Suntiva has a wellness coach, Melissa Dow, who keeps employees such as Alison Miller and Jesse Hardy fit and motivated.
How do we choose our 50 great places to work?
First, any company or nonprofit that wanted to be considered filled out an application telling us about its workplace--everything from vacation time and health-care benefits to telecommuting policies, charitable efforts, and employee turnover.
Next, we surveyed a sizable random sampling of employees at each firm to see how happy they were. We weighted employee scores heavily because the best benefits in the world don't mean much if people feel they're treated poorly. Employers couldn't see the responses, so employees could be honest. Our questionnaires were designed by Leora Lawton of TechSociety Research in Berkeley, California.
Federal agencies and law firms were chosen differently. To determine good government agencies to work for, writer James Michael Causey conducted a survey with Federal News Radio and also consulted with the Partnership for Public Service, which does its own annual Best Places to Work rankings. To pick law firms, Marisa M. Kashino, who covers the legal beat for the magazine, carried out her own research.
We considered more than 200 workplaces. We compared like with like--small firms with small firms, technology firms with other technology firms, nonprofits with nonprofits. Just because an employer isn't listed doesn't mean it's not a great place to work; it may mean that company didn't apply.
In the end, we chose workplaces that offer terrific benefits, stimulating work, flexible schedules, opportunities for growth, and respect for their staff. Because the past few years have been hard for many businesses, we also looked at how a firm is faring. Most of the companies here are healthy and experiencing growth.
Best of all, most are hiring.
This article appears in the November 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.