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.

For the fifth year, The Washington Post has partnered with Philadelphia-based Energage, formerly WorkplaceDynamics, an employee research and consulting firm, to determine the Washington area’s Top Workplaces based solely on employee survey feedback.

Starting in October, The Post welcomed anyone to nominate companies as Top Workplaces. In all, 2,807 employers in the region were invited to take the employee survey. Any employer was eligible, as long as it had at least 50 employees in the Washington area. Employers could be public, private, nonprofit or governmental. There is no cost to enter.

In all, 341 organizations agreed to take the survey. Combined, they employ 105,538 workers in the Washington area. Of those employees who received questionnaires, 57,184 responded, either on paper or online. For 2018, 150 D.C.-area employers scored well enough to earn recognition on the Top Workplaces list.

The employee survey gathered responses on 24 factors covering seven areas, including organizational health aspects 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 me learn and grow

Moreover, the survey asks employees about other aspects, including:

● 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 the 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 washingtonpost.com/nominate .

Bob Helbig is the media partnerships director for Energage (formerly Workplace Dynamics).