How Top Workplaces are determined

Who determines Top Workplaces? Those who know them best: the employees. Philly.com partnered with Exton-based WorkplaceDynamics, the employee survey firm, to determine the region’s Top Workplaces rankings.

Beginning in September, Philly.com ran articles and advertisements encouraging employees in the region to nominate companies as Top Workplaces. WorkplaceDynamics invited those companies, as well as other organizations in the region, to participate in the program.

Anyone could nominate a company. The only requirement was that the organization must employ at least 50 people in the Philadelphia area. The organization could be public, private, nonprofit, or governmental.

WorkplaceDynamics invited 2,261 workplaces to participate and surveyed 172 of them.Only those organizations that agreed to participate were included in the surveys. The surveyed firms employ 88,426 people in the Philadelphia area. Of those employees who received questionnaires, 32,931 responded, either on paper or online.

The employee survey seeks responses from about 23 statements covering seven factors.

Key to those are organizational health factors, which measure how well employees are working together toward a common cause:

  • Alignment– where the company is headed, its values, and leaders
  • Execution – how the company is getting to where it aims to go
  • Connection – feeling appreciated and that their work is meaningful

“Time and time again, our research has proven that what's most important to them is a strong belief in where the organization is headed, how it's going to get there, and the feeling that everyone is in it together,” said Doug Claffey, CEO of WorkplaceDynamics.

In addition, the three My Job factors measure how employees feel about their day-to-day job:

  • My Work – training, work/life balance
  • My Manager – cares about concerns, helps learn and grow
  • My Pay & Benefits

Finally, the survey measures employee engagement – retention, motivation, and referral.

The organizational health factors were the most important to Philadelphia employees, with “Connection” and “Alignment” as the most important. “My Pay & Benefits” was least important. “While pay and benefits remain important to a point, they do not make a bad workplace better,” Claffey said.

After the surveys were completed, WorkplaceDynamics ran statistical tests to look for any questionable results. (It sometimes will disqualify a small number of employers based on those tests.)

Employers were categorized into size bands, because “smaller employers tend to score higher than midsize employers, and midsize employers tend to score higher than large employers,” Claffey said.

The employers were ranked within their size band based solely on employee responses to the survey statements. The top employers in each size band were selected as Top Workplaces in Philadelphia for 2016. A list of special awards also was determined based on standout scores on specific survey statements.

Why is a particular employer not on the list? Perhaps the company took the survey and scored too low. Or, it might have chosen not to participate.

“We hope more Philadelphia-area employers take the time next year to survey their employees and see where they stand,” Claffey said.