Top Workplace awards

Some employers in the region stood out in our survey based on workers' responses to statements about their company. Here are the top workplaces in those categories:

Austin, Texas-based Keller Williams Realty, which has numerous local offices in Center City and the region, was repeatedly praised by its workers for its commitment to continued training and for encouraging workers to run the business like its their own.

Mount Laurel's AnnieMac Home Mortgage is a nationwide direct lender whose managers were praised for providing consistent and constant guidance. One worker said, "Managers here actually take the time to walk around each morning to greet every employee, and through out the day ask how our day is going and if there is anyone who needs help."

Accolade, a Plymouth Meeting-based health care consulting firm for the employees of large companies, for making innovation systemic. "We can submit any idea to a system called CFQ - and often these are acted on, and they are always answered," one respondent wrote. Another added, the process can be used "for anything that we feel could be improved or upgraded."

Crowne Plaza Valley Forge, a King of Prussia hotel, was praised by its employees for the way it tackles problems. One wrote that he was impressed by "the urgency and pride in which issues are addressed - both negative and positive issues."

Workers at Mastery Charter Schools, a Philadelphia non-profit, say the company provides urban kids with a safe and effective learning environment in which the employees also thrive. "I impact the lives of children in Philadelphia everyday," one said. Another added, "Seeing them master a difficult concept or making reading growth and how proud they are of themselves keeps me coming back each day."

Workers at Cherry Hill Autos, Inc., an authorized Volvo retailer, credit the family-owned dealership's "hands-on" president, Judith Krupnick, daughter of the founder, for setting the right example for interacting with customers and each other. "I genuinely feel like I am part of something meaningful," one employee wrote. "I am part of one 'Big Family'."

Philadelphia's Energy Plus Holdings serves more than 200,000 customers, offering electricity service in nine states and natural gas service in four states. Workers praised management for its dedication and open door policy. "Managers are connected and involved to a degree you don't see at many companies, and seldom 'pull rank'," one worker wrote.

Expert Technology Associates, a voice and data communications firm in Plymouth Meeting, practices what it sells, according to its employees. One worker praised the "bi-annual company meetings and routine departmental meetings," noting he felt free to speak to his manager "or to the President."

One of Tampa, Fla.-based Laser Spine Institute's four regional surgical centers is in Philadelphia, where workers touted management's accessibility, as well as its recognition and rewards program for excellent service. Employees are also provided tuition reimbursement to continue education in their desired field.

Analytical Graphics, Inc., an Exton aerospace software company, offers its 189 workers free breakfast, lunch and dinner, free on-site laundry and dry cleaning drop off, on-site massages, on-site oil changes, on-site car detailing, on-site haircuts, an air hockey table, and free fully stocked snack/break rooms. The one perk most cited by employees, however, is the company's flexible hours. "Being able to come/go as needed to support family matters is appreciated," one worker wrote.

Audit, accounting and consulting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP offers training locally, but allows its employees to travel to get it, too. One worker wrote, "PwC invests in our training by bringing together professionals in common practices. The networking with colleagues from around the country and sometimes around the globe allows us to collaborate and share insights and ideas. Those are the most valuable training sessions."

AWeber Communications, a Huntingdon Valley developer of email marketing software for small businesses, provides medical, dental and vision insurance, 3+ weeks paid time off, 401K with company match and profit sharing, free daily catered lunches, soda, juice and coffee, tuition reimbursement, and even Wii and Xbox 360 games in an HD theater projection room. "The health benefits are amazing - it's very nice to not have to worry about that one bit," one worker said. "I like being able to choose what I use for sick days and what I use for vacation, without that being decided for me. AWeber is a very fun place to work, and the benefits help!"

- By Dave Ralis,, based on surveys received by WorkplaceDynamics