Calling your business a great place to work is one thing. Knowing your employees think it's a great place to work is another.
Nominations are now open for the sixth annual Knox News and Knox.biz Top Workplaces awards. Top Workplaces recognizes companies, organizations and institutions in East Tennessee with outstanding work cultures.
"Never turn down an opportunity to get feedback from your team," said Mike DiStefano, Knoxville president of Pinnacle Financial Partners, which placed first in the midsize category in 2021. "It’s nice to win awards like Top Workplaces, but it’s even better to learn from the survey responses and make any adjustments you need to improve the associate experience. How else will you know if you’re on the right track or not?"
Large winner 2021:First Horizon puts employees first, and it pays
Midsize winner 2021: Pinnacle Financial Partners lets employees peak
Small winner 2021: Maple Hall and Babalu recruit for potential
Through survey firm Energage, employees of nominated companies anonymously review their employers. The best of the best receive the designation of Top Workplaces.
Public and private organizations, nonprofits and government entities with more than 35 employees can participate if they're located in Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Roane, Sevier or Union counties.
Nominations will be accepted through Feb. 18 and can be made at knoxnews.com/twnominate or by calling 865-407-5068.
How does Top Workplaces work?
Energage partners with media outlets in 61 metro areas to rank Top Workplaces. In 2021, the firm surveyed more than 2 million employees at more than 8,000 organizations.
Energage has conducted surveys since 2006.
A business can be nominated by anyone, and once it is Energage will send a 24-question survey to its employees and tabulate the results of the surveys, which are voluntary and anonymous. Employees can fill out these surveys from January to April.
Knox News and Knox.biz will announce the East Tennessee Top Workplaces in June at a virtual event and in a special magazine.
Who won East Tennessee Top Workplaces last year?
In 2021, Energage invited 590 area companies to participate and 73 accepted. Of those, a record 50 companies were named Top Workplaces based on the results of anonymous employee surveys. More than 8,800 employees filled out surveys.
First Horizon took first place in the large business category; Pinnacle Financial Partners won the midsize category; and Maple Hall / Babalu was named the winner of the small business category.
The program also awards companies for special achievements in leadership, communication, work-life balance and other categories.
"Winning Top Workplaces 2021 was a tremendous honor for our team and our brands. It provided us a broad platform to share about ourselves with fellow Knoxvillians, and it piqued the interest of employees-to-be who were intrigued by what they found out about us," Maple Hall and Babalu general manager Ryan Sheley told Knox News.
Why participate in Top Workplaces?
The First Horizon leadership team participates in Top Workplaces to share its brand and business identity with a broad audience, to retain and recruit, and because it encourages candid feedback and valuable insights into employees' opinions.
After reading the 2021 Top Workplaces survey results, the First Horizon leadership team learned employees wanted more opportunities to connect with each other, so the company brought associates together through a Read City USA reading challenge and a toy drive for Child Help.
"Throughout our years participating in the Top Workplaces process, we’ve learned each year how much are associates value our family atmosphere," said Dave Miller, East Tennessee president of First Horizon.
DiStefano said the biggest benefits to participating are hearing direct feedback through a third-party survey. The insights help Pinnacle Financial Partners' leadership team determine where it excels and benchmarks them against competitors and high-performing companies in the Knoxville area.
"We do our own internal survey every year, but an independent program is a good way to check ourselves and make sure we’re living up to the our vision of being the best place to work in the Southeast," DiStefano said.
Business Growth and Development Editor Brenna McDermott can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Support our local news efforts by becoming a Knox News subscriber.
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Knoxville Top Workplaces awards now open for nominations for 2022