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November 12, 2012

2012 Top Workplaces: The Payoff Of Happier Employees

Only decades ago, the prevailing attitude toward work in the United States was that you stayed with one company for a long time. Maybe you received a generous "defined benefit" pension and, when you hit retirement age, a gold watch, a handshake and a farewell soiree.

You may have liked your work, maybe not. Maybe your boss was a curmudgeon who operated by the old-school "command and control" philosophy, making you occasionally miserable. You worked, but you were viewed as filling a certain role; you may have gained some added responsibility as the years went along.

But you didn't care because but the money was steady and you could support your family adequately. Yet maybe — just maybe — in the back of your mind, you thought you could have done better in your working life.

Many of you would remember such a working life as one that was oppressive and didn't reach its potential. Today, of course, the workplace dynamic at many organizations is decisively different. There's much less command and control [the defined benefit pension has given way to 401(k)s], and management takes a greater interest in developing and listening to its talent at all levels, and keeping employees happy with benefits and opportunities.

And despite that, workers are more likely to switch companies for better opportunities elsewhere.

Forward-thinking organizations know that happier employees become more productive, which helps keep product flowing and customers happy. That's why they invest in such initiatives as employee development, generous benefits, wellness programs and recognizing workers for a job well done. And that shift is what has driven the Worcester Business Journal to launch a new annual recognition, Top Workplaces, which honors what some Central Massachusetts companies are doing to make their organizations good places to work.

In this issue, we honor five organizations out of more than 20 that shared their practices with us through an online survey conducted in August and September.

• GENERAL EXCELLENCE - Reliant Medical Group, Worcester

• EMPLOYEE HEALTH & WELLNESS - Central One Federal Credit Union, Shrewsbury

• INNOVATIVE BENEFIT PROGRAMS - Workers' Credit Union, Fitchburg

• EMPLOYEE REWARDS & RECOGNITION – eClinicalWorks, Westborough

• EDUCATION, TRAINING & CAREER DEVELOPMENT - Seven Hills Foundation, Worcester

There are also honorable mentions in each category.

For sure, there are many organizations in this region that do something special for their employees; we thank those that took the time to fill out a 23-question survey.

Goal: More Inviting Workplaces

The organizations that we profile in this special focus section reflect what many at least try to do to make their workplaces more inviting to potential employees while trying to hang onto current talent. In times of economic recovery, such as today, that can prove important for companies looking to rebound after the recession.

It's in that recovery phase, in which companies ramp up hiring and add jobs, when employees are more likely to look for opportunities elsewhere.

But if there's reason to stay, such as feeling valued or having professional development opportunities, the workplace can profit by avoiding having to replace an employee with someone who would need time to grow into a job, or who may not be familiar with the company or its mission.

Read more

Employee Rewards & Recognition: eClinicalWorks, Westborough

Employee Health & Wellness: Central One Federal Credit Union, Shrewsbury

Innovative Benefit Programs: Workers’ Credit Union, Fitchburg

Educations, Training & Career Development: Seven Hills Foundation, Worcester

General Excellence: Reliant Medical Group, Worcester

Educations, Training & Career Development: Seven Hills Foundation, Worcester

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