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November 10, 2014

Top Workplaces 2014: Going beyond the paycheck

PHOTO/COURTESY Lorna Rousseau, left, and Kelly Mahoney lead Digital Federal Credit Union (DCU) employees in a workout at the company gym in Marlborough.

Most of us spend at least about 25 percent of a typical week at work. Of course, it may seem like more. After all, that's just an easy math problem: 40 hours a week at work (“Yeah, right!” some of you might well scoff), divided by 168 hours a week, equals 23.8 percent.

The truth is that many of our lives revolve around our work. There are many stories of people who put in 50-, 55-, even 60-hour weeks. There are some who log into email from home at night or on weekends. And then there are the extra minutes in which we think about work at times we really shouldn't, like when we're eating, driving or watching our kids' soccer games. In spite of the conveniences and utility of modern technology, the potential downside is that it keeps us tethered to the office or shop.

Employers appreciate dedication, which is why many make a conscious effort to make the workplace more than just a building where you come in to accomplish a set of tasks for several hours, go home, come back the next day to do it all over again.

They're also more than aware that work requires motivation, which means more than just a paycheck. Benefits such as health insurance and help with building a retirement nest egg are very important today. So is fostering an environment where employees feel appreciated for what they do and where they can find guidance and mentoring to help build their future potential.

Which brings us to this issue's Focus section.

This is the third consecutive year in which we've honored a group of Central Massachusetts employers for the things they do for their employees. During the summer, we asked employers to take a Web-based survey, answering about 20 questions. The survey was different from last year's. We decided to honor companies in just three categories: employee health and well-being; employee rewards and recognition; and education, training and career development. We also decided to honor three organizations in each of those categories based on company size.

While we profile them in this issue, we will also honor them at our third annual Top Workplaces awards event on Monday, Dec. 2 at Coral Seafood restaurant in Worcester.

Unlike similar surveys that are undertaken by other organizations, we're simply honoring these companies for what they do for their employees, and hold them up more as anecdotal examples that might inspire others to do something similar. In reviewing data submitted by small, mid-size and large employers, it's evident in some cases that some of what they do is tied to what they can afford. But no matter how big a company, what each does is nonetheless commendable.

Here are this year's honorees and their stories:

CATEGORY: Employee Health and Well Being

Small employer: Veterans Inc., Worcester

Mid-size employer: Atlas Distributing Inc., Auburn    

Large employer: Digital Federal Credit Union, Marlborough

CATEGORY: Employee Rewards and Recognition

Small employer: O’Brien & Gibbons Insurance Agency Inc., Worcester

Mid-size employer: Fidelity Bank, Leominster

Large employer: Reliant Medical Group, Worcester

CATEGORY: Education, Training & Career Development

Small employer: Colantonio Inc., Holliston

Mid-size employer: Mirick O’Connell, Worcester

Large employer: Spectrum Health Systems Inc., Worcester

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