Ent Credit Union tops the list of best Colorado Springs workplaces for the second consecutive year in the largest employers category, the only winner to repeat in the third year of The Gazette’s annual Best Workplaces program.
Ent ranked at the top of the extra large employer category for employers with 300 or more employees. Other winners were The Cutting Edge, Realtors, in the large employer category for those with 76-299 employees; Once Upon a Childcare in the midsize employer category for those with 30-76 employees; and Cause and Solution in the small employer category for those with 10-29 employees.
The four employers were among 12 workplaces honored with top-three finishes in their categories and 106 businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies honored as part of the program during a reception Thursday at the DoubleTree by Hilton Colorado Springs hotel. The 12 employers also are featured in a 44-page magazine published in today’s Gazette.
“These leading companies represent the best of our community,” said Gazette President and Publisher Chris Reen. “Not only do they operate with a clear mission, vision and strong leadership, they foster a culture that recognizes that their success starts and ends with outstanding employees.”
The Best Workplaces program is designed to be an annual free survey and workplace health analysis to identify companies, organizations and agencies that are creating strong, healthy workplace cultures. The Gazette partnered with the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce & EDC and DataJoe, a Boulder-based data collection and analysis firm, to determine the top workplaces in the Colorado Springs area.
Ent’s benefits package includes a 100% employer match of 401(k) retirement account contributions up to 6% of salary, plus medical, dental and vision coverage, paid life insurance equaling three times the employee’s annual salary, tuition reimbursement, a generous paid-time-off schedule, and a paid day off per quarter to spend volunteering. The $6 billion financial institution is the largest in southern Colorado, employs nearly 1,000 people along the Front Range and is owned by its 368,000 members.
“Employees are our greatest asset, and they’re the ones that make us and give us the face and the terrific reputation that we have today,” said Sara Holland, Ent’s senior human resources manager. “What sets us apart is that employees have valuable and rewarding work to do.”
The Cutting Edge, Realtors has more than 100 agents in Colorado Springs and Denver and brings in speakers, participates in local and national organizations and offers mentors to help it stay on the front line of real estate trends and issues. The agency is owned by Amy Kunce-Martinez, Gary Martinez, Rod Edgin and Chris Cowles, and was started 2½ years ago.
A national speaker told Kunce-Martinez that they “could feel the energy of our agents and that’s something you can’t fake. We feel like we’re a family. We work as a family and try to create a place where people are accepted for who they are.”
Once Upon a Childcare gets high marks for its 57-member quality staff, which owner Robin Sedillo said results from listening to employee suggestions, respecting their personal lives and working to accommodate schedule changes, appointments and required personal time. That philosophy results in happier, healthier employees and quality service, she said.
The biggest benefit offered by the company is “having management that truly wants you to love your working environment, that supports you both personally and professionally, respects you as an individual and encourages your creativity,” Sedillo said.
Cause and Solutions, which provides administrative support and data management services to nonprofits for fundraising, has grown to 12 employees and 35 clients by focusing on hiring employees with skills in innovative thinking and creative solutions, said Jim Bocian, the company’s co-founder and CEO.
“One of the things we’ve always aspired to do is surround ourselves with people who are way smarter than ourselves, and we develop their careers, knowing that this may be the place they are working now, but it’s giving them the opportunities to build their own skills,” Bocian said.
The Gazette sought nominations in July and August and by Aug. 25 received 344 from private, public, nonprofit and government organizations in the Pikes Peak region, up nearly 30% from last year. Two-hundred fourteen rolled out online surveys to employees by Sept. 7. Surveys had to be completed by Sept. 25.
Employees were asked to answer 25 questions about organizational health, engagement and leadership plus other areas such as work-life balance, training, pay, benefits and corporate social responsibility.
Employers were required to have a response rate of at least 40% to be honored as a best workplace. Employers with fewer than 10 employees weren’t eligible for the program.