HOW TOP WORKPLACES ARE IDENTIFIED; Not Only Do More Local Employers Make the List, St. Louis Tops the Nation in 2013; 2013 TOP WORKPLACES

Article excerpt

To compile the annual list of Top Workplaces, the Post-Dispatch contracts with WorkplaceDynamics, a survey firm with offices in Exton, Pa., and London.

WorkplaceDynamics launched the process early this year by inviting St. Louis area organizations to give employees confidential surveys that gauge how they feel about their workplaces. The Post- Dispatch also invited readers to nominate their local employers.

This year, 144 companies and nonprofit organizations agreed to participate.

The confidential survey asked employees to respond to a set of statements rating their workplace on a seven-point scale from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree."

To ensure that the survey results provide accurate reflections of workplace satisfaction, WorkplaceDynamics requires a response rate of at least 35 percent of employees. Organizations with 85 or fewer local employees had to have at least 30 responders; large employers are allowed to randomly sample their workers.

Based in part on national benchmarks it's developed since 2006, WorkplaceDynamics identified 90 area firms with high-enough scores to be named Top Workplaces.

That's nearly double the number recognized in 2012, in the Post- Dispatch's inaugural edition of Top Workplaces.

Not only are more St. Louis employers joining the ranks of the elite, St. Louis employees also are more positive about their workplaces than those in other metro areas, WorkplaceDynamics says.

Among the 36 metropolitan areas surveyed by the company in the past year, St. Louis was first for overall positivity, showing improvement in 20 of the 22 statements asked in both years, according to Niki Reid, a data analyst with WorkplaceDynamics.

St. Louis topped Austin, Texas, and Nashville, Tenn., among other surveyed cities, she said.

Not only were the St. Louis responses more positive in 2013, St. Louis beat the national average across 21 of the 22 survey statements.

Employees who were surveyed, for example, were more confident about their future with their employers, more willing to stay at their employer for more than a year, and more likely to recommend their companies when compared to the national average. …