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Nominations being accepted to find the Richmond region’s best employers
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Nominations being accepted to find the Richmond region’s best employers

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The pandemic certainly has changed the workplace.

Bustling offices still are not the norm for many companies. A number of major companies across the country and in the Richmond region have delayed return-to-office plans until 2022.

Employees work from home these days, or they split their time between an office and home.

Some workers just go to the office to collaborate, brainstorm and strategize with colleagues — or they join a Zoom conference meeting from anyplace remotely.

Learning what businesses are the best places to work has become more significant as the workplace upheaval of the past 18-plus months has contributed to employee instability.

Knowing which company stands out as a top employer has gained importance as businesses struggle to retain top talent and millions of people have left their jobs in recent months, or plan to in the future. Researchers have used the phrase the “Great Resignation” to describe what’s happening to the American workforce.

Workers increasingly are seeking employers who make them feel appreciated, according to officials with Energage, the suburban Philadelphia-based employee research and consulting firm.

Employees want businesses that are headed in the right direction, who are adapting and looking out for them and who treat workers with respect. They also want their jobs to be part of something meaningful, Energage says.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch is searching for the region’s best places to work for its ninth annual Top Workplaces program.

The newspaper again has partnered with Energage to determine the best places to work based on employee survey feedback. The employee research firm has conducted similar surveys in 59 markets across the country, surveying more than 2 million employees at more than 8,000 organizations in the past year.

The Times-Dispatch’s annual employer recognition program is now accepting nominations.

Any Richmond-area organization — business, nonprofit or government — with 35 or more employees is eligible to participate.

Nominations may be made at www.Richmond.com/Top-Workplaces or (804) 977-9367. The deadline is Nov. 19.

Anyone can nominate a business. There is no charge to participate.

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Eighty-one companies in the Richmond region were recognized this year as Top Workplaces businesses.

In May, the coveted top rankings of first-, second- and third-place in each of four size categories — mega, large, midsize and small — went to 12 businesses.

In the 2021 program, automotive retailer CarMax ranked first in the mega-size category for the eighth consecutive year — the only business receiving a top designation all eight years in any category.

Pinnacle Living, the Henrico County-based senior living provider with two residential communities in the Richmond area, was the top-ranked company in the large category. Napier ERA, the Chesterfield County-based residential real estate brokerage with four area locations, was the top business in the midsize category. And Starling International Child Care & Learning Complex, a private day care and learning center founded in 1995, ranked first for the small category.

Of the 81 companies, nine have been recognized each year since the program started eight years ago. Two employers have been on the list for seven consecutive years, three businesses have been included for six consecutive years, four companies for five consecutive years and seven workplaces for four consecutive years.

The Times-Dispatch will honor the 2022 Top Workplaces companies at an awards program in the late spring. The employers also will be recognized in a Top Workplaces special section.

Employers will be recognized based on company size: mega (900-plus employees); large (400-899); midsize (125 to 399); and small (124 or fewer).

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Workplaces are evaluated by their employees using a short 24-question survey.

Last fall, Energage invited 902 employers in the region to participate, and 117 organizations agreed to do so. Those businesses employ about 29,500 people locally.

Of those employees who received questionnaires, 16,776 responded.

Energage sends the 24-question confidential survey between October through February to employees of companies that agree to participate in the program. The questionnaire covers seven areas, including where the company is headed, its values and cooperation, and where employees feel that they are appreciated and their work is meaningful.

Energage then determines who makes the list based on those surveys.

The company’s research over the years repeatedly shows that companies receiving a Top Workplaces designation are intentional about creating a great culture where employees can thrive.

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