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Methodology

How we chose the top places to work

The Globe’s Top Places to Work survey honors employers who take care of their most valuable resource: the people who work for them.

Those people told us that their employers value their contributions, offer progressive benefits and creative perks, allow the flexibility needed to balance their lives at work and at home, and strive for strong leadership.

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The Globe invited 1,746 employers to participate in the 2013 Top Places to Work survey. Of those, 333 organizations employing more than 169,000 people went all the way through the process, allowing us to conduct a confidential survey of their workers.

Research partner WorkplaceDynamics of Exton, Pa., specialists in employee engagement and retention, contacted more than 127,000 employees at those companies and received completed surveys from 76,482 individuals. They were asked to grade their organization’s performance according to 22 distinct statements, ranging from “New ideas are encouraged at this company,” to “My manager makes it easier to do my job well.”

To compile the rankings, each employer was measured according to six factors:

Direction: Do employees have confidence in the leader of the organization? Do they believe it operates ethically, and is moving in the right direction?

Execution: Do employees believe senior managers have a good understanding of what the company needs to do to succeed, and are they sharing information well? Are new ideas encouraged?

Connection: Does the company show its appreciation for employees? Do they feel part of something meaningful and confident about their future?

My managers: Do managers care about employees’ concerns and help employees to do their job, to learn and to grow?

My work: Does the company offer formal training, encourage different points of view, offer people with a wide variety of backgrounds other opportunities to learn and grow? Does the company help workers to balance career and family life?

My pay and benefits: Are workers fairly compensated with good benefits?

All of the participating employers were placed into one of four size groups, based on the number of employees in Massachusetts, to account for the “small company effect.” Smaller employers tend to perform better in workplace surveys than larger ones. One reason: In smaller groups, employees tend to interact more with top management, giving them a greater sense of involvement.

Small workplaces were defined as those with 50 to 99 employees; medium workplaces had 100 to 249; large workplaces were those with 250 to 999; and the largest workplaces employed 1,000 or more.

In order to determine how many organizations were eligible for each size band, WorkplaceDynamics determined where there was a statistical drop in scores for large companies and placed the cutoff point at the nearest multiple of five. The minimum eligibility scores for all employers were chosen to be statistically consistent with the spread for organziations in the two largest size categories.

The results are compiled in the four charts that list the top small, medium, large, and largest employers.

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