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Despite pandemic crisis, companies and employees keep cultures strong
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Despite pandemic crisis, companies and employees keep cultures strong

From the Shining stars: Meet the Madison area's Top Workplaces series
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New cleaning protocols, masks and social distancing became standard procedure in 2020, but the Madison area's top workplaces were able to help employees contend with the COVID-19 pandemic by reinforcing strong company cultures.

Battered by an economy-wrecking pandemic and forced to quickly adapt to working at home, often juggling Zoom meetings, at-home schooling and anxiety about COVID-19 and racial and partisan tensions, it’s easy to think that employee morale is in the tank in the Madison area.

Make no mistake about it: The effects of the pandemic have left painful scars, with many people jobless and some businesses shuttered. But this year’s Top Workplaces project shows that many employees across the Madison region remain resiliently upbeat and are clinging to their workplace cultures, even from a distance.

In almost every measure of employee satisfaction assessed by Energage, the Wisconsin State Journal’s research partner on Top Workplaces, Madison-area workers view attributes such as pay, confidence in company leadership, work-life balance and company values higher than the national average.

Top Workplaces also reveals how hard business leaders have worked to preserve their workplace cultures and help employees prosper and advance in the face of crisis.

“The challenges this year were enormous, but the results show Madison-area businesses responded with creativity, compassion and innovation — and their employees showed remarkable strength and grit through it all,” said Chris White, State Journal publisher.

White said Top Workplaces shines a spotlight on how corporate culture can engage employees and help organizations thrive — even through crisis.

“This is our third year of partnering with Energage on Top Workplaces, and each year the project demonstrates the commitment of a wide range of businesses to keep their employees engaged to help keep the local economy the envy of the state,” White added.

Eric Rubino, Energage CEO, said that during this challenging time Top Workplaces “has proven to be a beacon of light to organizations, as well as a sign of resiliency and strong business performance.”

In all, Energage surveyed 72 companies with a total of 16,804 employees to arrive at this year’s rankings. Energage is a Pennsylvania-based employee engagement and workplace improvement research firm.

The State Journal’s Top Workplaces program is one of about 50 that Energage conducts in media markets nationally, including Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Milwaukee, New Orleans, Detroit and San Diego.

This year’s winners run the gamut from dentistry to financial institutions and engineering to software developers and many more. In the pages that follow, they tell their stories of building cultures that work — and last even through crisis.

“The challenges this year were enormous, but the results show Madison-area businesses responded with creativity, compassion and innovation — and their employees showed remarkable strength and grit through it all.”

Chris White, State Journal publisher

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