Best Places to Work 2012

Our exclusive survey reveals the top twenty companies in Madison

(page 3 of 3)


Here’s how the winning companies’ employees (in the anonymous survey) described their workplaces

Keller Williams Realty
(#3, Over 100 Employees)

At the Madison location of this international real estate franchise company, employees participate in a profit-sharing program.

“We are very unusual for a real estate company in that we share profits and therefore the performance of the whole company matters to each of us. [It] creates a culture of sharing in an otherwise very competitive sales environment.”

First Choice Dental  
(#4, Over 100 Employees)

With ten offices in Madison and beyond, this dental practice (a Best Place to Work in 2006) attracts loyal patients—and employees.

“I think the reason that so many people stay with First Choice Dental for so long is due to the appreciation from the company and the recognition given. I have never felt so appreciated in the workplace and so heard by my management and team.”

The QTI Group
 (#5, Over 100 Employees)

A “full-service” human resources provider, this company provides staffing, consulting and more, and helps its own staff engage in the broader community.

“Our management team encourages us to think about our professional development at work as well as our personal development in the community. They encourage QTI employees to volunteer and join boards throughout the community.

Steve Brown Apartments
(#6, Over 100 Employees)

The staff of this thirty-year-old company is hard-working and compassionate toward its tenants and each other. They were a Best Place to Work in 2008.

“We have ‘Caught Doing Something Good’ awards for going the extra mile for our residents, helping out fellow employees or for just taking care of something that others walk by or ignore.”

Madison Mallards Baseball Club
(#7, Over 100 Employees)

This company of more than 150 employees works and plays hard, hosting collegiate Northwoods League games at the “Duck Pond” on the city’s north side. 

“I have never seen a more customer-focused organization in my life. Our place of work is a fun place. It is a great feeling knowing your customers enjoyed their time at the ballpark.”

Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP
(#8, Over 100 Employees)

The work of this accounting and advisory firm—with eleven branches, including one in Madison—extends to 120 countries. Yet it excels in keeping its staff informed.

“Our leadership makes a point to explain decisions and keep us updated on the overall status of the company.”

M3 Insurance Solutions, Inc.
(#9, Over 100 Employees)

The state’s largest privately held commercial insurance agency, founded in 1968, offers great benefits for employees. M3 was also named a Best Place to Work in 2010.

“For a company of less than two hundred employees we have seven people dedicated to development of our staff. I think this shows a great committment.”

Loren Imhoff Homebuilder, Inc.  
(#2, Under 100 Employees)

Loren Imhoff began his career as a home builder in 1983 and has grown his company into a community-minded organization and frequent Parade of Homes participant.

“Loren leads by example. He makes sure we have the proper skills, tools, etc., and then steps back. He allows us to make
mistakes and learn from them.”

Pilch & Barnet
(#3, Under 100 Employees)

This dynamic “destination marketing” agency has developed campaigns for more than 100 communities and organizations.

“We are located downtown, right on State Street. It is the epicenter of Madison life and we are encouraged to take advantage of it.”

Harvest Restaurant, LLC
(#4, Under 100 Employees, #1 Diversity)

Owner Tami Lax has grown this popular downtown restaurant into a leader in using sustainable, local ingredients, and she offers generous, delicious rewards to her staff.

“The communication lines are always open and welcome at Harvest, making it possible to discuss strengths and weaknesses, and further developing the skills to succeed.”

Madison NO FEAR Dentistry
(#8, Under 100 Employees)

Located on the city’s west side, this dental practice is dedicated to creating worry-free experiences for its patients.

“We have daily communication and feedback in a fifteen-minute morning huddle. We can see very quickly how our actions and behaviors impact our clients. This is led and supported by our management.”

Strategic Brand Marketing, LLC
(#10, Under 100 Employees)

The motto of this marketing firm is “Mindshare equals Marketshare,” and its team is known for unique campaigns.

“We work together as a team, and everybody’s input is respected. It makes it easy to work for a company that truly cares about their clients at a time when customer service is lacking.”


What Matters Most

(Hint: It’s Not About the Money)

A summary of all survey responses from the twenty winners provides a Madison Best Places to Work scorecard on the six areas of engagement. Employees rated their employers best at Connection and the others as follows:

1. Connection (92.6%)
2. Trust (92.0%)
3. Management (91.2%)
4. Life-Work Balance (90.1%)
5. Development (86.8%)
6. Rewards (81.2%)

When employees were asked to rank the level of importance of each area of engagement, Life-Work Balance was voted the No. 1 driver of engagement and the others as follows:

1. Life-Work Balance (71.9%)
2. Trust (60.2%)
3. Connection (58.3%)
4. Development (40.0%)
5. Rewards (36.7%)
6. Management (29.6%)


How We Ranked Our Winners

Madison Magazine and WISC-TV3’s Best Places to Work is based on an employee-engagement framework developed by Next Generation Consulting. A total of sixty-five organizations qualified for the award by submitting a sustainability and diversity survey and achieving fifty percent or greater staff
participation on the employee engagement survey. Employees were asked to rate their employer in a forty-question, web-based survey that measures
companies in these six “areas of engagement”:

1) Trust
Working in an environment where information is shared and people act with integrity and respect

2) Management
Working with supervisors and managers who lead, guide and give feedback to individuals and teams

3) Development
Having opportunities to learn and grow

4) Rewards
Being compensated and appreciated according to one’s performance and contribution to an organization

5) Connection
Feeling a part of something bigger; working for more than just a paycheck

6) Life-Work Balance
Having flexibility to pursue their career and a life outside of work

The winning companies for 2012 were chosen because they ranked the highest in all six dimensions of employee engagement.


Maggie Ginsberg-Schutz is a Madison-area writer.

Read about the 2010 and 2008 Best Places to Work.

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