Photo: The Oreogonian/OregonLive
Who determines Top Workplaces? The employees, of course! For the ninth consecutive year, The Oregonian/OregonLive has partnered with Energage to rank the Top Workplaces in Oregon and Southwestern Washington. “The process is based on a scientific survey of employees who rate their workplace culture. It also gives company insights about what makes them unique,” writes Bob Helbig from Energage in a recent article on the competition.
“In times of great change, it is more important than ever to maintain a connection among employees,” said Eric Rubino, Energage CEO. “When you give your employees a voice, you come together to navigate challenges and shape your path forward based on real-time insights into what works best for your organization.”
Earlier in the year, The Oregonian/OregonLive asked people to nominate companies as Top Workplaces. Almost 2,000 employers in the region were also invited to have their employees take the survey from Energage. Combined, the companies surveyed in 2020 employed 24,920 people in the region. Of those employees who received questionnaires, 16,350 responded. For this year’s winners list, 95 employers earned recognition as Top Workplaces and were ranked based on their employee survey feedback with the Estacada School District coming in at #19!
We began working with the Oregonian and Energage last school year to deploy a third-party survey on our employees’ level of satisfaction in our district. This action aligned with our goal to become a top workplace where all employees want to be. The survey was sent out in March in the midst of pandemic chaos, and it was our district’s first time working with the top workplaces program.
During the summer we found out that we were one of 100 top workplaces in Oregon, based on our employee feedback survey. We were then selected as one of 5 top workplaces that the Oregonian chose to do an independent article featuring. We are one of two public school districts in the state of Oregon to have ever received this award and we are the only school district in Oregon on the list this year. We accredit much of our success to the improvement science work we have done with Studer Education. — Maggie Kelly, director of communications and community relations
Excerpt from The Oregonian/OregonLive Article
Estacada School District’s swift response to pandemic makes employees feel supported: Top Workplaces 2020
It’s safe to say that business has been anything but usual for the Estacada School District this year.
Like most entities across the globe, the Clackamas County school district found itself having to be more inventive and adaptive than perhaps ever before, as it looks for ways to support the 1,750 students and 240 employees who walk the halls of its four schools.
When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Oregon at the end of February, Estacada swiftly took action. Before it was mandated, the district closed schools to transition to distance learning.
“This was one of the key pieces that helped us out early on,” said Maggie Kelly, the district’s director of communications and community relations. “It allowed us to have additional planning time to support our staff and give lead time to families who needed to make important decisions surrounding child care.”
This level of leadership is one of the many reasons the district secured a spot as a winner in The Oregonian/OregonLive’s Top Workplaces competition. The district is a first-time winner this year, in the competition’s ninth year.
Estacada Middle School science teacher Brooke Kottkamp said that the district’s “effort for transparency in how decisions that affect teachers are being made and weekly one-on-one phone check-ins” makes her feel both supported and heard. Kottkamp said she was impressed with “how the district had the infrastructure in place to move our student body into a virtual learning environment quickly and efficiently.”
This spring, the removal of face-to-face instruction meant the loss of crucial school-sanctioned programs that kids across the district depend on, like free lunch. Fifty percent of the students attending Estacada schools receive free or reduced lunch. Estacada’s nutrition services staff teamed up with the transportation staff to deliver meals to kids, through their regular bus routes. This plan was implemented on day one of school closures.
Then there were the less tangible side effects, such as the mental well-being of teachers and students. Estacada ramped up its mental health services to ensure that teachers and families had access to virtual care providers and increased personal protective equipment for frontline responders, including transportation, nutrition services and custodial teams.