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Greenville Business Magazine

Who determines Top Workplaces? The best judges: the employees who work there.

By Bob Helbig, Energage

Who determines Top Workplaces? The best judges: the employees who work there.

For the fourth year, Greenville Business Magazine, Columbia Business Monthly and Charleston Business Magazine have partnered with Philadelphia-based Energage to rank South Carolina’s Top Workplaces. The process is based on a scientific survey of employees who rate their workplace culture. It also gives company insights about what makes them unique.

“When you give your employees a voice, you come together to navigate challenges and shape your path forward based on real-time insights into what works best for your organization,” said Eric Rubino, CEO of Energage.

The process began in October, when the magazines began news coverage and promotions to welcome people to nominate companies as Top Workplaces. Energage also reached out to area companies. Throughout the process, 1,252 employers in the state were invited to have their employees take the survey. Any organization was eligible to participate, provided it had at least 35 employees in the state. Employers could be public, private, nonprofit, or governmental. There is no cost to enter the Top Workplaces program.

For 2020, 47 employers agreed to take the survey. Combined, they employ 8,190 people in South Carolina. Of those employees who received questionnaires, 5,924 responded, either on paper or online. For this year’s winners list, 30 employers were ranked based on their employee survey feedback.

The employee engagement survey of 24 questions gathers responses regarding issues relating to workplace culture:

Alignment – where the company is headed, its values, cooperation, effective meetings

Coaching – managers care about concerns, are helpful, encourage employee development

Connection – employees feel appreciated, work is meaningful, working at full potential, clued in to each other

Engagement – productivity, retention, recruiting

Leadership – confidence in company leaders

Performance – execution, open-mindedness, innovation, clued-in leadership

The Basics – pay, benefits, flexibility, training, expectations

Employers that score high enough are recognized as Top Workplaces. Employers are categorized by size, and they are ranked within those size groups, to accurately compare results. Energage also determines special award winners based on standout scores on specific survey topics.

Did you look over the list and wonder why a particular company was not on it? It might be because it chose not to participate, or because it did not score well enough in the survey process. Energage occasionally disqualifies employers based on questionable results detected through statistical tests it runs to ensure organizations are accurately administering the survey.

Want your organization to participate in the 2021 program? Just go to to submit a nomination.