Nominate Your Great Place to Work

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Studies point to specific strategies as having an impact on improving retention and productivity in the workplace. Judging by some early “Great Places to Work” nominations from The Business Journal readers, local employers are addressing what matters most to workers.

“Great Places” is part of our annual Rally Around Valley Business series, and is sponsored by The DeBartolo Corporation and Cohen & Company. Throughout May and June, we will publish reader-submitted “Great Places to Work” nominations, each featuring perspectives from employees. (Click here to nominate.)

Here is a small sampling from already-received nominations and how they fit in with national trends.

Work-Life Balance

First and foremost, employers who don’t value work-life balance tell their employees that their overall well-being pales in comparison to their job. The Lancet Academic Journal shows that working 55 hours per week versus the standard 40-hour week increases an employee’s vulnerability to strokes and other adverse health outcomes.

Ashley Swipas, administrative director for Dawn Inc., said in her “Great Places” submission, “We care about each other. If someone in our company is sick, a co-worker will ask if they need groceries or make them some chicken noodle soup. All employee birthdays and special life events are recognized at Dawn Inc. It isn’t odd to see an infant napping in someone’s office or a toddler bouncing down the hall. Babysitters call off, we get it. We are a flexible workplace.”

Proving to Employees How Much They’re Appreciated

As cited by Human Resources thought leader SHRM, nearly 80% of employees leave their jobs because they don’t feel appreciated.

Megan Augustine, marketing manager at Micro Doctor, referenced this sentiment in her submission: “From paid lunches, bonus rewards and happy hours, to annual bonuses, a snack and drink bar, and company paid training, it really is one of the best places to work,” she says.

Embracing Hybrid Workforce

In the Harvard Business Review’s article about trends shaping work in 2022 and beyond, it’s made clear that flexibility with work location is now an employee expectation. No longer is working remotely or offering hybrid options a unique luxury.

Many submissions mentioned remote work arrangements, including this one from Cohen & Company’s Melissa Pauloski, manager, support services and facilities: “Flexibility with a hybrid work environment helps to create a work/life balance for each individual,” she says.

Updating Your Dress Code to Meet Modern Standards

Consider this statistic from 61% of employees work more productively with a relaxed dress code. Additionally, 80% of people who work somewhere enforcing a dress code don’t find it helpful.

Lauren Butka, marketing specialist for IT service provider ECMSI, says, “We have a casual and laidback work atmosphere with a company-paid stipend for clothing from our online clothing store.”

Benefits Workers Desire Most

While a Harris Poll revealed the top five benefits employees wanted most when considering other employment were schedule flexibility, employer retirement contributions, mental health coverage, health and wellness stipends, and remote work options.

Also ranking high was free food. It’s a simple concept and a minimal investment that yields tremendous results. USA Today reports that providing free food to employees coincides with a nearly 70% job satisfaction rate.

HD Davis CPAs marketing and events coordinator Megan Jones says her employer is an example of this trend. “We partnered with a local meal prep service offering three well-balanced meals per week for our team during tax season,” she says.