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Program searches for best companies in the county
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A brand new program is hoping to recognize companies who have proven to be the most desirable workplaces within the county. Developed by Opportunity Stanislaus and Prime Shine Car Wash, Best Places to Work: Central Valley aims to separate and celebrate top employers through a survey and recognition program.


In partnership with the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, the Best Places to Work program selects companies for the honor based on a combination of employee surveys and metrics, which include wages and available benefits. Companies interested in qualifying for the designation apply through The Best Companies Group, a third party research firm, who collect the data and employee feedback via proprietary tools. While the information provided is used to determine if the company qualifies for the Best Places to Work designation, employers also receive a report from the surveys containing valuable detail regarding the experience of current employees.


“Employers spend a great deal of money recruiting and training employees. It is in their best interest to retain the talent they have invested in financially, but sometimes there aren’t avenues for employees to communicate those things that may cause dissatisfaction in the workplace,” said Opportunity Stanislaus marketing and communications manager Amber Edwards.  “These surveys make it possible to identify problems before employees exit the company and make adjustments accordingly.”


Twenty-five percent of the company’s score comes from a questionnaire completed by the employer, and 75 percent of the score is determined by the employees’ survey responses. The total score is then weighted against other participating employers in Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties to determine if they qualify.


Employee surveys such as the one provided when applying for Best Places to Work typically cost $5,000, said Edwards. The application fee for Best Places to Work varies depending on the number of employees in the company, but ranges from $770 to $1,870. Employees are asked questions related to job satisfaction, such as morale, flexibility, openness of management to change and company culture.


“Unhappy employees shape the reputation of companies,” said Edwards. “This program has shown that in those companies where employees have a voice and see the impact of their feedback, they are more likely to stay and feel loyal.”


If selected for the program, companies are presented with an award at the annual Celebrate Stanislaus event – an awards ceremony meant to thank businesses who are growing their investment in the county’s economy. Companies chosen will also be able to use marketing material from the program to advertise, and according to Edwards, the program has been found to increase recruiting and retention success on a national level.


“The significance of this type of award is that anyone can say, ‘I’m great,’” said Edwards. “It is different altogether when an unbiased third party looks at everything about your company from every angle and says, ‘Yeah, they’re great.’ It’s meaningful.”


In order to be eligible, companies must be located in Stanislaus, San Joaquin or Merced County and have a minimum of 15 full or part-time employees working in those counties. Additionally, the company must have at least one year of operating experience. Both for-profit and nonprofit companies are eligible, and all rankings are for one year with 2017 designees being announced in the first quarter of the year.


Program registration is now open and will continue through Jan. 6, with the deadline for completed employee questionnaires coming a few weeks later. To register or learn more, please visit