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Columbia Business Monthly

Employee survey determines Top Workplaces

By Bob Helbig, 

Media Partnerships Director, Energage

As employers take extraordinary steps to meet the needs of workers and customers during the pandemic, the South Carolina Top Workplaces awards are recognizing those efforts.

Survey feedback from employees is the sole basis for determining Top Workplaces. And that feedback serves as the ultimate test of how employers are responding in the age of Covid.

“In times of great change, it is more important than ever to maintain a connection among employees,” said Eric Rubino, Energage CEO. “If Covid taught us anything, it’s that asking questions and listening to employees is critical to navigating this new world of work. More than ever, you need to be more intentional about your culture.”

This marks the fifth year Philadelphia-based Energage has ranked the Top Workplaces in South Carolina. The foundation of the program is a scientific survey of employees who rate their workplace culture. The feedback also gives companies insights about what makes them unique.

Surveying began in October, when Greenville Business Magazine, Columbia Business Monthly, and Charleston Business Magazine started running news articles and promotions to welcome nominations for Top Workplaces consideration. In all, 1,279 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.

Combined, the companies surveyed for the 2021 program employed 8,500 people in the state. Of employees who received questionnaires, 5,294 responded, either on paper or online. For 2021, 43 employers earned recognition as Top Workplaces.

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, feel informed
  • Engagement: Productivity, retention, recruiting
  • Leadership: Confidence in company leaders
  • Performance: Execution, open-mindedness, innovation, clued-in leadership
  • The Basics: Pay, benefits, work/life flexibility, training, expectations

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

Wonder why a particular company was not on the list? Perhaps it chose not to participate, or it did not score well enough in the survey. Energage sometimes disqualifies employers based on questionable results detected through statistical tests it runs to ensure organizations are accurately administering the survey.

To nominate an organization for 2022, go to