Who determines Top Workplaces? The best judges: the employees who work there.

For the seventh year, The Post has partnered with Philadelphia-based Energage to rank the Washington area’s Top Workplaces. The process is based on a scientific survey of employees who rate their workplace culture.

“When you give your employees a voice, you come together to navigate challenges and shape your path forward based on real-time insights into what works best for your organization,” said Eric Rubino, CEO of Energage.

The process launched in October 2019, when The Post began news coverage and promotions to welcome people to nominate companies as Top Workplaces. Energage also reached out to area companies. Throughout the process, 3,643 employers in the region were invited to have their employees take the survey. Any organization was eligible to participate, provided it had at least 50 employees in the region. Employers could be public, private, nonprofit or governmental. There is no cost to enter the Top Workplaces program.

For 2020, a record 406 employers agreed to take the survey. Combined, they employ 133,530 people in the Washington, D.C., region. Of those employees who received questionnaires, 69,385 responded, either on paper or online. For this year’s winners list, a record 200 Washington-area employers were ranked based on their employee survey feedback. The breakdown of the number of surveyed firms making the list is: 71 percent, largest; 83 percent, large; 65 percent, midsize; and 33 percent, small.

The employee engagement survey of 24 questions gathers responses regarding issues related to workplace culture:

● 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, clued in to each other

● Engagement: productivity, retention, recruiting

● Leadership: confidence in company leaders

● Performance: execution, open-mindedness, innovation, clued-in leadership

● The Basics: pay, benefits, flexibility, training, expectations

Employers that score high enough are recognized as Top Workplaces. Employers are categorized by size, and they are ranked within those size groups, to accurately compare results. Energage also determines special award winners based on standout scores on specific survey topics.

Did you wonder why a particular company was not on the list? It might be because it chose not to participate or because it did not score well enough in the survey process. Energage occasionally disqualifies employers based on questionable results detected through statistical tests it runs to ensure organizations are accurately administering the survey.

Want your organization to participate in the 2021 program? Just go to washingtonpost.com/nominate to submit a nomination.

Bob Helbig is media partnerships director at Energage.