Nominations open for Hearst Top Workplaces 2020

Photo of Dan Haar
Employees at Whip Salon of Ridgefield and Westport were among the 50 companies honored Wednesday night as Hearst Connecticut Media Top Workplaces of 2019. The event was at Waterview in Monroe.

Employees at Whip Salon of Ridgefield and Westport were among the 50 companies honored Wednesday night as Hearst Connecticut Media Top Workplaces of 2019. The event was at Waterview in Monroe.

Dan Haar/Hearst Media

What’s the biggest worry these days for people managing companies, nonprofits and even government agencies? Chances are, it’s finding workers — ones who care about what they’re doing and who’s paying them.

That’s the result of the record low jobless rate we’re seeing in 2020, well under 4 percent, the range where employees gain the upper hand in the job market. So if your employer is looking for people — or maybe you’re the owner — one of the most effective claims you can make is that you’re a Top Workplace.

That means the Hearst Connecticut Media Top Workplaces awards. And 2020 isn’t just another year for the contest sponsored by all of the Hearst newspapers, it’s the 10th year we’ve held the awards.

Click here to see the 2019 winners and awards dinner

Back in 2011, when we started Top Workplaces, we were barely out of the recession in Connecticut and companies needed an edge in the market. Laying claim as a Top Workplaces winner mattered in a different way, but it mattered.

Now it’s even more crucial. Nominations are open for the 2020 competition. We’re looking to honor the best places to work — whether they’re privately owned companies, publicly traded corporations, subsidiaries, partnerships, nonprofits or government agencies. A company need not have its headquarters here to compete.

The contest is open to any employer with 35 or more people in Fairfield, New Haven and Litchfield counties. Recognition is given for small, midsize and large organizations, and the contest also rewards the best executives. Don’t wait, nominations close Friday, March 13.

Last year, Hearst Connecticut Media honored 50 employers from across the region. It’s based on employee surveys and the cost to compete — and win — is zero.

Last year’s highest award winners were: In the large employer category for companies with at least 400 people in the three counties, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties came in as No. 1, for the second year in a row. Among midsize employers with 125 to 399 local employees, United Rentals Inc., a global company based in Stamford, was the top finisher.

In the small employer category, The Southfield Center for Development, a behavioral health care provider for children and teenagers in Darien and Wilton, won first place, among 33 companies on the Top Workplaces list.

Three awards went to top-ranked leaders. They were Christopher Bogart, founder and executive director of The Southfield Center; Mark Curtis, founder and CEO of Splash Car Wash; and, at O&G Industries in Torrington, a trio of third-generation family members that run the giant construction firm: David Oneglia, Raymond Oneglia Jr. and Greg Oneglia.

Watch this animated video about how Top Workplaces works.

Ask any of these winners, or any past winners, whether their Top Workplaces designation matters. Ask David Lewis, CEO of OperationsInc, the human resources outsourcing firm and a 7-time winner. He knows the business. Or ask the creative folks at Basement Systems Inc., who have joined the list five times.

Only one company, ICON International Inc., the corporate barter firm, has made the winners list all nine years. We can only hope they celebrate with us for the 10th time in September when we announce the awards.

Hearst Connecticut Media Top Workplaces winners will be featured in the Connecticut Post, The News-Times of Danbury, Greenwich Time, The Stamford Advocate, The Norwalk Hour, New Haven Register and The Register Citizen of Torrington in September — and will be highlighted on all of the associated websites.

For complete coverage of last year’s winners, go to any of those media outlets’ websites and type /topworkplaces — such as

Energage , formerly known as WorkplaceDynamics, carries out the Top Workplaces surveys for more than 40 metro newspapers including some of the biggest. Last year, the company surveyed 2.7 million employees at more than 7,500 organizations.

Employers can be nominated online at topworkplaces. com/hearstct or by calling 203-617-0727.