The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

The year’s Top Workplaces elevate strategies to keep employees engaged

Final contestants participate in the live finale of “Power’s Got Talent,” a company-wide talent show spanning the weeks of quarantine. At the top left is host Alyssa D’Angelo, an active employee, who was not furloughed. In the center is Blessedness Onaiwu, a furloughed employee who was crowned the winner. At the bottom, from left, are contestants Tyler Morgan, who was furloughed; Caroline Morris, who was furloughed; Joshua Graves, who was not furloughed; and Onaiwu.
Final contestants participate in the live finale of “Power’s Got Talent,” a company-wide talent show spanning the weeks of quarantine. At the top left is host Alyssa D’Angelo, an active employee, who was not furloughed. In the center is Blessedness Onaiwu, a furloughed employee who was crowned the winner. At the bottom, from left, are contestants Tyler Morgan, who was furloughed; Caroline Morris, who was furloughed; Joshua Graves, who was not furloughed; and Onaiwu. (Courtesy of Power Home Remodeling)

Like it or not, coronavirus is the defining issue of 2020. No question about it.

In the first six months alone, more than 113,000 Americans died, more than 2 million were infected and more than 30 million lost their jobs.

Most Americans were able to quickly shift gears and make a successful transition to remote work, where employees’ biggest frustrations were juggling their jobs with home-schooling and fighting burnout from all those Zoom meetings.

But that wasn’t the case for businesses deemed nonessential under government stay-at-home orders or service sectors that found it impractical for employees to socially distance from customers. Thus, many workers in retail, hospitality, restaurants and home remodeling joined the ranks of the unemployed.

Not even Top Workplaces 2020 winners were spared.

Great American Restaurants and Power Home Remodeling were among the Top Workplaces firms hit hard by the economic fallout from the pandemic. Great American Restaurants, which operates 12 eateries mainly in Northern Virginia, laid off 1,700 before bringing back 1,000 in May. Power Home Remodeling furloughed 2,200 people — representing 85 percent of its workforce.

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“Employee engagement” — the level to which workers are devoted to their jobs based on their opportunity for advancement and how they are treated — was a main factor in why the more than 120,000 staffers gave their organizations high marks when they were surveyed for the competition in late 2019 and early 2020.

But what happens to morale in tough times when an employee is furloughed?

Power Home Remodeling, which operates in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and South, attempted to maintain connection with furloughed employees through weekly virtual town halls providing updates on the business; mental and physical wellness programs; a speaker series targeting veterans and women; and even talent shows.

“The corporate content was such a success that our people then took the initiative to create their own local content to help them stay connected with their office,” Asher Raphael, Power Home Remodeling’s co-CEO, wrote in an email. “Furloughed employees voluntarily hosted events such as spelling bees, cooking shows, trivia contests, and masterclasses.”

The company produced an elaborate virtual “Power’s Got Talent” contest — a mashup of “America’s Got Talent” and “The Voice.” The show featured contestants advancing through several rounds in April and May, with three judges in purple chairs offering brutally honest critiques — and live voting by hundreds of colleagues around the country.

Contestant Blessedness Onaiwu, a customer development mentor in Dallas who was furloughed in April then brought back in early June, had stiff competition, including a classic rock singer and a chainsaw and fire-torch juggler. But he won the grand prize of $1,000 with his saxophone and rap performance.

As an added bonus, he said, the show connected him in an on-screen virtual meeting with his idol, instrumentalist/vocalist Youngr.

The people at “Power were just so receiving and welcoming and they loved everything I put out” musically, said Onaiwu, 23. “They really care about their people and they show it . . . They really care about you personally.”

To determine whether they were successfully reaching their furloughed workers, Power officials hired Energage, the same company that conducted the Top Workplaces survey, to poll them.

According to Energage, 98 percent of respondents said they felt Power leadership has been accessible to them during the furlough; 96 percent said they felt supported during the crisis; and 95 percent said they are enthusiastic about returning to the company.

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“If companies demonstrate they cared about their people before the furlough and continue to demonstrate that they care consistently throughout the furlough period, they are pleasantly surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response they receive when they seek feedback,” Doug Claffey, Energage’s founder, wrote in an email. “Those who have been nurturing a people-centered culture prior to this pandemic are in a better position to navigate it and come back strong as the worst of it passes.”

For The Washington Post’s Top Workplaces team, 2020 also is the first time in our seven-year history we had to postpone the annual late-June gala and magazine.

But not everything in 2020 was gloomy: Interest in the competition reached new heights this year. The more than 120,000 employees surveyed in the Washington area represent a record high for The Post. The figure also surpasses the number of employees surveyed at the dozens of other media organizations around the country involved in the Top Workplaces program.

As a result, The Post has expanded the list of winners from 150 to 200.

Moreover, we added a fourth category. The size categories are small, midsize, large and now largest. We added the new category to accommodate the increase of winners from organizations with 999 and more employees.

Here is the alphabetized list of 200 winners for 2020. Stay tuned for the ranked list — which will include the top three winners in all four categories — to be unveiled in October.



Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld (law firm)

Appian Corp.

ASM Research

CACI International Inc.

Capital One Financial Corp.


Cushman & Wakefield (commercial real estate)


Erickson Living

Fannie Mae

JBG Smith

Jim Koons Automotive

Patient First

The Bozzuto Group


ActioNet Inc.

AvalonBay Communities



Century 21 New Millennium

Chenega MIOS (Military Intelligence and Operational Support)


Digital Management

EAB (education technology and consulting)

FireEye Inc.

FTI Consulting

Goodwin House

Great American Restaurants

HITT Contracting Inc.

John Snow Inc. (public health research and consulting)

Lincoln Property Co.

Mary’s Center and Briya Public Charter School

National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

Noblis Inc.

Northwest Federal Credit Union

Panda Restaurant Group

REI Systems Inc.

Sandy Spring Bank

Science Systems & Applications Inc.

Systems Planning and Analysis Inc.

Tenable Inc. (information technology)

The Emmes Company (health research)

The MIL Corp. (services to the federal government)

Van Metre Companies

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr (law firm)


Acclaim Technical Services Inc.

AEM Corp. (information technology)

Agile Defense

Aledade Inc. (health care)

Alpha Omega Integration

Alston & Bird (law firm)


Aronson (tax and consulting firm)

Array Information Technology

ATCS (consulting)

Bates White Economic Consulting

Buckley (law firm)

CapTech Ventures Inc.

Case Design/Remodeling

Chaney Enterprises (construction supply)

Coalfire Systems Inc

CollabraLink Technologies

Community of Hope

Compass (real estate)

Cotton & Company

Credence Management Solutions

Custom Ink

Definitive Logic

DELTA Resources Inc.

Dev Technology Group Inc.

DPR Construction

Eagle Hill Consulting

Easterns Automotive Group

Equinix (data center)

Exit Flagship Realty

Fors Marsh Group

FTS International (federal government contractor)

Giant Food

Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill

Industry Dive (business journalism)

Iron Bow Technologies (IT provider)

Kelley Drye & Warren (law firm)

Legend Management Group

Markon Solutions (professional services)

Metropolitan Hospitality Group

MicroPact, a division of Tyler Technologies

Modus Hotels

Na Ali’i Consulting & Sales

National Cooperative Bank

NetImpact Strategies Inc.

NFM Lending

Optoro (retail returns technology)

Perkins Coie (law firm)

Power Home Remodeling Group

Praxis Engineering Technologies

Premium Distributors of Virginia

Premium Distributors of Washington DC/Maryland

Promontory Interfinancial Network

Pyramid Systems Inc. (digital technology)

Rapid Finance

Sayres and Associates Corp.

Share Our Strength

Slalom Consulting

SMS Data Products Group Inc.

Sofitel Washington DC

Steampunk Inc. (government contracting)

Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox (law firm)

Tantus Technologies, Inc.

Tax Analysts

TBC Hotels

TeraThink Corp.

Thompson Creek Window Co.

Thomson Reuters Special Services

T-Rex Solutions (IT technology)

United Therapeutics Corp.

VAE Inc.

ValidaTek Inc.

VIPdesk Connect. Inc

Walker & Dunlop (commercial real estate)

Zenetex (management and technology support)


A.J. Dwoskin & Associates (property management)

Academic Travel Abroad

Actualize Consulting

AM Pierce & Associates (engineering and research)

American Gas Association

American Health Care Association

ARG Inc. (IT solutions)

Assured Consulting Solutions

Bark + Boarding

Basic Commerce & Industries

Blake Real Estate Inc.

Cassaday & Company Inc. (financial advisers)

Cavan Solutions (aviation consulting)

Cobec Consulting Inc.

Collaborative Solutions

Comstock Holding Companies Inc.

Counterpoint Consulting

Crosby Marketing Communications

Crown Consulting Inc.

CTIA (representing wireless communications industry )

Cybrary (cybersecurity education/IT)

Dark Wolf Solutions (technology services))

DivvyCloud (cloud computing)

Dynamic Integrated Services

Edgewater Federal Solutions Inc


Educe Group

Electrosoft Services Inc.

Employee Navigator

ERP International (health care, scientific and technical staffing)

Evans Inc. (management consulting)

Expel (security monitoring)

FCP (real estate)

First Heritage Mortgage

FitzGerald Financial Group

FMP Consulting (Federal Management Partners)

Fuse Engineering


Group W Inc,

Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis (law firm)

HawkEye 360 (data analytics)

Homesnap Inc.

Human Resources Research Organization

ID Technologies

IntelliGenesis (information technology)

Intelligent Shift

iWorks Corp. (information technology)

JRC Integrated Systems Inc. (engineering)

Kforce (employment recruiting)

Landis Architects/Builders

Macro Solutions

Mark G. Anderson Consultants Inc.

MassMutual Greater Washington

Navitas Business Consulting Inc.

New Editions Consulting Inc.

Next Century Corp.

Nutanix (cloud services)

NuWave Solutions (technology)

OMNI Technologies

Personnel Decisions Research Institutes

Plus3 IT Systems

Procentrix Inc.

Quadrint Inc.

Quevera (software engineering services)

Rand Construction Corp.

RedPeg Marketing

RoosterBio Inc. (medical technology)

Savills (real estate)

Simply Fresh Events (catering)

Sparks Group (staffing and recruitment)

Storyblocks (media)

Studio Bleu Dance Center

Sullivan, Bruyette, Speros & Blayney (law firm)

Summit2Sea Consulting

TCG Inc. (consulting)

ThunderCat Technology (cybersecurity, infrastructure)

Titania Solutions Group (information technology)

Upside Business Travel

Virginia Spine Institute

Volanno (software development)