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How, why the top workplaces are outstanding

The accomplishments this section acknowledges reveal a lot about what makes a top workplace.

It's a mix of strong, evenhanded leadership and a true sense of direction. Competitive pay and benefits matter, but not as much to these Top 70 workplaces as making sure employees believe in the mission. That also requires managers to reinforce the message.

Many of these top workplaces have hiring down to a science. They know that bad hires doom the workplace. And once they have the right people, they get out of their way.

"They let me do my job" could be the collective mantra from the workers at the Top 70 companies.

A heavy dose of fun helps, too.

A Foosball table in the employees lounge. Thirty seconds in the company "Cash Machine" to grab all the money possible. RV trips. Hotel stays. Free boat rentals. You'll read about all those perks in the following pages.

You'll also find stories of resilience (Lazydays RV Center), sacrifice (Gulf Coast Research and Education Center), and great turnarounds (Monin Gourmet Flavorings).

All those qualities breed employee loyalty, another hallmark of top workplaces.

Once you create a top workplace, how do you keep it that way?

Take a look at New York Life, American Strategic Insurance and St. Mary's Episcopal Day School. They were No. 1 last year in their size categories, and they repeated the feat this year. They are models of consistent workplace excellence.

This year's Top 70 list is also a testament to diversity. Sure, it has the regulars — insurance, law, accounting, health care. But five grade schools made the list. So did a handful of real estate firms, despite the bludgeoning the industry absorbed in recent years. A hair salon and a child care facility both made impressive debuts this year.

Massive T-Mobile is back for another year. But so too is DITEK Corp., a Largo high-tech manufacturer with 87 employees and $11 million in revenue.

Getting on the list wasn't easy. Our partner Workplace Dynamics surveyed 24,505 workers from the bay area and scored the responses using several factors. Only the Top 70 workplaces made the cut. See the complete list on Page 6.

They are all winners.

Next year's survey

Want to see how your company measures up? We will be taking nominations again starting in the fall. Stay tuned to the Business section and for details.

How, why the top workplaces are outstanding 04/14/11 [Last modified: Monday, April 18, 2011 9:39am]
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