Casey Kasem, famous for his Top 40 list, always told pop fans to "keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars." Leo Burnett, who founded one of the agencies on Ad Age 's third annual Best Places to Work in Marketing & Media list, said, "When you reach for the stars you may not quite get one, but you won't come up with a handful of mud, either."
In the spirit of both recognizing and aspiring to be stars, Ad Age this year expanded the Best Places to Work field to create our own top 40 list.
Because every firm has its own strengths, we turned to New York-based Buck Consultants to help us level the playing field. With nearly a century of experience in employee and human-resource consulting, Buck crafted two surveys to help us find the companies with the best benefits and most-engaged employees.
We used employee engagement as a measure that 's proved to work across industries and pay grades. So what is engagement? Employee engagement is an indicator of the degree to which employees feel involved and committed to their work. Key factors include open and transparent management, clear communication of company goals and obvious paths to promotion.
Who was eligible?
Any agency, media owner or marketer with more than 50 full-time employees was eligible. There was no cost to the companies to participate in the program.
How did we rank them?
Buck Consultants developed surveys for the employers and the employees. The employer survey contained nearly 75 questions and the employee survey comprised 50 questions covering 13 topics. Nearly 185 companies applied, and more than 100 completed both rounds. The employer portion included quantitative issues about pay, promotions, health care and other benefits, hiring practices and more.
More than 15,000 employees took the survey. The employee survey measured aspects of the workplace environment that contribute to an engaged staff, including matters such as fairness of pay, vacation time, relationships with management and co-workers, career development and other workplace issues.
Providing great benefits gets a company only so far if no one likes working there, so we weighted the employee survey results as 60% of the overall score. That said, some companies had such great benefits that they were able to pull up less-awesome employee scores, and some companies with employees that were off-the-charts happy fell out of the top 40 because of low scores on the workplace-conditions side.
Which one is right for you?
Head to AdAge.com/job-finder. Pick three attributes that are most important to you (e.g. culture, compensation and career development) and we'll tell you which three entrants scored highest on those parts of the survey. We'll even give you a link to the company's career page.
Want to be on next year's list?
Keep an eye on AdAge.com/bestplaces. We'll open the applications for the 2013 list right after Labor Day.