One common thread binding this year's leaders among the region's Top Workplaces is having a knack for making employees feel like they matter.
"I feel important," was how one FedEx Ground employee succinctly put it when commenting on why the Moon-based package delivery company was a great place to work.
The way companies foster that feeling may be different, but it pays the same dividends, creating a dedicated and loyal work force.
At FedEx Ground, which finished first in the large workplace category for the second year in a row, employees cited a flexible environment, challenging work, good pay and great co-workers as their reasons for wanting to stay.
Other leaders in the large company segment -- No. 2 Pitt Ohio, followed by First National Bank of Pennsylvania, Mine Safety Appliances and #1 Cochran -- seem to be getting it right, too.
All four companies placed near the top of the rankings for the second straight year.
In the mid-size company category (150-399 employees), Google Pittsburgh led the pack (moving up from No. 3 last year), followed by Turner Dairy Farms (which didn't rank last year but placed No. 1 in 2011); Doubletree hotel, Downtown, (up from No. 8 last year); Equipment & Controls (a newcomer to the list); and Celtic Health Care (which didn't rank last year but finished at No. 14 in 2011).
At the Lawrence-based engineering firm Equipment & Controls, workers enjoy bonuses, profit-sharing, a 401(k) plan and health insurance, "which hasn't gone up in the last few years," according to one employee.
As another worker put it: "If the company is doing well, they pass it along to the employees."
In the small company category, Therapeutic Early Intervention Services, a provider of physical and speech therapy for infants and toddlers, led the pack.
The Forest Hills-based operation just missed the top slot last year, finishing second behind American Income Life Arias Agencies, which slipped to No. 15 this year.
The No. 2 finisher in the small companies category this year -- Bridges Hospice in Harmarville -- was the only newcomer to the list among the top five.
Bridges was followed by Select International (also No. 3 last year); Tudi Mechanical Systems (up from No. 7), and Re/Max Select Realty (down a notch from No. 4 in 2012).
At Bridges Hospice, employees mentioned fulfilling work and a caring culture as top reasons for liking their jobs.
"Oh my, where to begin," said one worker. "I've never worked for a company that was as concerned for my happiness as Bridges."
Patricia Sabatini: email@example.com or 412-263-3066. First Published September 12, 2013 4:00 AM