We surveyed employees about a wide range of aspects of their workplace culture. Here is a rundown of employers who received standout marks from their staffers on a particular component of their culture, based on their responses. In some cases, we’ve included quotes that were drawn from employees’ anonymous survey responses.

  Special awards for leadership
These companies’ employees have confidence in the top executive.

Southern Management Corp. (large company)

Employees said that David Hillman, chief executive of the Vienna-based property management firm, is a strong communicator who consistently treats staffers of all ranks with equal respect. They also said he takes time to recognize exceptional job performance. “He fosters a great team environment where everyone is vital to the success of the organization,” one employee wrote.

Tenable Network Security (mid-size company)

Staffers praised Ron Gula’s deep knowledge of his software company’s products and his attention to work-life balance. They also said the chief executive is a personable leader who is open to new ideas.

American Beverage Association (small organization)

Chief executive Susan Neely’s staff said she is a compassionate leader who takes the time to get to know each member of the District-based trade association’s 50-person team.

Special awards for management

This company’s staffers gave high marks to their managers for caring about their concerns and helping them to grow in their careers.


Employees of this Fairfax-based custom apparel company described a wide range of ways that managers supported them. Some said it was through establishing clear goals, others said it was through honest and encouraging feedback.

One staffer wrote of a manager, “She responds to my needs in a timely manner and is always there for me both with work and personal needs. We’ve created an incredibly open atmosphere for communication that really makes me feel valued.”

This company’s workforce said that senior managers have a deep understanding of what’s going on with rank-and-file staffers.

JBG Cos.

At this Chevy Chase-based real estate development firm, employees say that leaders are clued in to the needs of the entire workforce. Staffers describe leaders as highly accessible and approachable.

Employees at this organization said they feel well-informed about important company decisions.

Federal Management Partners

This government contracting firm holds regular informal meetings called “It’s Just Breakfast,” at which staffers are invited to bring questions about strategy and other topics to top executives. The company also communicates with workers in quarterly offsite meetings, a weekly e-letter and monthly small-group strategy sessions.

“I never question what’s going on at FMP,” said Christina McNally, a senior consultant. “I always assume that I know nearly everything that’s going on, especially as it relates to big picture strategy.”

Special award for work-life balance
Employees at this organization said they had the flexibility they need to balance their career and personal lives.


Employees of this Hanover-based contracting company say the culture is very supportive of telecommuting options and adaptable hours.

“Keyw understands what is important in life and that family always comes number one,” one employee wrote. “There have been many times where Keyw employees have fallen on hard times and the company has extended their help and asked for others todo the same.”

Special award for purposeful work
Employees of this organization report that they feel like they are a part of something meaningful.

Children’s Law Center

This nonprofit group provides free legal services to thousands of vulnerable children in the District, work that senior appellate attorney Melissa Colangelo said is “incredibly tough emotionally, but it’s really challenging work substantively, too.”

“We know that every person is really working toward a common end of really working to secure the best possible outcome for the kid,” Colangelo said. “It’s a place where really everyone is driven by the mission.”

Special award for innovation
Staffers said this company encourages the development of new ideas.


Employees said the software company emphasizes “intrapreneurship,” meaning there’s an spirit of entrepreneurship even though the McLean-based organization now has 1,400 employees.

“Everyone is always encouraged to help improve our company whether that be automated processes, new training approaches, new materials to promote the company, etc.,” one employee wrote. “You gain a lot of respect and responsibility when you prove you can make a difference.”

Special award for strategy
Workers said they believe this employer is headed in the right direction.


Jane Hill, a senior product manager at the enterprise software company, said the company’s mission is clearly defined and that the leadership team excels at making sure the entire staff is working toward the same goal.

“We’re all about innovation,” Hill said. “We’re doing things that other products aren’t doing, we’re developing on different platforms, and we’re really about using the latest technology.”

Special award for training
At this organization, staffers feel like they get the training they need to excel in their careers.


This Rockville accounting firm allows its employees to pursue professional development through its Aronson Academy, an in-house training program to help them build both technical and soft skills.

The company also allots workers more than 40 hours a year to put toward continued professional education. Staffers get bonuses for passing the CPA and earning other certifications.

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