Rising to the top: Recognizing exceptional companies, promoting Arizona as a leader
Sponsored this year by the Arizona Commerce Authority, the state’s leading economic development organization whose mission is to grow and strengthen Arizona’s economy; CareerBuilder; Republic Media; BestCompaniesAZ, an Arizona-based consulting firm that specializes in identifying, developing and promoting best companies; and Best Companies Group (research partner), have joined to produce the third annual CareerBuilder’s Top Companies to Work for in Arizona publication.
Highlighting some of the most innovative workplace cultures, this initiative (the only statewide program of its kind), identifies companies that have achieved top rankings in employer practices, employee engagement and satisfaction scores.
In addition to a strong, business-friendly focus and a low cost of doing business, Arizona boasts a skilled workforce and a strategic location with access to major world markets. Arizona is top-ranked in nearly every area critical to business success: tax and regulatory reform, quality of workforce and superior quality of life.
Because of these attributes, as well as the state’s pro-business environment, Arizona has been able to attract high-quality, innovative employers from around the world to locate and expand in Arizona. This in turn benefits employees by providing them with great places to work and enjoy fulfilling careers.
Attracting top talent
When it comes to attracting and retaining highly talented prospective employees, employers need to set themselves apart from their competitors, said Heather Kivatinos, recruitment sales manager at Republic Media.
“Quality candidates are becoming increasingly selective in where they work,” Kivatinos said. “The Top Companies program gives local companies the opportunity to showcase the strength of their organizations while providing information to potential candidates that will help them make educated decisions on where they choose to work.”
Kivatinos added that Top Companies has set an impressive benchmark of quality workplaces in Arizona. “This benchmark creates thresholds for other companies to strive for including providing a supportive work environment, creating a family-friendly culture and providing a diverse workforce,” she said. “Offering flexibility, incentives and perks, participating in community projects that support the well-being of the community and build company morale, and offering affordable healthcare options were all benefits that employees felt made their company a great place to work.”
Denise Gredler, founder and CEO of BestCompaniesAZ, said that for the past three years, all Top Companies have achieved an impressive employee engagement score of approximately 91 percent and an overall survey average of 89 percent favorable.
“It’s important to note that the top favorable scores are in the categories of ‘relationships with supervisor’ (92 percent), ‘work environment’ (92 percent) and ‘role satisfaction’
(90 percent),” Gredler said. “Arizona is performing quite well with a 91 percent overall engagement score compared to national averages of engagement provided by Gallup at approximately 33 percent, with worldwide average engagement coming in at 13 percent.”
The Arizona Commerce Authority’s targeted strategies to improve Arizona’s economy perfectly complement the goals of Top Companies. “Indeed, our organizations have formed a cohesive team that works well together to attract both top-notch employees as well as employers,” Kivatinos said.
Specifically, the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) uses an aggressive, three-pronged approach to advance the state’s economy, with five-year goals that include working with companies to facilitate the creation of 75,000 higher-wage direct jobs; targeting $6 billion in private capital investment to generate state and local tax revenues and catalyze job creation; and focusing efforts on high-value jobs that pay average wages of at least 150 percent of the state median-wage, increasing to 175 percent over time.
The ACA has also implemented an innovative workforce development program whose aim is to narrow the skills gap between workers and employer needs. To achieve that goal, the ACA held meetings with industry leaders to find out what skills executives were hoping to see (but weren’t) in potential job candidates. The ACA assessed the results and then brought business professionals to colleges, high schools and community groups to find new ways to give companies well-trained graduates who are ready to work. Arizona is considered a leader in this ‘sector partnership’ approach in which companies from the same industry join forces with educational and governmental organizations to concentrate on industry issues and workforce development.
How the data was ascertained and compiled
Best Companies Group developed an employer questionnaire as well as an employee engagement and satisfaction survey. These two research instruments provided information that became the basis of the data report as well as for selection as a ‘Top Company’.
Part I: Best Companies Group Employer Questionnaire
Employers were requested to complete an employer survey that detailed company policies, practices, benefits and demographics.
Part II: Best Companies Group Employee Engagement and Satisfaction Survey
Employees were asked to respond to an Employee Engagement and Satisfaction Survey that involved an in-depth set of 78 statements. On each of these statements, employees were asked to respond on a 1–5 Likert scale of ‘Disagree Strongly’ to ‘Agree Strongly’. The survey also included two open-ended questions and seven demographic questions.
Core focus areas
The Employee Engagement and Satisfaction Survey was broken down
into eight core focus areas:
Leadership and Planning
Culture and Communications
Relationship with Supervisor
Training, Development & Resources
Pay and Benefits
TOP COMPANY SELECTION CRITERIA
Best Companies Group developed a proprietary scoring and ranking system as follows: 75% of the evaluation was based on the overall satisfaction scores from all the employee engagement surveys, and 25% of the evaluation was based on the scores obtained from the employer questionnaire.