How Top Workplaces 2011 was compiled

Once again, The Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, and have enlisted WorkplaceDynamics of Exton to ask employees to rate their companies and their bosses by responding to statements such as "I believe this organization is going in the right direction," "It's easy to tell my boss the truth," and "My pay is fair for the work I do."

WorkplaceDynamics contacted 1,614 employers in the region with at least 50 workers and invited them to participate. Ultimately, 163 companies employing 75,984 people in the Philadelphia area were surveyed.

Of that total employee number, 45,264 received surveys and 30,674 responded on paper or online.

The required response rate varied depending on employer size.

For those with fewer than 100 employees, at least 30 responses were required. For those with 100 to 400 employees, a response rate of at least 30 percent was necessary. For employers with more than 400 staffers, at least 120 responders were required.

After the survey was completed, WorkplaceDynamics ran statistical tests to look for any questionable results.

The final product of the survey is our list of the top 100 workplaces for 2011, which comprises the 20 highest-ranked large employers, 35 midsize organizations, and 45 small firms.

Finally, we went back to those companies and asked them to tell us how they have dealt with some key issues, including what signs of recovery they see in their firms and their industries, what they are looking for in new hires, and what perks they offer to reward good work.

Many companies in the region see clear signs that the worst of the bad times are past. Some are actively seeking new workers. And many continue to provide extras beyond the paycheck - including food, gift wrapping, and massages - to keep employees happy and productive.   

 - Reid Kanaley,

Top Workplaces editor