Employee Engagement Employee Recognition

How Gallup’s Exceptional Workplace Award winners drive employee engagement

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If you move in the HR space, you’ll know all about Gallup, AKA one of the foremost authorities on employee engagement and improving employee performance.

These guys have got it going on. In fact, if this were the 80s, they’d be the Kennis encyclopedias and the back of the Kellogs Cornflakes box rolled into one - namely, an all-knowing source of fantastically accurate information. 

All kidding aside, Gallup really is a big deal in the field of human resources. They are a  global analytics and advice firm that helps leaders and organisations solve their most pressing problems by unlocking the full potential of their people and organisations. It’s exciting stuff!

READ MORE: Employee engagement and your bottom line


Having tracked employee engagement levels in the United States since 2000, Gallup is also in a very good position to determine which companies stand out as happy, healthy workplaces. As such, they have honoured these front-runners by means of the Exceptional Workplace Awards each year since 2007. Here is a look at the winners for 2021, and what we can learn from these engagement all-stars: 

ABC Supply (15-time winner)

“We believe having an engaged, exceptional workforce has never been as important as it was in 2020, as people across the world faced extraordinary circumstances and uncertainty due to the pandemic,” says ABC Supply CEO Keith Rozolis. Despite the countless hurdles to productivity of the past year, ABC Supply did just that, trusting in its people and putting them and their safety first.

Check out our YouTube channel for awesome videos on everything from the science of employee recognition to creating an internal communications strategy for enhanced engagement.


Alliant Credit Union (six-time winner)

“As we continue to grow, we also remain committed to keeping our employees engaged while fostering a culture of innovation and development,” Alliant CEO Dennis Devine said. “This award is really a celebration of our employees and their tireless work in service of our members.” 

American Electric Power (two-time winner)

“AEP is proud to win Gallup's Exceptional Workplace Award for the second consecutive year,” said Chairman Executive Officer Nicholas K. Akins, AEP Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. 

“This recognition reflects our commitment to investing in our employees, while demonstrating our ongoing efforts to reinvent our company culture. Attracting and retaining top talent is an important part of our business strategy, and we'll continue to foster a workplace environment where our colleagues feel welcomed and valued.”

Atria Convergence Technologies Limited (four-time winner)

The ACT careers page describes the business as a place where they collaborate, socialise, innovate and get things done while also having a ton of fun. They are proud to play host to a motivated team made up of smart people who are always learning new skills while doing challenging, yet meaningful work.


The cultural transformation BBVA has undergone in recent years has led to the implementation of new organisational formulas and many more agile work methods to adapt to an environment that continues to change. In the search for innovation and in aiming to offer customers a unique value proposition, the bank has focussed on being an open and inclusive place to work.

Cedar Valley Hospice (two-time winner)

“Cedar Valley Hospice is a special place to work, and our culture relies on professionalism and compassion as we care for people with a terminal illness,” said Human Resources Director Katie Unland. 

“We do a good job of taking care of each other because the work we do is difficult and emotional. During 2020, we had to pivot and found new ways to connect with staff providing daily emails on updated CDC guidelines, new processes/procedures and reminding them to take a deep breath.”


CESA 6’s Director of Itinerant Services Karin Martino leads a team of highly skilled specialists who care for students who are blind, visually impaired or deaf or hard of hearing, or need services such as OT/PT, nursing or counselling. 

The organisation has made employee engagement and culture a top priority for the agency for the past five years. Their agency leaders focus on making CESA 6 a great workplace where staff members are proud to work and love to collaborate. They also focus on extending that positive engagement to everyone with whom they partner in their school districts.

City of Centennial, CO (five-time winner)

The City of Centennial employs 70+ people and remains the only local government to receive recognition for its standards of excellence. “This prestigious award recognises Centennial Staff’s continued passion for cultivating an exceptional workplace, which weaves into the outstanding service quality offered to the residents and businesses of Centennial,” says Centennial City Manager Matt Sturgeon.

DTE Energy (nine-time winner)

All leaders understand that they have an impact on their companies; few more so than DTE Energy Chairman and CEO Gerry Anderson. "When I became president, culture began to be more personal," he says. 

For him, this meant creating a culture that embraced employee engagement and continuous improvement that is fundamental to DTE's continued success in the market, despite the global recession of 2009 which saw $200 million of the Detroit-based utility company's revenue dwindling away. Today they still stand strong despite these challenges.

DW Distribution

“In 2018, DW Distribution embraced the challenge to pursue a Vivid Vision; a distinct and resolute view of the future of our company, specifically describing the mindset, actions and benefits allowing us to breathe life into our purpose,” said Nathan Potter, CEO and 3rd generation owner. “An important part of that vision is to build an inspired workplace for our employees, a place where they are engaged and proud to be part of our purpose.”

“The company’s on-going commitment to fulfilling our Vivid Vision and winning the GEWA, means developing the tools and resources team members need to reach their personal and professional dreams at DW. Receiving this award demonstrates what is possible when we make a commitment and work together to achieve a goal. It is a prestigious honor, and an incredible distinction for all of us at DW,” affirmed Aaron Elliott, President.

Experitec, Inc. (three-time winner)

In a year filled with challenges ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest to political polarisation, Gallup found that Experitec has shown exceptional resilience and support for their employee base, which is a tremendous accomplishment.

FamilySearch (three-time winner)

Director of Business Development at FamilySearch, Diane Loosle, drives a number of important company initiatives, including a focus on transforming the learning process. The goal is to experiment with methods, tools, and experiences that help people learn organically without realising they are learning. In other words, she takes complex research methods and turns them into simple, intuitive experiences for her team. 


Foster Group (four-time winner)

“The culture at Foster Group is built on the strength of all of our team members choosing to passionately rally around our vision of helping our clients experience meaningful and generous lives. This is an essential part of our day-to-day interactions,” said Buck Olsen, CEO. 

“The foundation of our team is built upon caring, honest, and genuine conversations. When we demonstrate that level of care to our team, it permeates throughout our workplace, and carries on through the relationships we foster with our clients.”



"We are enormously proud of this award because it recognises our commitment to our people and culture during a very challenging year," said Cicily Newby, Hagerty's Vice President of learning and development. 

"We believe that bottom line success starts with our people. Our goal is to help them develop the skills that will help them grow as individuals and professionals. Their growth enables them to deliver on our promise to members and drive company growth."


READ MORE: 5 Common barriers to employee engagement and how to overcome them


Hendrick Health System (15-time winner)

“As the only healthcare organisation in the world to be named to this prestigious list for the last 15 straight years, I’m incredibly proud of our entire workforce," said Brad Holland, CEO for Hendrick Health. “Our unique culture fosters employee engagement, while recognising that every member of our organisation has a role in carrying out our mission to deliver high quality healthcare emphasising excellence and compassion.”


“Even as we recognise the tremendous progress we’ve made, we know there is still work to be done,” said Steve MacMillan, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hologic. “We are on a journey to have the greatest impact through the Science of Sure, and we will keep setting the bar higher. We will not be satisfied until every employee at Hologic has a great manager, is surrounded by engaged colleagues, and is empowered to deliver their best every day.”

Indus Towers (eight-time winner)

For Indus Towers, to be a great workplace where employees are engaged and feel valued, is a priority that percolates through their vision and various in-house initiatives. The company has put in place an open-door policy to enable an environment of trust between the employees and the leadership. They have also been working tirelessly to create a culture of listening and valuing employee feedback which they feel is a key indicator of the overall cultural health of the organisation.


READ MORE: A manager's guide to an effective employee engagement survey


KinderCare Education (five-time winner)

KinderCare Education is the largest private provider of early childhood education and care in the US, and remains the first and only company in the early childhood education industry to be recognised by Gallup for this achievement. They believe that their 27,000+ teachers are the true heart of KinderCare Education. This is why they continually invest in the professional development of their team and teachers are recognised for their hard work on a continuous and public basis. 

Mars Incorporated (12-time winner)

“We are a global company with more than 130,000+ associates, and no matter the location, our people and culture are at our core,” said Eric Minvielle, Vice President, People and Organisation at Mars. “Every day, Mars Associates are making a difference—for our business, the planet, communities and even pets—and we couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Nationwide Insurance (nine-time winner)

Nationwide is one of the largest and strongest diversified insurance and financial services organisations in the U.S. The company provides a broad range of insurance and financial products and services. 92% of employees at Nationwide say it is a great place to work compared to 59% of employees at a typical US-based company. This is based on a wide variety of factors including onboarding, community engagement, work-life balance, a sense of organisational pride, as well as a caring culture.

NFU Mutual (six-time winner)

“We actively encourage our new recruits and existing employees to develop their skills and careers at NFU Mutual. This not only ensures that we’re building for our future, but also that our employees are building for their own futures too,” says Trisha Jones, HR Director at NFU Mutual. 

“NFU Mutual is focused on creating an environment where employees can thrive and achieve their full potential. From supporting health and wellbeing to encouraging career development, we’re committed to being a great place to work.”

OHM Advisors (three-time winner)

As a growing multidisciplinary firm searching for team members who think and dream big, OHM Advisors offers rich and varied opportunities for career development and advancement. If employees have the talent, drive, and passion, there’s a path for them to reach amazing heights within the organisation. The company believes that it’s only in striving to advance their internal community that they can fully live out their firm’s mission.

Phelps Memorial Health Center (two-time winner)

Phelps Memorial Health Center is one of the largest employers in Holdrege, Nebraska. Their 25-bed Critical Access Hospital employs over 200 teammates in many different areas of healthcare. They are an equal opportunity employer that offers competitive wages and benefits packages to eligible teammates. Moreover, they strive to create a space in which their employees can enjoy an optimal work-life balance. 

Quartz (two-time winner)

Dr. Mark Selna, Quartz President and CEO, says, “At Quartz, we put the engagement of our employees at the heart of our business strategy. We know engaged employees are more creative, innovative, and productive, which allows them to take better care of our customers.”

Regions Bank (seven-time winner)

“We strive to connect associate engagement to every aspect of our culture at Regions,” said Seanna McGough, Head of Learning & Development. “Gallup’s recognition of our having such an engaged workforce just proves that we’re on the right track.”

“The Regions team came together in a powerful way in 2020 to serve our customers through the COVID-19 pandemic and to support the communities we serve through a variety of challenges. We are honored that Gallup has recognised Regions Bank among the top companies globally for our efforts to create a highly engaged workforce and appreciate the engagement and dedication of the Regions team during these unprecedented times,” said Dave Keenan, Chief Administrative and Human Resources Officer. 


“As we all know, the last year has been a challenging one. Our growing team has relied on Gallup’s Strengths-Finder, the Q12, and our strong commitment to organisational health to keep us focused on what matters; our mission, our clients, and our members,” Lisa Moody, Renalogic CEO said.

Self Regional Healthcare (14-time winner)

Self Regional Healthcare is a not-for-profit, regional referral hospital that provides care to residents of Greenwood, Abbeville, Laurens, Saluda, McCormick, Edgefield and Newberry counties. "Our motto is ‘you can work anywhere and make a living, but work at Self and you’ll make a life’. Why? Self Regional Healthcare is well respected in the region and the state as an organisation committed to continually advancing care for the communities we serve by empowering our employees to reach their potential and grow in their careers," Jim Pfeiffer, CEO and President of Self Regional Healthcare, said. 

Talent (three-time winner)

April Marcot, Talent Head of People and Culture is passionate about the sensational work culture that Talent has. “We are overjoyed to be receiving this award for the third year running. Over the past year at Talent, we have focused on authentic and empathetic leadership. Our commitment is to ensure that all teams are constantly recognised, growing, living to our values, and connected to our purpose.”

TBA Credit Union

“Being recognised with this award shines a light on our amazing team and the efforts of our leaders to cultivate a culture of opportunity, passion for our mission, and teamwork,” said Human Resource Director, Abby Smith. “This past year has had its challenges, but our team’s commitment to our members and each other never wavered. We found new ways to connect virtually, create moments of joy together, and celebrated our wins. I am so proud of this amazing team!”

TCI Wealth Advisors (two-time winner)

"Providing a best in class employee experience has always been a cornerstone of TCI’s culture. We believe that great employees deserve to be taken care of and they will, in turn, create a superior experience for clients. TCI is proud of the firm we are building. A firm that provides the opportunity to empower purpose-filled lives, for our clients, our colleagues and our communities which brings meaning and success to each of our lives," says Catherine Nichols, President of TCI Wealth Advisors.


"To remain an industry leader, we understand that we must continue to foster an environment where employees feel valued and supported and where others aspire to work, contribute and grow. With the launch of Work Forward and Talent GPS coming soon, we will continue to reimagine the possibilities for our future and how we can go from great to fantastic as an organisation," says Verizon Communications Manager Andy Choi.

Verve, A Credit Union

“From the moment you walk into Verve, you can feel how different it is to work here,” said Karrie Drobnick, Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at Verve. “Team member engagement and empowerment begins with our talent management efforts and is a strategic priority infused throughout every area of the organisation. 

“Each decision we make is examined through the lens of how it will impact the team and our culture. Clear, consistent communication of our values and vision is at the heart of our strategy. Every team member stands behind this philosophy and it shows in our teamwork, our service to members and now through this elite honor.”

WSFS Bank (five-time winner)

“This recognition belongs to our associates who stay true to who we are and do what they do best, every day, even during unprecedented times. Our culture of engagement led the way in 2020, as we served our customers, communities and each other," said Rodger Levenson, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer, WSFS Bank.

"The safety, health and wellbeing of our associates has always been our top priority and I credit them for finding new ways to deliver on our mission, “We Stand For Service,” while observing critical protocols. Their creativity, adaptability, dedication and genuine care showed through and made a big difference for all we serve.”

Feeling inspired to improve employee performance at your business by focusing on the needs of your crew? Yep, we thought as much! 

You can start by subscribing to our YouTube channel for awesome video content on everything from addressing common barriers to employee engagement, to creating a communication strategy that brings your team into the fold.

Check back soon for more insider info from within the bountiXP camp - we’ve got lots more news and motivational insights up our collective sleeves!


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