Top Small Workplaces 2009

Winning Workplaces is busy reading applications for Top Small Workplaces 2009, getting ready to determine the finalists from a pool of 329 applicants. This project gives us a perspective on the strength of small businesses throughout North America based on those that apply for this competition, which we undertake in partnership with The Wall Street Journal.

As part of our analysis we have uncovered the following metrics:

Years in Business
The 2009 applicants have been in business for an average of 22 years. The youngest company was five years old (the minimum age to be eligible for recognition) and the oldest was 181 years old.

Average years in business comparison for applicants over the last three years:






Revenue – FY 2008
This year’s applicants had an average of $24 million in revenue in FY 2008. Minimum revenue was $284,000 and the maximum was close to $183 million (the revenue cap to be eligible is $200 million).

Average revenue comparison over the last three years:






Revenue Growth – 2006-2008
Over the past three Fiscal Years, the 2009 applicants have grown revenues an average of 28 percent. The lowest growth rate was -67 percent and the highest was 602 percent.

Average revenue growth comparison over the last three years:





Notably, this has trended downward over the three years, reflecting an increasingly difficult economy since 2007.


Number of Employees – 2008
The 2009 applicants have an average of 105 employees. The range was as few as five employees to as many as 500 employees (the maximum to be eligible for the award).

Average number of employees over the last three years:






Employee Growth – 2006-2008
Over a three-year period, the 2009 applicants have added employees at an average rate of 22 percent. The low was -22 percent while the high was 245 percent.

Average employee growth comparison over the last three years:





Since we see that employee growth is tied to revenue growth, this has likewise trended downward as the economy has worsened since our spring 2007 analysis of that year’s applicant pool.


Employee Turnover – 2008
Average turnover among the 2009 applicants last year was 17 percent. The minimum was 0 percent and maximum was 154 percent.

Average employee turnover comparison over the last three years:






Medical Insurance
Virtually all (99.4 percent) of the 2009 applicants provide medical insurance. In fact, only two applicants do not. On average, those that provide it cover 80 percent of employees’ premiums and 42 percent for dependents.

Medical insurance and employee and dependent premium coverage comparison over the last three years:







Open Book Management

Over half (56 percent) of the 2009 applicants practice open book managementAmong those that do so, 80 percent also provide financial literacy training to their employees.

Open book management/financial literacy training comparison over the last three years:






It is clear that the 2009 Top Small Workplaces applicants are following in the path of past applicants in terms of displaying the business metrics that serve as the ROI of a great workplace. It is also evident that the recession is impacting them most readily when it comes to employee and revenue growth.


The remaining steps in the selection process for Top Small Workplaces 2009 include:

  • Finalists will be selected the last week in April
  • The Top Small Workplaces will be announced in a Wall Street Journal Report on Small Business on September 28, 2009
  • Those named will be honored at a conference and celebration in Chicago on October 1-2, 2009