To find out, Newsday had the consulting and research firm Energage anonymously poll more than 16,000 employees at 117 LI employers, on everything from pay and benefits to leadership and company alignment.
After analyzing all the results of the 117 companies that participated in the survey, Newsday and Energage have selected 80 as top Long Island workplaces and we are proud to spotlight the winners in each category, along with a look at what their employees had to say, islandwide trends and much more.
500+ Long Island workers
TOP LARGE EMPLOYER SIGNATURE PREMIER PROPERTIES
Real estate firm has large footprint without the corporate attitude
Even with more than 1,000 agents in its employ, Signature Premier Properties strives to operate like a mom-and-pop operation.
Signature Premier Properties doesn’t want to have a corporate attitude.
While the real estate firm has about 1,150 agents, it wants to keep its “mom-and-pop” culture, said Kathy Kirby-Viard, co-owner and licensed broker.
That’s what has kept the company flourishing since its founding in 2007, she said. “I know everybody who works for me.”
Headquartered in East Northport, and with 21 other offices on Long Island, Signature is ranked first among large employers in Newsday’s 2019 Top Long Island Workplaces, a position determined by anonymous employee surveys. The surveys were conducted by Exton, Pennsylvania-based research firm Energage.
Surveyed employees and real estate agents rated the company highly for its friendly culture, community service activities and supportive resources, such as training and education classes.
Signature “allows me to work the way I want," one person wrote in the survey. "Since coming to Signature, I feel like I now work with many liked-minded, good, ethical people and owners who know how to make money and do the right thing by people at the same time.”
Another wrote, “How well I do or don’t do entirely depends on me. I love the energy my office has — I do need that. I love how encouraging the company is. It truly feels like a … family to me.”
About 90 percent of Signature’s business is residential, with the rest being commercial real estate.
In addition to the nearly 1,150 agents, Signature has 79 employees working as administrative assistants, graphic artists, bookkeepers, trainers, etc., Kirby-Viard said.
About 60 percent of the Signature staff and agents are women, she added.
Signature is the third-largest residential real estate company on Long Island based on dollar volume and units sold, according to Multiple Listing Service of Long Island Inc., a computerized network of real estate offices..
The company’s total sales volume increased 36 percent between 2017 and 2018. It is on track to do $2.5 billion in closings this year, compared to $2 billion last year, Kirby-Viard said.
But she said the firm's focus goes beyond how many homes their real estate agents sell.
“I don’t care what people’s production is,” Kirby-Viard said.
There is an “abundance mentality” at Signature, which means that stinginess in sharing resources is frowned upon, she said.
Kirby-Viard and co-owner/founder Peter Morris are easily accessible to agents who need help, which is not common for a real estate company of Signature’s size, said Tara Froehlich, 43, a Huntington resident who has been an agent at Signature since 2016.
“The environment is something that is very special. … I’ve just grown as an agent. I’ve increased my volume. I’ve increased my transactions,” Froehlich said of how the training and support have helped her career.
The concept of sharing resources is also practiced in Signature Cares, the real estate company’s community service program. Volunteer projects include building homes for Habitat for Humanity, hosting annual school supply, grocery and Easter basket drives, participating in walks for charitable causes and sponsoring community events.
The company also holds employee events such as Take Your Dog to Work Day and National Pizza Party Day, and hosts programs, such as its own bowling league and an annual family fun day at a park.
Also, every Tuesday, Kirby-Viard and Morris hold "Cocktails and Conversations," in which they take agents and employees at two Signature offices out for happy hour at local bars and restaurants.
Signature’s short- and long-term goals are the same, Kirby-Viard said. The owners want the company to continue being a family-cultured firm with strong community ties, she said.
“I’d like to continue to be a boutique company, which is a challenge, but we’re making a conscious effort,” she said.
-Tory N. Parrish
NAME: Tony Donnino
COMPANY: Signature Premier Properties
JOB: Licensed associate real estate broker
I worked for another real estate company for 20 years. The fact that real estate companies got corporate turned me off.
After Signature Premier Properties started to take over the market, it was time for me to leave my other company.
I like it because it’s not the corporate attitude. It’s still the mom-and-pop company, but it has grown into a giant on Long Island.
The owners probably know everyone’s name, every family member. They’re very involved in every aspect of the company, which they should be. I also like that the agents are very professional.
FUN FACT: I’m a sports guy. I still play softball at 62 years old. I play in a 40-and-over league in the Town of Huntington and I play pool in a league in Huntington. I like to travel. Saratoga Springs is my favorite place to visit because of the racetrack.
TOP LARGE EMPLOYER BETHPAGE FEDERAL CREDIT UNION
Hires that fit the culture are key at Bethpage FCU
Bethpage Federal Credit Union executives said they go to great lengths to ensure workers fit in and focus on service.
When Bethpage Federal Credit Union executives sift through job applicants, they’ll look at experience.
But the largest part of the hiring process comes during the interview — when managers decide if a candidate fits the credit union’s culture.
It’s that culture that employees and managers said makes Bethpage a top workplace on Long Island. Bethpage placed second among large-sized employers in Newsday's 2019 Top Workplaces, a position determined by anonymous employee surveys. The surveys were conducted by Exton, Pennsylvania-based research firm Energage.
“You have to hire for culture,” said Melissa Feeney, vice president of human resources at the credit union. “You can teach almost anyone anything. But that doesn’t mean they’ll fit in.”
Feeney said 40 percent of the credit union’s hires are through employee referrals, because “our employees live our values, as do their friends.”
As for the rest, “we ask a lot of behavioral questions that focus on service being a top quality,” said Lisa Milano, a senior human resources recruiter. “We try to get an idea of how they’ll behave in certain settings. It gives us great insight.”
Employees at Bethpage also gave the company high marks for creating clubs -- which include beach volleyball, bowling, basketball, reading and running -- that bring employees together. The runners travel to Washington, D.C., annually to participate in the Cherry Blossom 10k race.
“Working here allows you to be yourself and not take yourself too seriously,” said Ray Santiago, a member experience specialist who joined the company a little more than three years ago. As a specialist, Santiago examines member experiences and works on improving outcomes.
Advancement opportunities are another positive, staffers said.
Maggie Edelman joined Bethpage two years ago and was recently promoted to head teller at the Seaford branch. She said an employee doesn’t have to fit a prototype to grow at the company.
“I love how we are all different, but our common strength is our 'Bethpageness,' ” she said. “They appreciate that we are all different, but put our best foot forward for the members.”
NAME: Kimberley Ruiz
COMPANY: Bethpage Federal Credit Union
JOB: Community development relationship manager
I’ve only been at Bethpage for two years, but everyone says it feels like I’ve been here much longer. It may be because of all the roles I get to play here.
One of my favorite responsibilities is teaching financial literacy classes at area schools and libraries. I’ve taught in front of kindergarten students and seniors, but it’s speaking to high school students that I love the most, because it’s at about that age that they’re becoming curious. High school students are starting to think about finances, and it’s amazing to see how engaged they are.
Bethpage is also very community oriented, and I’m involved in many of those meaningful events, including the turkey drive we put together each year with Island Harvest.
FUN FACT: I’m a certified scuba diver. I went on vacation in Thailand by myself, saw a sign, and said “Sure, why not!” I went through three 12-hour days of training in a pool and then the ocean, and saw a baby octopus and all sorts of other colorful fish. I recently also went to Croatia on vacation. Also took a trip to Peru. You have to understand, I take my vacations seriously.
TOP LARGE EMPLOYER PIPING ROCK HEALTH PRODUCTS
Associates have a shared passion for their business at Piping Rock
At the health products manufacturer, workers aren't called employees; they're associates. "Everyone is family, from the top down," says the HR director.
Officially, Piping Rock Health Products has grown from a startup in 2011 to a company of about 600 employees.
But the manufacturer of health products doesn’t call any of its workers “employees.”
That makes a difference, said Jennie Reilly, the Ronkonkoma-based company’s human resources director.
“They’re all associates, not just employees,” she said. “Everyone is family, from the top down. Everyone is part of the group.”
Reilly said the company leans on staff for hiring referrals, and rewards them with extras, such as fresh oranges on Valentine’s Day and “frozen meat for them to cook on July Fourth.”
“Everyone feels invested here,” Reilly said of the supplements and health products maker, which placed third among large-sized employers in Newsday's 2019 Top Workplaces, a position determined by anonymous employee surveys. The surveys were conducted by Exton, Pennsylvania-based research firm Energage.
Piping Rock's portfolio includes vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements as well as topical creams, serums and plant-based essential oils.
Piping Rock, which has manufacturing plants in Farmingdale and packaging plants in Ronkonkoma, was launched by Scott Rudolph, a prominent local entrepreneur. Before launching Piping Rock, he was the chief executive of NBTY Inc., a Ronkonkoma-based vitamin maker that sold itself to a private investment fund in 2010.
“A company’s greatest asset is its associates,” Rudolph said. “Our success could not have been made possible without the shared passion for the business from our talented and dedicated team.”
Associates said they work hard because they feel respected and invested in the company's success.
“This is like my family, this is like my home,” said Maria Estrada, a porter. “When you’re treated with respect, you want to give the company your best. So I work overtime sometimes, not because they ask me to, but because I want to do my best and make this place very clean.”
Added Allison Moran, a staff accountant, “In our department, everyone is willing to help each other with issues and questions. It’s a very encouraging workplace.”
NAME: Gaston Mathias
COMPANY: Piping Rock Health Products
JOB: Material handler
I joined Piping Rock about nine months ago, and I’ve received other job offers since then. I’m real clear about this: I tell them no way, I love it here. If people saw how we are treated, and how my plant manager treats people in general, they’d understand that there is no reason to offer me another job.
I’m very fortunate, because when I first came here, it was on a temporary basis. But I did well, and they converted the job to a full-time position.
My main responsibility here is to retrieve materials, and set up machines before line operators start. Also, if they’re running low on a material, like bottles, for example, I retrieve the goods so that we don’t stop with production. I’m a runner, so to speak.
FUN FACT: I’m a furniture maker. My brother taught me how to make and fix furniture in Haiti before I came to the United States in 1981. I can fix anything! Bedroom furniture, dining room furniture, you name it. I used to do this for a living, and I still do this on the side. Also, I can cook. I make great salmon dishes. When I go to a restaurant and order salmon, it never satisfies me.
Catholic Health Services of Long Island “This is a faith-based organization and I have the opportunity to work with leaders that care about the staff in many ways that you do not find in other employer environments.”
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (research) “As a researcher you observe biological connections nobody has seen before.”
Family Service League (human and social services) “Social work is not a job, it is a passion. I love helping people put together the pieces of the puzzle of their lives, so they can live a happier, healthier life.”
Lessing’s Hospitality Group (restaurants and catering) “I love my job because it allows me to be creative with my passion for food.”
Life’s WORC (residential and day-services support) “Every day offers new opportunities to make life better for the people we support.”
Marchon Eyewear (fashion brands) “Even though I have been here for so long, I have learned so much more within the last 10 years.”
Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation “We strive to make a positive difference in the lives of the residents/patients. Just yesterday, during rounds, one of the residents (after I checked in on her) grabbed my hand and said, ‘Please come around some more.’ That made my heart melt!”
Spectrum Vision Partners (eye care) “There is immense gratification when you have a patient thank you for your help or state how much they enjoy coming into the office due to the care they receive from the entire staff.”
Stony Brook Southampton Hospital “To be able to assist a woman to give birth to her first baby, to teach a woman how to care for her baby, to be a support system for a family — all of these things make me feel truly fulfilled in my position as an RN.”
Zebra Technologies Corp. (bar code scanners, printers and mobile computers) “We are driving innovation into every product that we develop and leading the market in mobile computers. We’re focused on our customers. It’s incredibly fulfilling!”
|Rank||Employer||Founded||Ownership||Sector||HeadquartersCity||HQ State||LI Locations||LI Employees|
|1||Signature Premier Properties||2007||Private||Agents / Brokers||East Northport||NY||21||1,050|
|2||Bethpage Federal Credit Union||1941||Cooperative/Mutual||Not for profit, Federal Credit Union||Bethpage||NY||37||725|
|3||Piping Rock Health Products, LLC||2011||Private||Manufacturing||Bohemia||NY||9||508|
|4||Family Service League||1926||Non-profit||Human and social services||Huntington||NY||19||794|
|5||Lessing’s Hospitality Group||1890||Private||Restaurants/catering||Great River||NY||45||700|
|6||Zebra Technologies Corp.||1969||Public||Technology||Lincolnshire||IL||2||859|
|7||Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory||1890||Non-profit||Research||Cold Spring Harbor||NY||3||850|
|8||Stony Brook Southampton Hospital||1909||Non-profit||Hospitals||Southampton||NY||1||1,176|
|9||Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation||1972||Non-profit||Skilled Nursing Centers||New Hyde Park||NY||1||678|
|10||Marchon Eyewear||1983||Non-profit||Fashion Brand||Melville||NY||4||520|
|11||Catholic Health Services of Long Island||1997||Non-profit||Health Center||Rockville Centre||NY||15||15,227|
|12||Life’s WORC||1971||Non-profit||Services for people with disabilities||Garden City||NY||28||515|
|13||Spectrum Vision Partners||1997||Private||Healthcare Management||Garden City||NY||18||589|
150-499 Long Island workers
TOP MIDSIZE EMPLOYER POWER HOME REMODELING GROUP
Power Home Remodeling Group's employees are going places, literally
The Melville-based company sponsors more than 250 events a year for its employees, including a trip to Mexico, mountain-climbing in Colorado and leadership events with famous speakers.
Power Home Remodeling Group sponsors more than 250 events a year for its employees, including a trip to Mexico, mountain-climbing in Colorado and leadership events with speakers such as Wayne Gretzky and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
With more than 200 Long Island employees, Power was voted the top local mid-sized employer in the Energage survey. It also won a special award for employees’ comments stating that the company is going in the right direction. The company is “always moving forward,” one employee wrote. Another commented that Power is always “looking to improve.”
In addition to its high-octane special events, the company offers health and retirement benefits, life insurance, parental leave and a range of training and leadership development programs. More than half its new hires come from employee referrals, and the company says many employees choose to spend time together outside of work. Its community programs include raising more than $3.3 million for the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to fund childhood cancer causes, and its own initiative to hire military veterans as leaders.
Kyle Barring, a senior vice president of sales in Melville, said before he joined Power about 11 years ago, he worked in finance after graduating from Rutgers University. But he “struggled” in the finance industry, he said. When he landed an interview at Power, the company was called Power Windows and Siding. It now also markets roofing, insulation and doors, connecting with customers in part through door-to-door sales.
“It was not the most glamorous-sounding job,” Barring said.
However, he said, when he first joined the company, “I remember the thing that stood out to me the most was, I got the sense that people wanted to help me. If someone saw where they could step in to help, they would.”
Barring said he has been inspired by speakers brought in for Power events, including Gretzky and Cory Booker. “Just being around people who have accomplished so much, it’s inspiring,” Barring said.
Power also makes a point of offering educational opportunities to employees, Barring said.
“We’re really big on training here,” he said. “No matter what department you’re in, the ongoing training never stops.”
Barring said the company is making strides in hiring more military veterans, women -- there are 18 female employees on Long Island now, up from zero in 2011 -- and workers from a range of racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds.
“We do roofing and siding and windows, but inside these walls, there’s so much that’s going on that’s cutting edge,” he said.
Training for employees who show promise but need guidance is key to the company’s culture, employees said. Sarah Stark, a pre-install inspection manager, said she faced an uphill climb when she first joined the company. Her sales role was not a good fit for her at the time, she recalled.
“What’s great about Power is they continued to work with me and train me,” said Stark, who majored in French and international studies at SUNY Oneonta. “They took me under their wing, they helped me get better at the job.”
Over more than three years, she said, she has gained skills and confidence. Now, she is measuring and managing multiple projects a day and learning more technical skills. “That’s going to help me in the long run,” she said. “I always want to learn more.”
NAME: Kelvin Ojo Nosagie
COMPANY: Power Home Remodeling Group
JOB: Remodeling consultant and team leader
I’ve been with Power for eight years. I went to St. John’s University and studied business administration and communications. I interned for CNN and worked at NY1 News. I was planning on going to law school, and I had actually gotten accepted to a school in Virginia. But I was kind of doing it for the money, it wasn’t for the right reasons.
As I was driving back from visiting the law school I got a call from a Power manager. When I came to Power, it was kind of like finding a home. It wasn’t something that I planned, I just felt that it was a great opportunity that I kind of walked into.
There’s always mobility, you’re always able to grow.
What has really surprised me the most is seeing the leaders of the business having a genuine interest in the lives of the people. You don’t see that at every company. You’re working with friends.
FUN FACT: I’m an associate pastor at my church, World Restoration Center in Westbury, where I mentor youths, help out at a food pantry, visit people who are ill and sometimes preach on Sundays.
TOP MIDSIZE EMPLOYER POSILLICO INC.
Construction company faces stiff competition for talent
Posillico does research to make sure its compensation package is fair, and offers workers chances to change career paths within the firm.
Posillico Inc., a family-run heavy construction firm based in Farmingdale, has its eye on retaining good employees in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
“There is a lot of work going on right now, especially in New York City, so there is a high demand for talent,” said president and chief executive Joseph K. Posillico. “That’s one of the reasons we work so hard to create an environment to retain our people.”
A survey of Posillico’s employees conducted for Newsday by Energage ranked the company at the No. 2 spot among mid-size employers in Long Island's Top Workplaces.
The company was founded in 1946 as a trucking contractor. Today, its 180 salaried employees work on some of the largest infrastructure contracts in the tristate area, repairing roads, bridges and tunnels.
Posillico said the company looks at what others in the construction industry offer employees and takes stock of employee sentiment through surveys.
“We do a lot of research into compensation and benefits and making sure we’re providing a fair package to the employees,” he said. “A lot of it is the work environment, and the training and the future that they see with this company.”
To that end, the firm provides employees with education opportunities and gives them ample options to change career paths within the company, he said.
“Whenever I want more responsibility, they actually let you try it as opposed to other larger companies,” said Alex Gomez, a project manager who has worked at Posillico for seven years.
Gomez said at other companies where he’s worked, there was little employee investment or trust from upper management.
Posillico is “actively trying to promote your personal growth,” he said. “You feel extremely invested.“
For longtime employee Chris Mauro, the company’s flexibility when it comes to opportunities has been a major plus.
Mauro, who has worked at the firm for 20 years, made a drastic change in his career path five years ago when he left his position as a field supervisor working exclusively at construction sites to jump into white collar work.
“I came into the office as a purchasing manager, which was quite different from the field,” Mauro said.
Having the chance to change paths has kept things fresh, he said.
“Being on a construction site is very different form being here, but I like the switch,” Mauro said. “We have opportunities to change, which I like.”
NAME: Danielle Mendoza
COMPANY: Posillico Inc.
JOB: Project Manager
My favorite thing about my work is the interaction with so many different people — the labor force, owners, subcontractors, vendors and peers — and the mix of working on site and in the field office.
The construction industry is tough within itself no matter who you are. Every couple of months to every couple of years, you are moved to and learning a new project, with new people, all while having to get the ball rolling, typically, in only a couple of weeks.
Being a woman adds even more challenges because it is not as common in this industry. Trying to juggle learning the industry, a new project and a new role on top of working with a 100 percent male labor force, at least on my most recent project, can be intimidating and not everyone is welcoming to the idea of a woman on the worksite.
However, I’ve been very lucky at Posillico that this isn’t my ‘norm’. The company doesn’t see age or gender when assigning you to a role that they think you best fit, and I am grateful they provide the support needed to best succeed in that position.
FUN FACT: I am an avid reader, currently reading Brenée Brown’s “Daring Greatly” but vary between business and psychology genres with some fiction mixed in. My husband and I have two dogs and spend a lot of our free time outdoors with them, hiking in the cooler months and spending time at the beach in the summer.
TOP MIDSIZE EMPLOYER DOMINICAN VILLAGE
Dominican Village goes all in on community
"If you do not take care of the employees, it's very difficult to think that the residents and the families are going to be taken care of," says CEO Paul Wasser.
Dominican Village, a retirement and assisted living community in Amityville, offers its 188 employees an extra day off for their birthdays; free classes in yoga, Pilates and Zumba; and holiday parties that include a $1,000 prize for a worker who embodies values such as teamwork and integrity.
It also matches retirement account contributions of up to 4 percent of salary, offers paid parental leave and up to 12 sick days, among other benefits.
“If you do not take care of the employees, it’s very difficult to think that the residents and the families are going to be taken care of,” said Paul Wasser, chief executive officer of the not-for-profit community. “If you have a healthy, more relaxed employee base ... your retention is going to be stronger.”
That approach helped earn Dominican Village third place among Long Island’s mid-sized companies in Energage’s Top Workplaces contest. The community also won a special award for making its employees feel appreciated.
The 13-acre community includes 200 rental apartments for seniors who can live independently and 66 state-licensed assisted-living apartments. The nonsectarian facility was founded by the Sisters of St. Dominic in Amityville and opened in 1992.
Wasser was hired in 2015, after the facility suffered two years of operating losses that had cast doubt on its ability to stay open. He said Dominican Village has made a dramatic turnaround. The community received a silver award in the 2019 American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living’s National Quality Award Program, which focuses on health care quality, staff engagement, customer satisfaction and hospital readmissions.
Sister Maureen Muir, chief quality officer at Dominican Village, said that among the staff “there’s just an extraordinary spirit of compassion."
Wellington Mendez, a maintenance supervisor, said when he started working at Dominican Village, he only expected to stay for a year or so. That was 15 years ago.
“I love to work with the seniors,” he said. He has been struck, he said, by “the kindness of the people, the way I’ve been treated” — by residents, co-workers and managers alike. Mendez’s duties include inspecting safety equipment such as bed rails, making repairs, ensuring lights are working and keeping an eye out for hazards. He's also the go-to guy when a resident needs help opening a jar or picking something up.
“Things like that are little, but are very important for them,” he said. “I think of my family members when one of the residents needs help with something.”
NAME: Sherri Beverly
COMPANY: Dominican Village
JOB: Dining room manager
I’ve been here since it opened. I had been studying to be an electronic technician. I came here just to make extra money to pay for that course, and once I came here, I ended up staying here. It’s just like family, it’s very rewarding.
The residents, their warm personalities, their wisdom, their knowledge. They like to share their stories — they bring pictures into the dining room sometimes.
I grew up in Amityville. My mother, we prayed together, we stayed together. It was structure, it was chores, it was having respect for your elders, you speak when you’re spoken to. When I hire staff, I look for that home training. They already have a little experience and patience, and they know that the residents are declining, their hearing and their eyesight and their taste buds. We still can make them smile. We try to make it so they look forward to coming back to the dining room tomorrow.
FUN FACT: Last year I won the New York State Health Facilities Association’s Noble Caregiver Award, which honors front-line workers who help improve residents’ lives and create a better work environment. I also mentor young women through my church. Anywhere I can help, I’m there.
Arbor Realty Trust Inc. (commercial real estate) “I am able to be part of something bigger than myself. Long after I am gone, the procedures and staff that I helped to build up will still be here.”
Association for Mental Health and Wellness “I enjoy helping people and assisting others with reaching their goals. I especially like encouraging others who feel like there is no hope.”
BNB Bank “As a community banker, I have the opportunity to provide my clients with the personalized attention that a large banking atmosphere often lacks, and it makes me feel as if I am supporting the growth and efficiency of my clients.”
CN Guidance & Counseling Services (social services) “I get to support people who live with mental health and/or addiction issues so that they are not alone in their struggle.”
Cook Maran & Associates (insurance) “I love my job because there’s a lot of thinking.”
Cox & Company (manufacturing) “I love my job because I learn more about what goes into producing a product.”
DaVita (healthcare) “We are a village first and a company second. We treat each other with the same intensity as we treat our patients.”
Dental365 (dental care) “I feel we are able to work with patients, finding a solution that gives them the best dental treatment while understanding their budget and [insurance] allowances.”
Designatronics Inc. (components manufacturing) “I came from a competitor where I worked for many years before they moved out of state. I feel right at home here.”
Family & Children’s Association (social services) “It is great to know I am helping families through difficult times, but even greater to see when they take things that they have learned by being in our program and apply them.”
Farrell Fritz, P.C. (attorneys) “Attorneys have opportunities to handle challenging cases and develop professionally.”
H2M Architects + Engineers (design) “I have the freedom to create projects and develop new clients.”
HealthCare Partners, Management Service Organization “My job allows me to use my knowledge, talents and abilities to help improve patient care. I get to learn and grow as a health care professional.”
Heatherwood Luxury Rentals (apartments) “Top management has grown with the company and knows all aspects of the job. It’s not just another suit in the chair looking at the numbers and telling you what should be done. They have done it themselves for years.”
Leviton Manufacturing Co. Inc. (electrical products) “We get to develop and produce real products that we see for sale and are used by our friends and family.”
MagnaCare Administrative Services (medical insurance) “I am able to help our clients lower their health care costs.”
Marcum LLP (accounting) “I have a lot of flexibility in what I do and when I can get it done. I am not micromanaged and am trusted as a professional.”
MSC Industrial Supply Co. (tools distributor) “I like to take on projects that are outside of my day-to-day role, which allows me to learn more about the business and make a positive contribution to the bottom line.”
NFP Property and Casualty Services Inc. (insurance) “The company believes in diversity and inclusion, and that many different types of people can offer ideas that may work well for our clients.”
North Atlantic Industries Inc. (electronics manufacturing) “I learn something new every day, whether it is learning how to do more things with the systems/programs that we use or speaking with the engineers about how parts come together and the language they use to identify the different modules.”
Options for Community Living Inc. (housing and other services for vulnerable populations) “Everyone works together to make a difference in the lives of the people we serve.”
Precipart (components manufacturing) “My ideas can be brought into reality.”
Spellman High Voltage Electronics Corp. (manufacturing) “I enjoy mechanical design and I have been provided with all the support anyone could ask for. I spend much of my time doing creative design and do not feel over-pressured by deadlines.”
YAI, formerly Young Adult Institute (education and social services for the developmentally disabled) “We are doing important work — caring for those with disabilities.”
|Rank||Employer||Founded||Ownership||Sector||HeadquartersCity||HQ State||LI Locations|
|1||Power Home Remodeling Group||1992||Private||Residential remodeling||Chester||PA||1|
|3||Dominican Village||1992||Non-profit||Senior living community||Amityville||NY||1|
|4||Dental365||2014||Private||Dental/health care||New Hyde Park||NY||15|
|5||Spellman High Voltage Electronics Corp.||1947||Private||Manufacturing||Hauppauge||NY||1|
|6||North Atlantic Industries||1955||Private||Manufacturing||Bohemia||NY||2|
|7||Association for Mental Health and Wellness||1990||Non-profit||Mental health services||Ronkonkoma||NY||4|
|8||BNB Bank||1910||Public||Community bank||Hauppauge||NY||40|
|9||NFP Property and Casualty Services, Inc.||1998||Private||General insurance||New York||NY||1|
|10||Heatherwood Luxury Rentals||1965||Private||Property management||Commack||NY||18|
|12||Arbor Realty Trust, Inc.||1992||Public||Real estate investment trust||Uniondale||NY||1|
|13||H2M architects + engineers||1933||Private||Architectural and engineering services||Melville||NY||2|
|14||HealthCare Partners, MSO||1996||Private||Health care||Garden City||NY||1|
|15||MSC Indsutrial Supply Co.||1941||Public||Engineering/Manufacturing||Melville||NY||1|
|16||Cook Maran & Associates||1950||Private||Insurance consultants & brokers||Melville||NY||4|
|17||Farrell Fritz, P.C.||1976||Partnership||Law||Uniondale||NY||3|
|18||Family & Children’s Association||1884||Non-profit||Human services||Mineola||NY||10|
|19||Marcum LLP||1951||Partnership||Accounting and consulting||New York||NY||1|
|20||Cox & Company||1944||Private||De-icing systems for aircraft||Plainview||NY||1|
|22||Options for Community Living, Inc.||1982||Non-profit||Human service||Ronkonkoma||NY||3|
|23||YAI||1957||Non-profit||Services for people with disabilities||New York||NY||30|
|25||MagnaCare||1990||Private||Medical insurance, medical management||Westbury||NY||1|
|26||Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.||1906||Private||Manufacturing||Melville||NY||1|
|27||CN Guidance & Counseling Services||1972||Non-profit||Mental health||Hicksville||NY||3|
50 – 149 Long Island workers
TOP SMALL EMPLOYER NATIONAL BUSINESS CAPITAL & SERVICES
National Business Capital & Services puts focus on culture
National considers a well-crafted culture such an important factor in team building and employee happiness that it has "culture leaders," employees who organize events such as a recent luau, which featured Hula-Hoop and limbo contests.
“Workplace culture” may be a buzzword among companies these days, but executives at National Business Capital & Services in Bohemia believe it is key to the 10-year-old company’s success.
Joe Camberato, president of National, which helps mostly small and medium-sized businesses obtain financing, sums up the company’s culture this way:
“We believe that you can work hard and have fun while doing it,” he said
So while employees work in the mostly open-floor office, music plays in the background. The playlist, chosen by a group of workers, ranges from pop to rock to dance, Camberato said.
When an employee completes a financing deal, he or she rings a wall gong while colleagues stand and applaud. Employees who go beyond the call of duty receive "wow" cards, which they can cash in for tickets to a monthly raffle drawing.
National, which took the top spot among small companies in Newsday's Top Long Island Workplaces contest, considers a well-crafted culture such an important factor in team building and employee happiness that it has “culture leaders,” employees who organize events such as a recent luau, which featured Hula-Hoop and limbo contests.
There are company picnics, mixers and volleyball teams, baseball games and fishing trips. The culture leaders also organize charity fundraising events for such groups as Make-A-Wish and Toys for Tots. The company even has a “culture” brochure, which discusses the links between a positive workplace culture, happy employees and profitability.
There are signs that National’s serious approach to work and fun has paid off. Since its inception, it has helped companies across the country obtain $1 billion in financing, Camberato said. The company, which has 85 employees, has outgrown its current location, which seemed cavernous in the early years, he said.
The firm's culture helps with hiring in today’s tight job market, Camberato said. Employees “tell their friends about it and their friends wind up working here.”
Also helping to get the word out about the company is a full-time hiring manager, whom the company hired three years ago, Camberato said.
“We are constantly reaching out and utilizing a number of different platforms to show what we have to offer,” he said.
Phil LoMonaco, 29, who works as a business finance adviser, joined National about two years ago. Before signing on, he wanted to find out how current and former employees rated it, so he turned to job- and consumer-review sites like Glassdoor and Trustpilot.
“I was just very impressed throughout, and when I came here I just saw ... how much of a family it was,” he said.
Processing manager Jillian Crocker, 27, said that the concept of workplace culture wasn’t even on her radar before she started working at National four years ago. But that soon changed.
“I quickly realized how much I need culture, and that is why I will always want to stay here,” she said.
She said the company’s charity work resonated with her during her job interview process, when she noticed the many certificates on the wall from nonprofits like Make-A-Wish, which creates life-changing experiences for kids with critical illnesses.
“That really hit home for me because my mother, grandmother and grandfather all had cancer,” she said. “I thought, ‘This is really great that they care so much.' "
Camberato said he and CEO James Webster decided they wanted an inviting environment because they spent so much time in the office. He said a light bulb went on about five years ago when he toured the offices of Zappos.com, the Las Vegas-based online shoe and clothing retailer.
“The experience of walking through the office and seeing all the different things they do for employees, it was really eye-opening,” he said. “From there we got extremely focused on culture. By doing that we have a lot of happy people here.”
NAME: Shannon Treadwell
COMPANY: National Business Capital & Services
JOB: Vice president of production
Before I started here in 2013 I was working in a dry cleaners. I was 22 years old, and I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I started as a receptionist. I did that for a little while, and then from there I moved up to the processing department … I kept moving around and learning all aspects of the business, and now I am running the production department. This place believes in its employees more than any other place that I know. The culture is amazing. Really there is no limit as to where I want to go.
I can’t see myself being anywhere else. If you had asked me when I was young if I would be here, I don’t know if I would have said yes. But I am so happy to be here.
FUN FACT: If I am not here, you can find me at the beach. I’ll be in the ocean until mid-October, anywhere on Fire Island. I have a son, he’s 20 months old. He loves the ocean just as much as I do. We wake up; we go to the beach. He’s in the water, I am in the water. We are basically fish.
TOP SMALL EMPLOYER LONG ISLAND POWER SOLUTIONS
Employees in for the long run at Long Island Power Solutions
The Ronkonkoma solar panel installation company's owners take pride in its low employee turnover.
If you start working at Long Island Power Solutions, a solar panel installation company in Ronkonkoma, chances are you'll never leave.
Joseph Milillo and Michael Catizone, who in 2009 joined forces to start the business with a couple of trucks and a handful of employees, take pride in their company's low employee turnover.
"We have installers who have been with us since day one. People in sales who have been with us for years, some from the very beginning," said CEO Milillo, adding that the company, which took second place among small employers in Newsday's Top Workplaces competition, now employs 58 workers.
"I like to think it's because they feel valued and cared for here, and that, in turn, makes them care for and value their jobs that much more, and makes them feel happy to come in every day."
Julie Estabrooke, operations and human resources manager at Long Island Power, said both Milillo and Catizone, who is director of field operations, are known to go above and beyond for employees — in and out of the office.
"They bent over backward to accommodate an employee whose spouse was terminally ill," she said. "And on a more lighthearted note, when my wife, who also works here, and I adopted a rescued beagle pup last year, they let us bring her to work with us every day while we were house-training her."
Another employee is allowed to bring his dog, a bichon-poo named Bubbles who has become the unofficial company mascot, to work with him every day.
"It really is like a family here, in every sense of the word," Estabrooke said.
When it comes to adding "family members" to the team, she said, the company looks for people who are willing to go the extra mile for customers.
Mike Brennan, an installer who has been with the company for a decade, said he's more than happy to do that.
"When you work for a good company and work with good people who take care of you, you have room to learn, room to grow," he said. "And in a laid-back environment, where everyone gets along well? There's not much to find fault with."
Recent hire Joseph Zacchino, the company's director of engineering, said working alongside such an enthusiastic group is a treat.
"Everyone has this positive, can-do attitude that's really contagious," he said.
So what's the best part of working at LI Power so far?
"Oh, it's the energy," he said with a laugh. "No pun intended."
NAME: Henry LaRosa
COMPANY: Long Island Power Solutions
JOB: Sales representative
I started at Long Island Power Solutions as a fresh-out-of-college intern almost nine years ago. I worked as an installer for about four years and then traded the roofs for the phones.
I love knowing I’m part of a solid team, a positive group of people who truly believe in me.
They’ve never put me in a box and have given me free rein to learn at my own pace.
Without a doubt, we all work hard, but it’s a fun, laid-back atmosphere. No one is dreading coming in when their alarm goes off in the morning. I can tell you for sure, I don’t. Plus, I don’t have to wear a suit and tie to work. What’s better than that?
FUN FACT: I’ve participated in several hiking trips in Colorado as part of The Ability Experience, a nonprofit founded by the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, which I’m a part of. Through the organization, I was able to lead a group of visually impaired people as they trekked through beautiful creeks and mountain trails. Witnessing the sheer joy and excitement exploring Mother Nature brought to their faces has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
TOP SMALL EMPLOYER TLC FAMILY OF CAMPS & INNS
TLC Family of Camps & Inns is building a 'family' feeling
"Family" is more than just part of the summer camp company's name; the 30-year-old enterprise strives to create a feeling of warmth and connection among its workers.
The concept of family is key at Glen Cove-based summer camp company TLC Family of Camps & Inns.
Not only is it a part of the business' name, but "family" was also the word most often used by employees when describing what it's like to work there. The firm ranked third among small companies in Newsday's Top Workplaces ranking.
Jay Jacobs, 63, who founded the nearly 30-year-old company, said he's proud of being able to create that feeling among staffers. And he added, running the business is, "without a doubt, a family affair."
Jacobs, who is also chairman of the New York State Democratic Party, manages the company with his wife, Mindy. Their daughter Jackie is a division leader for eighth- and ninth-grade girls at the 500-acre Timber Lake Camp in upstate Shandaken and works in the accounting department during the winter.
But even those who aren't blood relatives say working for the organization is like being part of a big family.
Todd Robbins, director of operations at North Shore Day Camp in Glen Cove, said TLC staff members have practically watched him grow up. He's spent every summer at a TLC camp since he was 9.
He started as a camper at Tyler Hill Camp in Pennsylvania, and "I've been hooked on camp life ever since," said Robbins, 29.
Before joining the staff at North Shore, Robbins, who earned a degree in hospitality management at Central Florida University, held a variety of positions including water skiing specialist, group leader and food service director at Tyler Hill.
Now, in addition to overseeing the Glen Cove property, he helps create camp programming and leads special projects like building a new gymnastics center.
"What lights up my day the most," he said, "is seeing how much the children enjoy themselves here and knowing that my time, effort, blood, sweat and tears had something to do with that."
Felisa Myer, 46, a reading specialist for the Great Neck school district, agreed that it's "those big smiles on those tiny faces" that keep her coming back summer after summer.
"I love the children, I love making their day special," said Myer, a North Shore division leader who is in her 12th summer on staff. "I also love the people I work with and the camaraderie we share."
She shares a special relationship, however, with a young counselor-in-training — her 15-year-old daughter, Jordyn.
And her son Ian is a counselor at Timber Lake West in upstate Roscoe. "It's truly a warm and fuzzy family environment here," she said.
NAME: Basimah Thompson, aka “Coach B”
COMPANY: TLC Family of Camps & Inns
JOB: Athletic director for campers ages 2-1/2 to 5 at North Shore Day Camp
I’ve been working at North Shore for the last five years. Every year, in the months leading up to summer, I tell myself I’m just gonna take the summer off, but when summer rolls around, I never do.
The truth is, I can’t stay away because I love it. Plus, I would hate to leave the kids hanging. They always look so excited to see me.
There are about 400 children in my program and, boy, do we have fun! We play all types of games, water games, catch-your-flag games, relay races and all types of sports, too. Tennis, softball, soccer, basketball, you name it.
For me, it’s a special time of year because I get to relive my childhood again. I get to be a big kid. I’m right there with them. I jump in the game. Most of the time it doesn’t even feel like work.
FUN FACT: I like to sleep with a teddy bear. I have a small collection of them. My husband gave me the first one for Valentine’s Day when we were dating, and now he knows to always get me one on special occasions. No one really knows this about me, but oh well, I guess the teddy bear’s out of the bag now.
Above All Store Fronts Inc. (construction) “I love my job because our boss is on the same level as us and not feeling like you are beneath him in any way.”
Acutis Diagnostics Inc. (medical tests) “The results that we give to our clients and patients sometimes can be life-changing. I love the fact that I feel as if I’m helping make a difference in the world.”
Allegiant Health (drugmaker) “My boss is my mentor and has helped me grow beyond my expectations.”
Allure Home Improvements “I get to create people’s visions right in front of them in their own homes.”
American Advisors Group (reverse mortgages) “I am able to assist seniors living a better life during retirement.”
American Portfolios Financial Services Inc. (broker/dealer) “I have the freedom to make decisions without someone standing over me. The company puts employees first and I’m not just a Social Security number.”
Appliance World (retailing) “I enjoy the camaraderie and getting to help people pick the product that meets their individual needs.”
AUSCO Inc. (components manufacturing) “My work is important to the aerospace industry and therefore to everyone who flies.”
Blue Ocean Wealth Solutions (insurance) “I love my job because it allows me to work in a spacious, beautiful office with a diversity of people from so many different areas of the world.”
Campolo, Middleton & McCormick, LLP (attorneys) “My manager encourages my ideas and listens to me when I disagree or have another opinion. In past jobs, I felt like my opinion didn’t make a difference.”
ClearVision Optical (eye care) “I am given the opportunity to speak my mind and I feel comfortable saying when I disagree with someone or something. It lends itself to better discussions where everyone can take something out of it.”
Constellation Home Care “I feel that I help the people in the community establish the proper support necessary when transitioning back to the community from rehab or the hospital during recovery.”
Contemporary Computer Services Inc. (IT solutions) “I feel I am working with professionals that I can learn from. They will push me to take on new and challenging opportunities.”
DUKAL Corp. (medical devices) “I am given the ability to effect change and promote the healthy lives of patients through the products that we manufacture.”
Frankel Loughran Starr & Vallone, LLP (tax consultants) “I’m able to learn more and more about the accounting field each day.”
Janover LLC (accountants) “There were many significant health issues for employees or their loved ones during the most stressful time of our year, but we didn’t miss a beat as everyone stepped up to share the load!”
Lewis Johs Avallone Aviles LLP (attorneys) “My manager does a fantastic job of reassuring everyone that they are doing a great job. I have seen a significant drop in stress and anxiety since working here.”
L.K. McLean Associates Engineers & Surveyors, P.C. (civil engineering) “I love my job because I get involved with interesting local construction projects.”
Meadowbrook Financial Mortgage Bankers Corp. “I love my job because it is a fast-paced environment where all components of the company work together towards a common goal: closing loans.”
Mercy Haven Inc. (human and social services) “I get to help people get a place to live that they can call their own. It’s not abstract. It’s real people who now have a home because we made it happen for them.”
Nassau Financial Federal Credit Union “My branch manager and assistant branch manager are invested in helping me to grow.”
National Consumer Panel (researchers) “I like being busy and each day is a little different than the day before.”
New Vitality (vitamins and nutritional supplements) “We have lots of food, special events and fun things that we do to get us all together and learn about each other.”
Nixon Peabody LLC (attorneys) “Working in a law firm can be stressful at times but at Nixon the environment is great. Everyone walks around with a smile.”
Picciano & Scahill, P.C. (attorneys) “In the almost 16 years that I have been here, I have garnered respect and admiration from my fellow workers and attorneys. I have never worked any other place that makes me feel so necessary.”
Prepaid Ventures Ltd. (financial technology) “I get to come to a place where people actually respect my opinion and thoughts as a woman.”
P.W. Grosser Consulting (environmental engineering) “I have the opportunity to put my best skills to the test to help the environment and create a more sustainable future.”
RES Company Inc. (long-term care and mental health services) “I love the clients that we work with and helping them regain their independence in the community.”
Reverse Mortgage Funding LLC “The company truly cares about helping seniors to live comfortably and stay in their own homes.”
SUNation Solar Systems (energy) “We are cultivating change and doing what is best for the environment.”
SupplyHouse.com (retailer of hardware and building materials) “I have been given every opportunity to better myself within the company and they’ve supported me through many life decisions during my time here.”
The Engel Berman Group (commercial real estate developer) “I love my job because it allows me to grow to the next level of construction and change the landscape of the area that I am working on.”
The Patchogue-Medford Library “I am part of an organization that is committed to helping people become more empowered and educated.”
truMedic (medical devices) “I love my job because I’ve been promoted twice in the two years that I’ve been here.”
United Northern Mortgage Bankers Ltd. “I love my job because I help others to achieve the dream of homeownership.”
United States Luggage Company LLC (wholesale distributor) “The owner is very approachable and shows sincere concern for the staff and sharing information and sharing the success we have. He even cooks for us at the company BBQ every summer.”
Youth Enrichment Services (education and social services) “I get to work with students after school with projects and ideas that they want.”
|Rank||Employer||Founded||Ownership||Sector||HeadquartersCity||HQ State||LI Locations||LI Employees|
|1||National Business Capital & Services||2007||Private||Business financing services||Bohemia||NY||82||85|
|2||LI Power Solutions||2009||Private||Alternative/renewable energy||Ronkonkoma||NY||1||58|
|3||TLC Family of Camps & Inns||1992||Parent company||Summer camps||Glen Cove||NY||3||52|
|4||Appliance World||1992||Private||Appliance retailer||Huntington||NY||2||59|
|5||Blue Ocean Wealth Solutions, a MassMutual Firm||1851||Cooperative/Mutual||General insurance||East Hills||NY||1||130|
|7||Allegiant Health||1995||Private||Pharmaceuticals||Deer Park||NY||2||135|
|8||Louis K McLean Associates Engineers & Surveyors, PC||1950||Private||Civil engineering||Brookhaven||NY||2||87|
|9||P.W. Grosser Consulting||1990||Private||Environmental engineering||Bohemia||NY||1||52|
|10||United Northern Mortgage Bankers Limited||1979||Private||Mortgage lending||Levittown||NY||1||114|
|12||Reverse Mortgage Funding LLC||2012||Private||Reverse mortgage services||Bloomfield||NJ||1||65|
|13||Constellation Home Care||2014||Private||Health care||Syosset||NY||1||144|
|14||Nixon Peabody LLP||1875||Partnership||Law||Boston||MA||1||64|
|15||Mercy Haven, Inc.||1985||Non-profit||Human and social services||Islip Terrace||NY||5||77|
|16||American Portfolios Financial Services Inc.||2001||Private||Broker/dealer||Holbrook||NY||1||104|
|17||DUKAL Corp.||1991||Private||Medical devices & products||Ronkonkoma||NY||1||54|
|18||United States Luggage Co.||1940||Private||Wholesale distributor||Hauppauge||NY||1||66|
|19||Lewis Johs Avallone Aviles, LLP||1993||Private||Law||Islandia||NY||1||121|
|20||New Vitality||1993||Public||Vitamin & supplements||Edgewood||NY||1||68|
|21||SUNation Solar Systems||2003||Private||Solar/renewable energy||Ronkonkoma||NY||1||146|
|22||Picciano & Scahill, P.C.||1992||Private||Law||Bethpage||NY||1||125|
|23||Meadowbrook Financial Mortgage Bankers Corp.||2010||Private||Mortgage lending||Westbury||NY||2||146|
|24||RES Co.||2000||Private||Serves survivors of traumatic brain injury||Bohemia||NY||1||53|
|25||Alure Home Improvements||1946||Private||Construction/remodeling||Commack||NY||2||83|
|26||Prepaid Ventures, Ltd.||2007||Private||Financial technology||New Hyde Park||NY||1||52|
|27||Engel Burman||1997||Private||Development||Garden City||NY||3||100|
|29||Patchogue Medford Library||1975||Government||Library||Patchogue||NY||1||113|
|30||American Advisors Group||2004||Private||Mortgage||Orange||CA||1||91|
|31||ClearVision Optical||1949||Private||Optical wholesale||Hauppauge||NY||1||139|
|32||Campolo, Middleton, & McCormick LLP||2008||Partnership||Law||Ronkonkoma||NY||3||50|
|33||Youth Enrichment Services||1987||Non-profit||Human and social services||West Islip||NY||1||95|
|34||Acutis Diagnostics||2016||Private||Diagnostics, imaging & laboratories||East Northport||NY||1||86|
|35||Contemporary Computer Services Inc||1974||Private||Information technology||Bohemia||NY||1||74|
|36||National Consumer Panel||2010||Partnership||Data analysis & research||Syosset||NY||1||61|
|37||Above All Store Fronts, Inc.||1993||Private||Construction||Hauppauge||NY||1||135|
|38||Nassau Financial Federal Credit Union||1936||Non-profit||Credit union||Westbury||NY||6||64|
|39||Janover LLC||1938||Partnership||Certified public accountants||Garden City||NY||1||83|
|40||Frankel Loughran Starr & Vallone LLP||1995||Partnership||Tax consulting||Garden City||NY||1||83|
Companies that employees scored highest in each category
Bethpage Federal Credit Union
LI Power Solutions
Direction Power Home Remodeling Group
Managers Family Service League
New ideas TLC Family of Camps & Inns
Doers National Business Capital & Services
Meaningfulness Blue Ocean Wealth Solutions, a MassMutual Firm
Clued in senior management Dental365
Communication Signature Premier Properties
Appreciation Dominican Village
Work/life flexibility North Atlantic Industries
Training Piping Rock Health Products
Benefits P.W. Grosser Consulting
Find a top workplace
No matter where you are on LI, there’s a top workplace near you
This year's Long Island winners were chosen based on survey responses from nearly 17,000 employees on questions about how engaged they are with their jobs and their employer's business and mission.
How does a company make the Top Workplaces list? By inspiring employees.
“Top Workplaces put the employee at the center of things, and focus on creating the right environment to unleash potential and inspire performance,” said Doug Claffey, founder of Energage, Newsday’s research partner for Top Workplaces.
This is the second year Newsday has partnered with Exton, Pennsylvania-based Energage to determine Long Island’s Top Workplaces. The results are based solely on a scientific employee survey process.
Starting in February, Newsday welcomed anyone to nominate companies as Top Workplaces. Energage also reached out to companies. In all, 1,444 employers in the area were invited to take part in the process. Any employer was eligible, as long as it had at least 50 employees in Suffolk and Nassau counties. Employers could be public, private, nonprofit, or governmental. There is no cost to enter the Top Workplaces program.
For this year, 117 employers agreed to take the survey. Combined, they employ 45,029 people on Long Island. Of those employees who received questionnaires, 16,820 responded, either on paper or online. For this year’s winners list, 80 Long Island employers earned recognition as Top Workplaces based on the employee feedback.
The employee engagement survey of 24 questions gathers responses regarding issues relating to workplace culture:
- Alignment – where the company is headed, its values, cooperation
- Connection – employees feel appreciated, their work is meaningful
- Effectiveness – doing things efficiently and well, sharing different viewpoints, encouraging new ideas
- My Manager – cares about concerns, helps employees develop
- Engagement – motivation, retention and recruiting
- Leadership – confidence in company leaders
- The Basics – pay, benefits, flexibility, training, expectations
Employees consistently rate issues of “Connection” and “Alignment” most important to them, while statements related to pay and benefits rate less important.
Employers are ranked among groups of similar size to most accurately compare results. Within those size groupings, companies are ranked, and those that score high enough are recognized as Top Workplaces. Energage also determines special award winners based on standout scores on specific survey topics.
If you wonder why a particular company is not on the list, it might be because it chose not to participate in the survey, or because it did not score well enough in the survey process. Sometimes, Energage disqualifies employers based on questionable results detected through statistical tests it runs to ensure organizations are accurately administering the survey.
While 60 percent of employees nationwide said they had "not considered searching for a better job in the past month," 62.6 percent of Long Island workers in the 2019 survey by Energage said job hunting was not on their agenda.
Long Island workers are less likely to be seeking a new job than employees nationwide despite their continued dismay about wages and benefits, according to a survey of employees at 117 local companies by Energage.
While 60 percent of employees nationwide said they had "not considered searching for a better job in the past month," 62.6 percent of Long Island workers in the 2019 survey said job hunting was not on their agenda.
That represented a reversal from 2018, when Long Islanders said they were more likely to at least think about job hunting than respondents on a national level, said Bob Helbig, media partnerships director at Exton, Pennsylvania-based Energage, Newsday's Top Workplaces partner.
That deeper job attachment came despite less satisfaction with pay and benefits than workers nationwide.
While 60.8 percent of workers around the country judged their pay to be fair in 2019, only 54.5 percent of Long Island workers took that position.
The same held true for benefits, where 58.3 percent of workers nationwide deemed their benefits package to be comparatively good, 7.7 percentage points higher than the 50.6 percent of Long Islanders who agreed with that statement.
"Perception is reality," Helbig said, noting that Long Island workers' negative perceptions about pay and benefits could impact their job performance.
"There's no doubt that people [on Long Island] are far less positive about pay and benefits than people nationwide," he said.
Helbig said the disconnect between job loyalty and perception of pay and benefits is not a complete anomaly.
"People may look at those as an odd juxtaposition," he said. "People consistently tell us that they're less positive about pay and benefits than virtually any other factor." Helbig said that could be related to Long Island's high cost of living.
At the same time, respondents say pay and benefits are less important than virtually any other factor, he said.
Aside from the compensation issues, the 2019 survey found increased optimism among workers.
Long Island workers in 2019 were more positive about nearly all workplace issues than in the previous year.
Out of 24 questions posed, the sole question to see a more negative response than in 2018 was the query about how the company's benefits stacked up. In 2019, 50.6 percent of respondents said their benefits package was comparatively good, versus 51.7 percent the previous year.
Though Long Islanders were less positive about pay than workers nationwide, the 54.5 percent who deemed their pay to be fair in the 2019 survey was an increase from 51.3 percent in 2018.
The question with the biggest year-over-year change involved company meetings.
When Long Islanders were asked whether their company's meetings "make good use of my time," 64.2 percent gave a positive response, up from 58.4 percent the previous year.
The region's workers also showed increased positivity about their bosses. Sixty-nine percent agreed that senior managers "understand what is really happening at this company." That compares with 63.4 percent in 2018.
Jennifer Takacs-O'Shea, president of Caterpillar Career Consultants, an executive recruiting and career coaching firm in Calverton, said companies seeking to attract and retain talent should consider employee appreciation programs.
"An employee appreciation program ... might be that warm-and-fuzzy that someone will remember 10 years later," she said. "Little things can change people's perception."
One surveyed company that made the Top Workplaces list, East Northport-based Acutis Diagnostics, cited breakfasts with the CEO, bowling nights and themed events like Leisure Suit Day, Luau Beach Day and Crazy Socks Day as ways it furthers team building.
Acutis also has formed a partnership with Shatterproof, a nonprofit that works with parents to prevent addiction, find effective treatments and press for federal and state policy changes.
When Energage solicited comments, one Acutis employee expressed love for the job because "I work with high-performance, high-ethics, high-energy professionals who genuinely care about me."
Another employee said: "Upper management supports everything needed to be a successful company. Employees are engaged and care about the future of the company."
To connect with employees, "good communication is always a win," said Takacs-O'Shea, "and staying consistent with messaging and with messaging frequency offers the organization a sense of unity."
Offering competitive compensation and benefits is important, she said, but recognizing the efforts of employees "may cost the bottom line little more than a doughnut and a personalized notecard."
Energage surveyed 16,820 Long Island employees at participating companies using a score ranging from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree." The survey was not designed as a scientifically valid poll, where a sampling of respondents represents a broader population within a specified margin of error.
Local companies on Newsday's Top Workplaces list said it's worth holding out for the right hires, even in a tight labor market.
Employers looking to create an engaged workforce should never rush the hiring process, workplace experts and local company executives said.
The advice may seem counterintuitive given Long Island's tight labor market. The region's September unemployment rate stood at 3.4%, considered full employment, and companies have long struggled to fill some jobs.
But executives at firms that made Newsday’s list of Top Workplaces said a more deliberate hiring process — one that views an applicant’s skills and experience as starting, rather than ending points — has helped them find skilled workers who stick around. A key consideration, they said, is whether the company and a prospective employee are a good fit “culturally.”
And just as companies are checking out job applicants, job seekers are checking out companies looking for the right fit, too, experts said.
Gone are the days when an employer’s job offer based solely on an applicant's skills was enough to reel in and keep talented employees. Millennials, now the largest group in the workforce, want a workplace that not only values their skills, but also shares their values.
“The modern workforce knows what’s important to them and isn’t going to settle,” according to the 2017 State of the American Workplace report, published by Gallup, the Washington, D.C., polling and management-consulting company. “Employees are willing to look and keep looking for a company [whose] mission and culture reflect and reinforce their values.”
And look they do.
“With the talent shortages that we have now, job seekers have lots of choices, and they are looking and researching companies like never before,” said Tony Lee, a vice president who specializes in talent-acquisition efforts at the Society for Human Resource Management, an Alexandria, Virginia-based trade group. “So companies have to be pretty transparent about who they are.”
That means putting their culture — the firm's beliefs and habits — on display at all times, in everything from job boards to job interviews, said Ben Wigert, Gallup's director of research and strategy/workplace management.
“When you want to play the long game, you want to hire someone who is a good fit for the job and the culture, and be willing to train them," if the job requires easily acquired skills, Wigert said.
It’s a tall order in the tightest labor market in a generation, here and nationwide, which has left employers scrambling to find top talent.
“One out of every six occupations on Long Island had more job openings than active job seekers registered through the New York State Department of Labor” based on August data, said Shital Patel, principal economist in the department’s Hicksville office. “These occupations range from entry-level positions to highly skilled positions that require advanced degrees across almost every industry.”
Still, local companies said it's worth holding out for hires that are the right fit.
“We typically use panel interviews so that we get multiple impressions and come to a consensus as to whether a candidate is a strong fit for the role and our culture,” said Beth Bledsoe, vice president of human resources and chief people officer at MSC Industrial Supply Co., a Melville and Davidson, North Carolina-based distributor of industrial tools and supplies. “Interview questions often relate to how the candidate would go about performing the role or handling a certain scenario or situation.”
The Uniondale law firm Farrell Fritz tries to ensure that candidates are a good fit in a culture that values teamwork and innovation, said managing partner Robert Creighton.
“Mutual respect, openness to ideas, a willingness to listen, to help, and compassion are integral to who we are as a firm,” he said.
He said Farrell Fritz has a culture of entrepreneurship among its attorneys, which pays off for them and the firm.
“Any number of our attorneys have developed niche practices, where they have distinguished themselves as leaders,” he said. “This translates to a healthier bottom line, as clients and other professional-service providers seek our expertise.”
North Atlantic Industries Inc., a Bohemia company that designs and manufactures electronics for the aerospace, military and industrial sectors, places a high premium on skilled applicants who can demonstrate that they are problem solvers and team players, said chief executive Bill Forman.
“Candidates who demonstrate an ability and desire to solve technically challenging problems will feel at home at NAI,” he said. “Our employees are empowered to voice their ideas and views to any other employee, including the CEO.”
Ellen Barrett, human resources director at Lessing’s Hospitality Group in Great River, said she uses a wide-ranging conversational approach in job interviews to determine a cultural fit for the firm, which has restaurant, catering, food service and franchise divisions.
Barrett passed on one management candidate about a year ago who she said didn’t demonstrate teamwork.
“Especially in a management position, we are looking for someone who is going to roll up their sleeves, and [who feels] they are not above anything," she said. "That is how you gain the respect of your employees.”
“Have trust in your staff and be someone who staff members can trust,” says Joseph Milillo, chief executive of Ronkonkoma-based Long Island Power Solutions.
The skills and communication styles of top decision-makers can make the difference between a workplace that keeps employees engaged and one that fails to attract and keep talented workers.
Vision, trust and the ability to absorb feedback and implement employee ideas are all qualities that employees at some of Long Island’s Top Workplaces said their leaders exhibited. It’s those qualities that workers said give them confidence in their company’s leadership.
Based on Energage’s 2019 Top Workplaces survey for Newsday, the three Long Island leaders who inspired the most confidence in their employees were:
Wayne Grossé, president and chief executive of Bethpage Federal Credit Union, in the large-company category
Joseph K. Posillico, president and chief executive of Farmingdale-based Posillico Inc., in the mid-sized company category
Joseph Milillo, chief executive of Ronkonkoma-based Long Island Power Solutions, in the small company category.
What qualities do you think are vital for a successful business leader?
Empathy and good communications skills. You need to be approachable and get information from all levels. A lot of places, when they’re looking for solutions, they just listen to the executive team. We don’t do that. We do a lot of focus groups internally, and most of the input we get makes a difference.
You have to have a clear vision of where you want to bring your organization and you have to be able to communicate that and get people to buy into that. The other aspect is to be opened-minded, listen to people and don’t just do things because it’s “my idea.” No one wants to do something because they’re told to do something they want to do something because they think it’s the right thing to do.
Have trust in your staff and be someone who staff members can trust. Have self-confidence and inspire it in others. Be knowledgeable. If your business revolves around sales, you need to know your product front and back. And lastly, the ability to recognize and foster talent is key. It’s the best way to create a pleasant and efficient work environment where people feel empowered and motivated.
Has your approach to leadership changed over the years?
It hasn’t changed much. I’ve been in management since I was 23, and I got it early on, and understood how to deal with people. I got lucky. It’s a very simple approach: Focus on people. I’m approachable, I do a lot of reaching out, walking around and talking to people.
The biggest thing I had to learn to do was to delegate more. I was the type of guy that felt like I had to do everything myself. Sometimes I wouldn’t have as much trust in some of the people underneath me to do what I needed done. That just took time to bring the right people in that I had the confidence in.
In the early stages of the business, my management style was a lot more hands-on. I was doing more of what I call “managing of the jobs.” I was doing most of the work myself. Now, I’m at a place where I’ve moved from managing the jobs and having to do every step myself to overseeing the processes and managing the people doing them — my team.
What are the most challenging aspects of leading a business?
It’s the messaging, to ensure that everyone understands the purpose, and ours is enriching lives. It’s not just about product orientation, rates and service. A teller can help cheer someone up when they’re having a bad day. We experiment, we do a lot of surveys and we make sure people are getting the right message.
Being able to continue to be successful in an extremely competitive business. You’ve got to have a lot of self-discipline to not chase jobs because you need the work. On the other hand, you’ve got to make sure that you’re getting the right type of work and keep getting work to keep your people employed.
Making sure every part of it runs smoothly. If one part of the chain or one part of the process is off, it can delay our entire schedule as a company and set back our timetables as to when jobs are supposed to be completed. This is most challenging during times of growth.
Perks don't have to be expensive to make workers feel valued, experts say.
Some large companies can afford to shower employees with expensive perks, from free unlimited food options to onsite laundry and dry cleaning services.
Smaller companies, not so much.
But that doesn’t necessarily put them at a disadvantage, because even inexpensive perks can be great motivators if they make employees feel valued, say experts.
“It’s not so much about the dollar investment in your employee perks and recognition strategy,” says Jonathan Burg, senior vice president of marketing at Reward Gateway, a Boston-based employee engagement platform. “It’s more about listening to your people to understand what will make an impact for them.”
The key is aligning company perks “with an overall strategy to create an environment where employees feel valued, recognized and respected for their work,” he says.
A recent survey by Reward Gateway found that 75% of U.S. employees agreed that motivation and morale would improve at their companies if managers simply said thank you more and noticed when people did good work.
“We believe it’s the actual act of recognition that makes the impact, and that essentially could be free,” says Burg.
But if you're looking to recognize employees with perks, there are many free or inexpensive options, such as giving a reserved parking spot for a month or offering a monopoly “go home early” card, both on Reward Gateway’s list of 38 inexpensive perks (see tinyurl.com/y3bueckb).
Locally, employers that made Newsday's Top Long Island Workplaces list said they use many methods to engage and reward staff that don't break the bank.
At SUNation Solar Systems in Ronkonkoma, employees are not only allowed to bring their pets to work when needed, but are also enlisted to help care for litters of puppies delivered by pregnant rescue dogs, thanks to CEO Scott Maskin's commitment to helping the nonprofit Southampton-based Last Chance Animal Rescue.
Since 2015, Maskin has cared for more than a dozen litters with an average of 6 pups each. The puppies are brought to the office at about four weeks, and the staff helps care for them until they are ready to be adopted.
“It’s a great break in the day,” says Maskin.
Other perks include a parking spot next to Maskin's for an employee of the month; themed dress-up days (ie., wear your favorite t-shirt); rotating half-hour, one-on-one chats with Maskin; and a "wall of fun" of photos from events employees have participated in, gatherings and inspirational words.
“It’s really nice to work for a company that gives so much back to you,” says Victoria Walker, town liaison for the firm, who enjoys many of these perks including occasionally bringing in her dog, which she adopted after caring for it at the firm. “It makes you want to give so much back to them.”
Ronkonkoma-based law firm Campolo, Middleton & McCormick promotes engagement by offering weekly training sessions where staff members train other employees in different areas; a mentoring program in which associates are mentored by partners; and a monthly development meeting for associates where they meet with managing partner Joe Campolo, says director of communications Lauren Kanter-Lawrence.
“A lot of suggestions and programs have come out of that meeting,” she says.
A "culture committee" also brainstorms about programming and events that would be motivating and engaging, including monthly themed luncheons and ice cream socials. In addition, the firm has a charitable arm, CMM Cares, through which employees can get involved in volunteer programs, says Kanter-Lawrence.
Similarly, Janover LLC, a Garden City-based CPA firm, has a mentoring program for new hires and a charitable giving committee that looks for charitable activities and fundraising opportunities. In addition, senior staff members act as volunteer career coaches to help other employees with their career paths and job performance, says Jennifer Yan, senior manager of human resources.
Janover also offers a summer Fridays perk, when the office closes at 1 p.m.; employees may also choose to work remotely that day. A wellness committee brings in speakers from Northwell Health and distributes a monthly newsletter, Yan says.
Beyond these types of incentives, allowing flexible scheduling can also be a great perk, says Myron Harmon, director of human resources at Dale Carnegie & Associates in Melville. It just requires making sure you have coverage for that function, he says.
In addition, giving employees an opportunity to provide feedback costs nothing but goes far.
At Dale Carnegie, employees quarterly are asked their opinions on various business issues via a survey they respond to in real time on their smartphones or computer screens.
“It’s all about communication,” says Harmon. “Engagement is about being able to interact with employees so they feel part of the organization.”
A letter from
Long Islanders are passionate about the place they call home, the place they have chosen to live and build a family — and they are passionate about the place they have chosen to work.
For the second year in a row, Newsday has partnered with Energage, an employee research and culture technology firm, to determine Long Island’s 2019 Top Workplaces. This recognition, open to all employers on Long Island (public, private, nonprofit or governmental) with at least 50 employees, is solely based on anonymous employee survey feedback. The survey takes a deep dive into employee engagement, measuring whether employees feel aligned with their company’s mission and leadership.
Some of the companies are well known, many are not. You’ll hear words like appreciated, empowered and valued. You’ll get a better understanding of how employees relate to their work and how management motivates them to work toward their highest potential.
As we prepared to move into our new workplace, we thought a lot about the things we heard in last year’s section; words like values, culture and direction – and we’ve been inspired. At Newsday we remain fully committed to telling the story of Long Island. Our own new workplace is an investment into our future and allows us to fully focus on serving Long Islanders. All these workplaces are a very big part of that future as well. They’ve built impressive, award-winning organizations and are leading the way for the entire business community.
So, from all of us at Newsday, congratulations to Long Island’s 2019 Top Workplaces winners; and come spring, we look forward to welcoming you to our new place for a visit!
How is your workplace
culture being influenced by technology?
Energage CEO Doug Claffey shares his insights on the beneficial role technology can play in helping employees not only perform their jobs better but interact with one another as well.
Technology is influencing the culture of your workplace. The question is, will it create intended positive results or sidetrack the organization’s mission?
Powerful tools are giving leaders deeper understanding of their organization’s culture and work dynamics. They also provide a way to get ahead of issues that could handicap success.
We see this as an emerging field of “culture technology,” a multidisciplinary, science-based approach to improve workplace culture. It seeks to help everyone — from senior leaders to rookie employees — collaborate to build an intentional and purposeful culture.
We have seen Top Workplaces solicit feedback and drive meaningful dialogue with employees in a way that builds trust and makes employees feel heard. For example, companies are using short pulse questions in between annual surveys to track progress throughout the year.
Others have set up anonymous channels where employees can provide feedback in a safe way. One medical records digitization company used anonymous employee feedback to address barriers to growth. Over the last four years, it expanded from 400 to over 1000 employees without losing sight of its culture.
Leaders of Top Workplaces know culture is the foundation of success, and they know how to use technology to create a better work environment. The challenge is looking past the obvious role of technology — efficiency and speed – and understanding how to engage the human spirit.
The new confluence of disciplines has the potential to substantially improve the key relationships that make up our work experience, from a person’s relationship with their work, their manager, colleagues — and the organization itself.
This requires going beyond traditional internal communications efforts such as town halls, executive videocasts, or instant messaging group chats. Rather, it involves setting up communication channels employees can use to collaborate, build community, recognize one another, and provide candid feedback without fear of repercussion or exposure.
In the big picture, we know technology is a huge point of discussion and debate, from privacy issues to security issues. Still, too many of us are chained to our email and instant messaging channels.
We're getting a higher quality of life in the micro-instant, but in the broader sense, it’s not clear what we’re getting accomplished, certainly in terms of work. The amount of time we spend communicating and the amount of time we spend working influences productivity, which is not demonstrably going up.
Developing quality channels of communication in the workplace focuses on aligning and connecting. Culture technology can provide a level of insight into your culture and shape how to make it better.
When done right, technology brings people together. And that’s important, because alignment is a key pillar for any high-performing organization. But when done wrong, technology polarizes people.
So, how do you use technology for good in the workplace? Start with an approach that celebrates the positive aspects of your culture, and build real connections based on trust and appreciation. Constructively channel negative emotions that inevitably arise, and educate senior leaders to accept and act on the feedback.
If we are intentional about how technology impacts our culture, we can create more productive workplaces, truly aligned teams, stronger connections, a better coaching environment, better effectiveness. Think about how technology is going to impact your culture. Focus on a Top Workplace culture as an outcome. That’s the best use of technology, and it drives better business results.
Doug Claffey is founder of Energage, a culture technology firm that specializes in employee engagement and workplace improvement research.