How the Top Workplaces survey was conducted

On the road to success, organizations need to know where they are. That’s the motivation behind the annual Top Workplaces survey, which gives employees the chance to rate their workplace.

“Becoming a Top Workplace isn’t something organizations can buy,” said Doug Claffey, CEO of Energage. “It’s an achievement organizations have to work for.”

For the eighth year, The Baltimore Sun has partnered with Philadelphia-based Energage, an employee research and culture technology firm, to determine the Baltimore region’s Top Workplaces based solely on employee survey feedback.

See the 2018 Baltimore-area Top Workplaces »

Starting in June, The Sun welcomed anyone to nominate companies as Top Workplaces. In all, 1,674 employers in the region were invited to take the employee survey. Any employer was eligible, as long as it had at least 35 employees in the Baltimore metro area. Employers could be public, private, nonprofit or governmental. There is no cost to enter the Top Workplaces program.

In all, 205 organizations agreed to take the survey. Combined, they employ 45,619 people in the Baltimore metro area. Of those employees who received questionnaires, 23,092 responded, either on paper or online. For 2018, 125 Baltimore-area employers scored well enough to earn recognition on the Top Workplaces list.

The employee survey gathers responses on 24 factors covering seven areas, including organizational health factors that measure how well employees are working together toward a common cause:

Alignment — where the company is headed, its values, cooperation

Effectiveness — doing things well, sharing different viewpoints, encouraging new ideas

Connection — employees feel appreciated, their work is meaningful

My Manager — cares about concerns, helps employees learn and grow

In addition, the survey asks employees about other factors:

Employee Engagement — motivation, retention and referral

Leader — confidence in company leadership

The Basics — pay, benefits, flexibility, training, expectations

Statements relating to “Connection” and “Alignment” are consistently judged most important to employees, while statements about pay and benefits rate least important for workplace satisfaction.

Smaller employers tend to score higher than midsize employers, and midsize employers tend to score higher than large employers. Employers are ranked among groups of similar size to most accurately compare results. Within those size groupings, companies are ranked, and those that score high enough are recognized as Top Workplaces. Energage also determines special award winners based on standout scores on specific areas of the survey.

Why aren’t some companies on the list? Perhaps they chose not to participate or did not score high enough based on the survey results. To ensure organizations are accurately administering the survey, Energage runs statistical tests to look for questionable results. Sometimes, it disqualifies employers based on those tests.

To participate in the 2019 program, just go to www.baltimoresun.com/nominate.

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