The Top 50: Celebrating the places where people love to work
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Let's be honest -- few of us get up in the morning raring to go to work. But once we get past the hurdle of knowing we have to go, wouldn't it be nice to know you're going to like it once you get there?Dan Marsula, Post-Gazette
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That, in a nutshell, is what we have attempted to do with this year's Top 50 section.
Our annual report is still filled with all that good stuff about which companies made the most money (PNC), grew sales the most (Superior Well Services) and made the most money for their stockholders (Allegheny Technologies). We'll talk more about that later.
What we really wanted to focus on were those local workplaces where employees really like working.
To be sure, this is not an entirely scientific exercise. Indeed, the way we chose our winners in three categories -- companies with fewer than 50 employees, 50 to 500 employees and more than 500 employees -- was to simply let the employees tell us.
Over the course of three weeks in February, workers at offices and factories across this region were invited to go online at www.post-gazette.com and rate their workplaces on 10 characteristics, from family-friendly policies, flexible hours and ease of commute to pay, benefits, even food. Nearly 3,000 did so, voting on nearly 400 companies.
People also were asked to take an online poll telling us what makes for a good workplace, and more than 4,000 did that. Hundreds took the additional step of making comments online, many of which appear on the following pages. Only first names are used, but last names as well as contact information were required before we would publish any comments.
What we found in doing this exercise is that some people really are excited about where they work. For example, 31 workers voted at Downtown-based accounting firm Maher Duessel, which means much of the office voted since the Downtown-based accounting -- our "under 50'' best places to work winner -- has less than 50 employees.
For the record, winners were determined by combining both the weighted number of votes with weighted average ratings. This offset the impact of potential ballot stuffing, though firms that had more people vote did have an edge over firms where only one or two people voted. In cases of ties, the weighted ratings were used as a tie-breaker.
The reason we believe it's important to highlight the best places to work is simple: As we increasingly move into a knowledge-based economy -- one in which both parents often work while caring for children and/or elder parents -- companies that adopt workplace policies that keep workers happy and motivated will have an edge over companies that don't. This is especially true in this era where highly skilled, "free agent'' workers can pick and choose where they want to live and work.
We also went though this exercise because, frankly, it's fun. It's fun to see which companies are considered good places to work -- and those that aren't. We all are curious about what life is like at other places. Hopefully, today's section will provide a peek.
For those more oriented toward the bottom line, the second half of this section did rank the top 50 public companies on our usual measures -- revenue, change in revenue, net income, change in net income, change in stock price, return on equity and market value. An overall winner also was selected based on all seven categories, while a growth winner was selected based on change in net income, revenue and stock price, as well as return on equity.
We also brought back our measure of how well local public companies are doing at putting women in positions of authority, building on last year's inaugural and ground-breaking report. And we take a snapshot of local foundations, colleges and universities, hospitals and the arts.
ContentsGood workplaces not that hard to find
Flexible policies, and a little fun, put small accounting firm at the top
In health care, some attitudes are unhealthy
At Development Dimensions International, it pays off for workers -- and the company
Pittsburgh Technical Institute's environment motivates teachers as much as students
Heard Off The Street Special: Want to build a better workplace? Try a little respect and forget all that consultant Pablum
Steady but sluggish improvement seen
Past performance, prospects better for overall state economy
Bigger is better for PNC, this year's Top 50 winner
Welcome to the new 'Steel City'
U.S. Steel leads annual revenue list; Superior Well reaches top in growth
More local women rising, albeit slowly, to the top
Study: Women in leadership roles slipped across the country in '06
BlackRock deal vaults PNC to top of the heap
Allegheny Technologies is specializing in making money
Nationally and locally, Allegheny Technologies' stock had a big year
With Alcoa out, PNC at top of most valuable public firms
Study: Aging work force presents perils and promise
As region's workers get older, employers' headaches get bigger
UPMC, Highmark head and shoulders above other local health-care institutions
Robust cultural scene offers necessary fuel for the mind
Numbers don't do colleges justice
Top private firms' sales rise 9.7 percent
Pittsburgh still a hotbed for philanthropy
Workers need ability to learn throughout life
For Pittsburgh, it truly has become a global economy
Public-private partnerships can help ease child-care crisis
The Top 50 Charts
Business Editor Steve Massey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1174. Expand your Top 50 exposure with an opportunity to have your company's profile on post-gazette.com for up to one year. Details here.
First Published March 20, 2007 12:00 am