Also: Best Places to work facts and figures and the employee survey

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Companies selected as Best Places to Work in the North Bay were analyzed by the editorial staff of the Business Journal on the basis of several criteria, including the employer application, the survey ratings by employees, the number of responses, size of the company, the breakdown of responses from management and non-management as well as written comments by employees.

In all, 121 companies were nominated, from which 55 winners emerged from Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties.

Winners and are grouped by size so that employee scores are comparable. The winners are then listed within their size categories by employee score.

Nominations for Best Places to Work in the North Bay were sought starting in April. Anyone within a company can nominate their business by completing a simple form. A minimum of 20 employees was required.

Nominated companies were then contacted by the Business Journal and invited to submit a company application and to ask employees to complete a brief online survey.

The survey was set up through Zoomerang, a widely used online polling service. Companies had about four weeks in late June and early July  to complete the application and survey, for which a minimum number of responses was required, depending on company size.

After an analysis of the employer application and online responses, the winners were selected and formally announced Aug. 12.

---Brad Bollinger,  Business Journal Editor in Chief

Best Places to Work 2009: Facts and FiguresjfjdsfkjlsfdljkfdsjlkdfsljkContest benchmark dates:

Call for nominations: April 13

Deadline for nominations:  May 16

Employee and company survey period: Early June to July

Winners selected, notified: Early August

Winners reception: September 30

jfjdsfkjlsfdFour-time winners

Burr Pilger Mayer (formerly Andersen & Company)

Charter Oak Bank

Exchange Bank

First Community Bank

Ghirardo CPA

Heffernan Insurance Brokers

Kaiser Permanente

Pacific Landscapes

Redwood Credit Union

Valley Tire & Brake

jfjdsfkjlsfdYYea  rYearYearear: 2009      2008      2007      2006


Responses (approx.):          4,500     5,000     3,800     3,400

Total nominations:            121        104        132          90

Winners:                              55          57          43          24

Winner geographic distribution

Sonoma:                              39          43          30          18

Marin:                                 12          11          11            4

Napa:                                    5            3            2            2

Size distribution

20 to 50:                              25          26          21          12

51 to 100:                            12          14            9            5

101 to 500:                          17          15            9            5

More than 500:                     1            2            4            2

Repeat winners

Four-time winners:             10          na          na          na

Three-time winners:            14          13          na          na

Two-time winners:             13          18          17          na

First-time winners:             18          26          26          24

Best Places to

Best Places to Work – Employee Survey

Employees in the 2009 Best Places to Work survey were asked the following questions in an anonymous online survey.

Please rate the following statements on a scale of 1-5

1 = Never -- Strongly disagree

2 = Sometimes -- Disagree

3 = Regularly -- I neither agree nor disagree

4 = Frequently -- Agree

5 = Always -- Strongly agree



Management keeps me informed about important issues and changes.

Actions are taken consistent with the vision and promises of the company.

Communications are open and accessible and suggestions are taken seriously.


Management involves people in decisions that affect their jobs or work environment.

I am offered training and development to further myself professionally.

Individuals' differences and personal lives are acknowledged and respected.

I understand the company's plans for future success.


There is a fair system for hiring, promotions and assignment of projects.

Employees are rewarded equally for their work.

My pay rate and benefits compensation are fair for my position in my industry.

A process exists for complaints/suggestions to be addressed without retaliation.


I take pride in my individual contribution to the company.

I take pride in the work produced by my team/work group.

I take pride in my company's products/services and standing in the community.

The workplace culture encourages innovation and contribution.

I would like to be working at this organization one year from today.


I feel I am able to be myself at work.

There is a socially friendly and welcoming atmosphere in the office.

My immediate coworkers consistently go the extra mile to achieve great results.

I experience a sense of "family" or "team" with my co-workers.

Additional questions:

What makes your company great?

What could be done to improve the workplace at your company?

How has your company dealt with the challenging business environment?

© 2009 North Bay Business Journal