How Top Workplaces are Determined

High‑performing companies succeed because leadership intentionally puts their people at the center of all they do. By prioritizing the employee experience, these companies out-produce, out-innovate, and out-deliver the competition. Top Workplaces represent the best of the best — and earning that distinction is no easy feat.

Because winning a Top Workplaces award is an outstanding achievement, we get many questions about the process, the science, and how it works. So, here’s a little information to help you understand it all a little bit better.

Top Workplaces participants prioritize people-first cultures

Top Workplaces participants represent a special breed of organization. Our research shows that these companies score 20 to 30 percentage points higher on employee engagement than the national average. So, winning a Top Workplace award isn’t about beating the average; it’s about outperforming organizations that have developed extraordinary cultures.

Top Workplaces starts with an employee engagement survey

Some employer recognition programs require participants to submit self-serving essays to a panel of judges. Top Workplaces is different. Our awards are based on employee feedback. That’s why the Top Workplaces process begins with the Energage Workplace Survey, a research-backed employee engagement survey. It applies data captured from over 70,000 organizations of all sizes, sectors, and locations across the past 17 years. In other words, there’s a lot of science and data behind it.

The Workplace Survey measures the workplace experience themes that drive  engagement, including employees who feel:

  • Fairly Valued
  • Respected & Supported
  • Enabled to Grow 
  • Closely Aligned
  • Empowered to Execute

Energage Employee Engagement Model

At the base of the pyramid lies the individual employee experience, followed by the employee-manager relationship, and the top level influenced by senior leadership. Understanding your organization’s scores in each theme empowers strategic actions to enhance workplace culture. Recognizing that distinct levels can be effectively influenced at various organizational tiers, Workplace Themes also facilitate the engagement of relevant stakeholders in these improvement initiatives.

A proprietary formula determines Top Workplaces

Energage, the HR tech research organization behind Top Workplaces, employs many mechanisms to ensure the integrity of the award process. With a proprietary approach, we use a unique combination of employee feedback, well‑designed scientific measurement, and years of experience in big data to identify companies with truly remarkable cultures.

Top Workplaces are highly engaged, they deliver a great culture experience, and they take care of the basics. When employees tell us this through the survey feedback, we compare that data to our industry-leading benchmarks and measure how well similarly-sized companies score across all statements. This is how we confirm the companies that deserve Top Workplaces status. 

Winning companies earn the coveted gold badge

Top Workplaces winners can showcase the prestigious recognition to their employees and promote their status to the world. The award supports their employer brand reputation and boosts employee pride and morale. 

In addition to recognizing these premiere organizations in partnership with more than 60 of the nation’s most reputable media outlets, our national Top Workplaces program also evaluates qualifying companies by industry and critical aspects of culture excellence that matter to employees and job seekers.

Explore Top Workplaces regional and national awards here.


How to participate in Top Workplaces

The first step is to nominate your company to participate in Top Workplaces. Our specialists work directly with you to ensure a smooth process free of distractions. 

There is no cost to participate in Top Workplaces, and that matters. That’s because we don’t want to discourage participation or influence award results. And as a participant, you also receive a complimentary, high-level survey snapshot when your company survey is complete.


Become a Top Workplace and get the recognition your company deserves

 Start the Top Workplaces process now in under one minute. Then, we’ll work directly with your team to ensure a successful survey experience.

Get Recognized as a Top Workplace!

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