coaching: managers care about concerns, are helpful, encourage employee development;
  • Connection: employees feel appreciated, work is meaningful, working at full potential, feel informed;
  • Engagement: productivity, retention, recruiting;
  • Leadership: confidence in company leaders;
  • Performance: execution, open-mindedness, innovation, clued-in leadership; and
  • The Basics: pay, benefits, work/life flexibility, training, expectations

Employers that score high enough are recognized as Top Workplaces.

Employers are ranked within categories based on employment size — Mega (900-plus employees); Large (400-899); Midsize (125 to 399); and Small (124 or fewer) — to accurately compare results.

Energage also determines special award winners based on standout scores on specific survey topics.

Wonder why a particular company was not on the list?

Perhaps it chose not to participate, or it did not score well enough in the survey. Energage sometimes disqualifies employers based on questionable results detected through statistical tests it runs to ensure organizations are accurately administering the survey.

Want your organization to participate in the 2022 program? Just go to richmond.com/top-workplaces to submit a nomination.

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