A benefits package that includes a 100 percent employer match of 401(k) retirement account contributions up to 6 percent of salary helped land Ent Credit Union at the top of The Gazette’s second annual list of Best Workplaces.
Besides medical, dental and vision coverage, Ent also offers paid life insurance equaling three times the employee’s annual salary, tuition reimbursement, a generous paid-time-off schedule and one paid day off per quarter for time spent volunteering. Ent got its highest marks from employees for its benefit package in employee surveys they completed as part of the Best Workplaces program.
Ent, southern Colorado’s largest financial institution, ranked as the best extra-large employer with 300 or more employees, while Springs-based homebuilder Classic Homes was ranked as the top large employer with 76-299 employees; engineering, architecture, environmental and construction conglomerate HDR ranked as the top midsized employer with 30-75 employees; and Cordera Family Dentistry ranked as the top small employer with 10-29 employees.
The four employers were among 12 workplaces honored with top-three finishes in their size categories and 78 honored as part of the program during a reception Wednesday at the DoubleTree by Hilton Colorado Springs hotel. Three employers ranked in the top three in their size category in 2017 and 2018 — Colorado Springs School District 11, Oakwood Homes and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.
“The region’s business sector is hot in no small part due to the presence of successful companies that are expanding,” said Dan Steever, president and publisher of The Gazette. “A common trait among great companies is their ability to attract, retain and empower employees for innovation and growth. Best Workplaces recognizes those companies that are doing this well.”
The Best Workplaces program is designed to be an annual free survey and workplace health analysis to identify companies 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, which employs about 870 people, plans to hire 200 additional employees next year as part of a plan to accelerate its expansion with nine more Front Range locations in the wake of gaining state approval this year to add six counties to its service area. Ent, which is owned by its 332,000 members, ranks as Colorado’s sixth-largest financial institution with $5.46 billion in assets, $4.53 billion in deposits and $4.42 billion in loans spread among more than 30 branches.
“We genuinely care about the well-being of our team members, from understanding their job satisfaction and professional development goals to supporting their physical and mental health,” said Matt Gendron, Ent’s chief engagement officer. “If there is a secret to our success in creating a ‘Best Workplaces’ environment, we believe it’s in the variety of ways we regularly ask for input and feedback from our employees and then act on what we’ve learned.”
Classic’s employees gave it high marks for above-average benefits and fair pay, including shutting down annually between Dec. 24 and Jan. 1 and paying employees for that time. The company, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year, builds homes in 10 Colorado Springs-area neighborhoods ranging in price from $300,000 to nearly $800,000.
“Our high hope is to exceed expectations with our internal and external customers,” Classic CEO Doug Stimple said. “You achieve that through reflecting genuine care and concern for one another. We take pride in our work; we work hard. We treat folks fairly with respect and dignity and we stress the importance of sound leadership.”
Employee-owned HDR got high marks from employees for its benefit package, the job meeting the expectations that employees had when they started and their manager making it easier to do their job well. The company benefits go well beyond standard medical, dental and vision insurance, which also include coverage for retirees. Benefits also include tuition, adoption and travel assistance.
Employee ownership “means we believe in being good corporate citizens,” said Benton Barby, marketing and business analyst for HDR’s Colorado Springs office. “It’s how we respond to our communities, which includes sustainability and being environmental stewards. How we act affects how well we perform, so the little things our employees do add up to big things.”
Employees gave Cordera Family Dentistry top scores for fair pay, formal training and keeping employees well informed about important decisions at the company. They say they are made to feel special, given responsibilities tailored to their strengths and are given the freedom to fine tune the way the office operates.
“We treat our personnel the way we treat our friends and family — with love, respect and trust,” said Dr. Kent Stilson, co-owner with Dr. Hans Egbert of Cordera Family Dentistry.
“We believe employees do their best when they are treated with respect, when they aren’t micromanaged,” Egbert said.
The Gazette sought nominations in July and, by Aug. 31, received 267 from private, public, nonprofit and government organizations in the Pikes Peak region, nearly twice as many as last year. About 140 rolled out online surveys to their workers through Sept. 7. Nearly 3,600 responses were completed by Sept. 28.
Employees were asked to answer 26 questions about organizational health, engagement and leadership plus other areas like work-life balance, training, pay, benefits and corporate social responsibility.
Employers were required to have a response rate of at least 40 percent to be honored as a best workplace. Employers with fewer than 10 workers weren’t eligible for the program.
Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234