How The Sun’s Top Workplaces survey was conducted

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

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.


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

This marks the 11th year The Sun has partnered with Philadelphia-based Energage to rank the Baltimore metro area’s Top Workplaces. The program’s foundation is a scientific survey of employees who rate their workplace cultures. The feedback also offers companies insights about what makes them unique.


Surveying began in late May, when news articles and promotions encouraged nominations for Top Workplaces consideration. In all, 2,612 employers in the region were invited to have 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 24,757 people in metro Baltimore. Of employees who received questionnaires, 14,426 responded, either on paper or online. For 2021, 147 employers earned recognition as Top Workplaces.

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

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

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Engagement — productivity, retention, recruiting

Leadership — confidence in company leaders


Performance — execution, open-mindedness, innovation, clued-in leadership

The Basics — pay, benefits, work/life flexibility, training, expectations

Employers that score high enough are recognized as Top Workplaces. Employers are ranked within size groups 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 did not score well enough in the survey. Energage sometimes disqualifies employers based on questionable results detected through statistical tests it runs to ensure that organizations are accurately administering the survey.

To nominate an organization for the 2022 program, go to