Seeking Top Tampa Bay Workplace nominations in a time of change

The pandemic recovery has sparked intense competition for employee talent. Does your workplace stack up?
The Top 100 Tampa Bay Workplaces of 2021. [Illustration by Ron Borresen]
The Top 100 Tampa Bay Workplaces of 2021. [Illustration by Ron Borresen] [ Ron Borresen ]
Published Aug. 22, 2021

The pandemic has prompted many workers to take stock in their career choices.

As COVID-19 took hold nearly 18-months ago, some saw what they thought was stable employment evaporate overnight. Others began to question whether the grief they get from rude customers was worth the modest wages, and frankly the risk to their health, both mental and physical.

And let’s face it, the pandemic has probably given a clearer understanding than ever of how much your boss values you as both an employee and a person. Did they take steps to keep you safe? Were they understanding about child-care challenges? Or have they been jerks about the whole situation?

Not many were predicting that the mass pandemic layoffs would evolve into an intense battle for talent as the economy recovered. But that’s where we are. Many companies are reporting difficulty finding people to staff back up. Some have had to offer more flexible work arrangements, and for the first time in a while around Tampa Bay, better pay.

Is your company in a position to compete at the job fair?

For the past dozen years, the Tampa Bay Times has conducted a Top Workplaces survey. We invite employers and employees to nominate their place of business as one of the best places to work in Tampa Bay.

It has always been an interesting exercise, learning what employees say they value from about employers, and even the latest perks include. But this year feels like it will be a true public service.

Not surprisingly, last year nominations were down, no doubt as employers grappled with unprecedented circumstances that led to layoffs, employees working from home or masked at safe distances. This year, our survey partner Energage, based outside of Philadelphia, is reporting a sharp uptick in participation in many of the other nearly 60 markets where they operate.

Clearly, company leaders are eager to demonstrate that they stand out as top shelf places to work. But maybe you run a company and you suspect you need to make some adjustments.

Make no mistake, prospective employees are conducting their own evaluations of what they want most from an employer and who provides it.

Citing employee surveys, Forbes magazine forecast in the spring that millions of Americans will be looking for new jobs when the pandemic ends. Just this week, a poll published by the Washington Post and the Schar School found that nearly a third of U.S. workers Younger than 40 are considering a career change during the pandemic. One in five workers overall were considering a shift.

Well, here’s an opportunity for your company to get a free, objective assessment of workplace conditons. All that needs to happen is for someone to submit a company name at You can call it in as well at (727) 498-5578. The deadline is Oct. 1.

Energage will check with the company to see if it’s willing to participate. Then it will conduct a confidential 24-question survey of its employees evaluating the company on a range of topics, from leadership to what makes your place special.

Any public or private business, nonprofit or government agency with 50 or more employees in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco and Pinellas counties may participate.

In the spring, we’ll publish the list of Top Workplaces in a special section that will include stories about many of the winners. Just the winners. There’s no shaming here of companies that have work to do.

At the end of it all, our readers, many of them prospective employees, end up with a guide to launch a job search. Will your company be on their list?