Special Report: The Best Places to Work in IT 2014

How we chose the Best Places to Work in IT

The methodology behind Computerworld's selection of the 100 organizations on the 2014 Best Places to Work in IT list.

For the 21st year in a row, Computerworld conducted a survey to identify the 100 best places to work for IT professionals. This year you may notice a change in how we are presenting the survey data. We continue to feature the top 100 organizations, but this year for the first time we have sorted the top companies into three lists, organized by size.

Small firms have fewer than 1,000 U.S. employees; midsize companies have between 1,000 and 4,999 U.S. employees; and large organizations have 5,000 or more U.S. employees. As you browse the lists, keep in mind that some of the companies featured are divisions of larger, global organizations, though they may have a small U.S. footprint.

Here are the details on how the survey was conducted: We started accepting nominations in March 2013. Participants were asked to provide contact information for an individual at their company who had access to employment statistics, financial data and information about benefits policies and programs for the IT department and the company as a whole.

In January 2014, a contact at each of the 461 nominated companies received a 51-question survey asking about average salary and bonus increases, percentage of IT staffers promoted, IT staff turnover rates, training and development, and the percentage of women and minorities in IT staff and management positions.

Information was also collected on retention efforts; programs for recognizing and rewarding outstanding performance; benefits such as flextime, elder care and child care; and policies for reimbursing employees for college tuition and the cost of pursuing technology certifications. Information from those surveys was used in compiling the 100 company profiles in this issue.

Upon completion of the survey, participants were emailed instructions for selecting a random sample of employees from their U.S.-based full- and part-time IT staffs. All participating companies were required to obtain feedback from their employees. The responses to the employee survey went directly to a third-party research company.

Topics covered in the employee survey included satisfaction with training and development programs, compensation, benefits and work/life balance. In addition, employees were asked to rate employee morale in their IT departments, the importance of various benefits and the degree to which they agreed with a variety of statements on subjects ranging from career growth to management's treatment of employees.

From the final 100 companies, a total of 23,764 IT employees responded to the employee survey. The nomination survey, company survey and employee survey were all conducted via the Internet. The company and employee survey portion of the research were cut off in March 2014. To qualify to complete the company survey, participating companies had to have a minimum of 30 IT employees. Companies based outside the U.S. had to have a minimum of 300 total employees at a U.S. headquarters and a minimum of 30 IT employees in the U.S., and at least 50% of their IT employees had to be based in the U.S.

Approximately half of the total scoring was based on employee responses, with the remainder based on the survey of the company's benefits and other programs. Organizations were separated by size to produce three ranked lists for large, midsize and small Best Places as outlined above.

Our top-10 lists show the best of the best -- the organizations that excel in these four areas of human resources: career development, retention, benefits and training. To determine those lists, we considered the following factors:

Benefits: The range of benefits offered, including sabbaticals, elder care and child care, and health and vision plans; employee satisfaction with the range of benefits.

Career development: Mentoring programs; tuition reimbursement for college classes and technical certifications; promotions within IT; employee satisfaction with tuition reimbursement, opportunities for career growth and management's involvement in career development.

Retention: Frequency of employee satisfaction surveys; turnover rate; promotions; morale; employee satisfaction with flexible hours, sabbaticals, and job-sharing and telecommuting programs.

Training: Number of training days; number of training programs; employee satisfaction with training and access to training; reimbursement for certification training; satisfaction with continuing education programs.

In scoring the responses from the company and employee surveys, company results were weighted based on the importance ratings provided by respondents to the employee survey. Approximately half of the total scoring was based on employee responses, with the remaining half based on the survey of the company's benefits and other programs.

This year's survey process was managed by Sean Galvin of IDG Research and Mari Keefe, Computerworld's editorial project manager.

You can find more information about participating in the Best Places to Work in IT program at our Best Places FAQ page, or about all of Computerworld's awards programs on our Editorial Research page.

Next: Nominate your organization for Best Places 2015

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