Companies on the Business Journal’s Best Places to Work list have good reason for the designation.
Just ask their employees.
Workers’ views accounted for 75% of the score that the top workplaces here earned for this year’s list, with the rest based on information from the companies themselves. Employees and employers alike responded to a multifaceted survey that weighed factors ranging from pay and benefits to training opportunities, extra perks, internal communications and other workplace conditions.
Employees were asked whether they agree with a series of work-related statements divided into eight segments, including leadership and planning, corporate culture and communications, role satisfaction and relationships between subordinates and supervisors. Responses were sorted, and overall percentages were calculated for small, medium and large companies that landed on the list, as well as for those companies that took the surveys but did not make the list (see How Companies Make List, page 32; lists, starting on page 40).
This week’s list features a total of 95 companies, all of which have headquarters or significant operations in Orange County. It’s the highest number of companies for the annual list, which started in 2009 with 40 entries.
Employees at small companies generally responded more positively than workers at bigger companies, with 92% positive feedback overall.
The medium and large companies had 89% positive ratings overall.
The category that received the highest percentage of positive feedback from all companies on the list was work environment. Almost all employees—96%—said they were satisfied with their work environment. They agreed with statements such as, “My general work area is adequately heated or cooled,” and, “I feel physically safe in my work environment.”
82% of employees at all the listed companies responded positively on training and development.
About 86% of workers at small companies felt positive about training and development opportunities. The category asked employees whether they feel there is “room for me to advance at this organization,” or if the organization “provides as much initial training or ongoing training as I need.” The figures were 79% for employees at medium companies and 82% for those at large companies.
Small companies also posted higher ratings for relationships with supervisors, with 95% of the employees responding that their supervisors treat them fairly and acknowledge a job well done. Employees at medium companies responded with a 91% rate, and those at large companies had a 90% positive rating.
Employers also played a part in determining their companies’ rankings.
They were asked nearly 80 questions on which they could explain their companies’ benefits, community involvement, fitness initiatives and other perks.
Employers generally were big on providing health-conscious practices that encourage exercise, with 74% of all companies providing on-site fitness programs. Larger companies appeared more likely to have such programs in place; 84% of the companies in the large category and 88% in the medium category do so, compared with about half of the companies in the small category.
One out of five companies on the list provides chair massages or full-body massages, the survey showed.
Many companies on the list also offer tuition reimbursement. About 76% of the 33 small companies on the list provide the incentive. The proportion for both medium and large companies was 72%.
Lake Forest-based Eagle Community Credit Union, which ranked No. 25 on the medium companies list, offers “$2,500 per year for full-time employees … and $1,250 for part-time employees” for tuition, according to Robin Wiessner, vice president of human resources.
A majority of the firms on the list—63%—conduct employee performance appraisals once a year. About 22% of the companies on the list said they conduct such reviews twice a year, and 8% do so more often.
Fewer than half the firms conduct 360-degree evaluations, according to the survey.
About 34% of small companies, 48% of medium companies and 44% of large companies said they regularly conduct such reviews, which incorporate feedback from the employees, their peers and subordinates, as well as superiors.
Many companies responded in detail when asked about unique activities intended to relieve workday stress and promote fun.
The last Friday of every month is an ice cream social day for the Irvine office of Los Angeles-based SingerLewak LLP. The accounting firm, which ranked No. 8 among the medium-sized companies, has 238 employees in the U.S. and 55 in OC.
“Our philosophy is that we turn this over to our employees,” Managing Partner David Krajanowski said. “We want them to feel that this is their company. And we do this office-specific. What people in OC want to do may be different from those in L.A.”
Employee engagement continues throughout the busy season, too, according to Krajanowski.
“That’s when we want to do it the most,” he said. “That’s when employees are working the longest hours. If we can do several events throughout the season, giving them breaks to socialize and relax, that helps.”
There’s some old-fashioned summer fun at SingerLewak, too, with a cubicle-decorating contest for the Fourth of July.
CyberCoders Inc. in Irvine, No. 12 among the medium-sized companies, hosts “quarterly dodge ball events, where employees go to an indoor trampoline court and play dodge ball with each other,” said Colette Hory, executive recruiter at the employment agency.
Six companies on the list said they have pingpong tables in their offices and occasionally hold tournaments.
Nearly all employers—97%—said their companies promote sustainable and environment-friendly practices within the workplace.
Irvine-based CA Technologies, which came in at No. 7 on the large companies list, said it has “green teams” that encourage recycling and reducing consumption. The company saved 2,000 cases of paper in 2010, and has made double-sided, black-and-white the default mode of printing at its offices, according to the survey.