Employer of Choice Award

EANE is now accepting applications for consideration of their 2019 Employer of Choice award. Employers Association of the NorthEast (EANE) has been awarding employers throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island for developing workplaces that value employees, build engagement, invest in training and reward performance since 2014.

“Winners of our Employer of Choice award have been leveraging that recognition as a recruiting tool.  Heads of HR who work closely with their organization’s marketing team have submitted some of the strongest applications in the past. Then they work together to promote their recognition to future job applicants.”

-Allison Ebner, Director of Member Relations

The Employer of Choice awards will be presented in November at EANE’s Annual Employment Law and HR Conference in Springfield, MA. Winning companies receive a video that they can use for recruiting or marketing purposes and a $500 training voucher from EANE. Every organization that submits a completed application will receive a report on how their organization benchmarks against other applicants and a complimentary admission tone of EANE’s Employment Law and HR Conferences. (This conference is held in all three states between November 2019 and January 2020.)

You can access the 2019 Employer of Choice application here.

Employers from Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island who have been in business for at least three years and have a minimum of 25 employees are eligible for consideration. All completed applications must be submitted by June 28, 2019.


Past winners view the Employer-of-Choice award as a cornerstone of their company credentials and often highlight the award in recruiting and retention, grants and funding, and business development. Entrants are judged in areas that include: company culture, training and development, communication, recognition and reward, and work-life balance. Winners are announced at our annual Employment Law and HR Practices Conference luncheon, and featured on our website and in related press materials. Winners receive a professional video that spotlights the company's achievements and is customized to reflect the organization's targeted initiatives; entrants also receive comprehensive feedback via one-on-one communication that pinpoints the organization's strengths and weaknesses in the application.


We encourage you to join the club in 2019! For more questions or information call us at 877-662-6444. 

"Applying for the Employer of Choice Award is a great way for a business to review its policies and systems and culture. It allows for reflection on past practices to recruit, develop and recognize employees while studying actual outcomes and successes. The application itself drives improvement in some of the most important, but often neglected, areas in a business' operations. The award is a distinct accomplishment, honoring businesses for achieving high standards of ethics and high levels of success in how they treat and value their employees. It's certainly an honor for Sunshine Village!" Gina Golash Kos, Executive Director | SUNSHINE VILLAGE, Chicopee, MA


 Our 2018 Winners:

In 2018 we recognized a Connecticut organization and a Massachusetts based company as Employer of Choice winners: COCC Of Southington, CT and Big Y Foods, Inc. based in Springfield, MA.  


COCC is a client-owned techonology company serving more than 200 financial institutions for over 50 years. With more than 500 employees, the company offers profit sharing when objectives are met, a rich total rewards package and an extremely generous PTO plan. In fact, new employees begin with four weeks of PTO.  

Employees receive continuous feedback from multiple channels, including a peer-driven acknowledgement program and regular check-ins from the management team. One of the cornerstones of its successful culture is the Peer2Peer program, which recognize when coworkers go above and beyond and celebrates winners quarterly with recognition, gifts, and food. COCC uses regular benchmarking to assess compensation and overall satisfaction is 89 percent.

View the COCC video here.  www.cocc.com

Big Y Foods stands out for its overall benefits, employee satisfaction, training and development, and recognition and rewards. One novel program called Building Firm Foundations is a collaboration where employees help other employees with home repair needs by utilizing their skills, expertise and time. Projects have included building ramps, fixing decks and windows, landscaping and more. Another initiative called “The 10 Foot Rule” combines a user-friendly customer service model with a fun graphic reinforcing how to treat customers. The Big Y University and Big Y LIFE, an internal communication portal, are among the other employee-centric engagement offerings.

View the Big Y Foods video here.  www.bigy.com


 Our 2017 Winners:

In 2017 we recognized a Rhode Island organization and a Massachusetts based company as Employer of Choice winners: Rhode Island Quality Institute of Providence, RI and PeoplesBank based in Holyoke, MA.  

 PeoplesBank showed their significant cultural push for employee innovation, engagement, performance, and development. Working with their team of highly committed employees, they focus on customer satisfaction and caring for their communities and the environment. Their tagline "A passion for what is possible" is evident.  Click here for their video.

Based in Holyoke, MA, PeoplesBank is the largest community bank in Western Massachusetts providing banking and other financial services. www.bankatpeoples.com.

Rhode Island Quality Institute showcased how all employees are deeply engaged and committed to its mission and core values. The organization has closely linked its core values to every aspect of the employment lifecycle, including recruiting, onboarding, performance management, wellness programs, and more. The peer recognition program was outstanding. Click here for their video.

Based in Providence, the Rhode Island Quality Institute's (RIQI) mission is to significantly improve the quality, safety, and value of health care in Rhode Island. www.riqi.org

Our 2016 Winners:

Two Massachusetts organizations were recognized on November 3rd as Employer of Choice winners: Shriners Hospitals for Children-Springfield and Venture Community Services of Sturbridge.

Shriners Hospitals for Children - Springfield  (www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/springfield) is a unique pediatric specialty, research and teaching hospital providing orthopedic, rheumatology and cleft lip and palate care using the latest innovations in diagnosis and treatment. The hospital is designed exclusively for children, offering a full range of inpatient and outpatient services under one roof, so children can receive family-centered care and treatment. It treats thousands of children locally and internationally each year regardless of the family's ability to pay.

With a 91-year history of changing the lives of children every day, employees treat not only these children but each other as family. They have created a "family-centered" culture where clinical outcomes are outstanding and children are cared for in the safest environment possible. Their metrics speak for themselves including data-driven scores of a highly dedicated and engaged workforce, which is demonstrated both by the exceptional care given each day and the staff's desire to travel to other countries to provide mission-driven help to children in need. The organization reports "we have FUN!" Based on the engagement survey conducted in June 2015, 4 out of 5 employees would recommend Shriners as a great place to work. See video here.

Venture Community Services (www.venturecs.org) is a not-for-profit human service agency that provides support to individuals facing diverse challenges through a compassionate and dedicated workforce using innovative practices that encourage independence, empowerment and opportunity. Its clinical programs include: adult foster care, autism support, community day programs, community residences, shared living, supported employment, transportation services, and youth and family support.

Venture was selected for its employee recognition program that has been instrumental in motivation of the entire agency. Data from the annual survey and ongoing recognition efforts is used to form and focus efforts on employee satisfaction. The organization embraces wellness, providing personalized information and tools, such as online and educational resources, to assist employees in achieving their goals and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Venture's unique benefit options -- the Cash Option Fringe Benefit and Annual Merit Bonus -- sets it apart and aids in recruiting and keeping top talent. It's all about giving back and reinvesting in the employees. See video here.

Our 2015 Winners:

Congratulations to three area businesses selected as the 2015 Employer of Choice Award recipients: Bemis Associates, Inc., Big Y Foods, Inc. and Cadence, Inc

Headquartered in Shirley, MA with sales offices around the world, Bemis Associates, Inc. (www.bemisworldwide.com) is a 100-year-old adhesives and specialty film manufacturing company. Its guiding mission called "The Bemis Way" includes elements of continuous improvement and a cooperative spirit. It is especially noteworthy in the area of safety and wellness programs and work-life balance initiatives including: farm-fresh produce deliveries, the annual Bemis 5K, an on-site gym free to employees and a smoking cessation program. The community outreach effort includes the Thanks by Giving dinner for local senior citizens and the Toys for Tots gift drive, which was recognized by the Marines. The company's outstanding salary/benefit package has resulted in an extremely low turnover rate. See video here.

With ten thousand employees in Massachusetts and Connecticut, the Big Y Foods, Inc (www.bigy.com) supermarket chain's "culture-of-caring" mission statement completely transcends the organization. From hiring to day-to-day behavior to recognition and wellness, it's the inspiration for the company's short and long-range strategic planning, integral to its training initiatives, and the foundation of how it measures success. Big Y's novel workplace "huddles" are designed to foster face-to-face communication for idea-sharing, recognition, problem-solving and more; the huddles are just one example of how Big Y implements the mission every day. See video here.

With 300 employees in Cranston, RI and Plymouth, MA, Cadence, Inc. (www.cadenceinc.com) is a contract manufacturer of performance products for the medical industry and beyond. Headquartered in Staunton, VA, the company is dedicated to an employee-centric workplace that promotes a strong work-life balance and an expansive wellness initiative. There have been several dramatic and life-changing weight loss outcomes by employees. Cadence also has a robust charitable activity effort, sponsoring events and offering employees volunteer opportunities to give back. The distinctive "ideas are free" program sets the tone to actively listen to employees, often on the frontlines. The completely open floorplan is designed to encourage communication; it reinforces the company's philosophy that there are no secrets at Cadence. See video here.

Our 2014 Winners:

Our 2014 winners, Paragus Strategic IT (click here to view video of Paragus Strategic IT) of Hadley, MA and R.H. White Construction Companies (click here to view video of R.H. White Construction Companies), based in Auburn, MA, received their Employer of Choice awards at EANE's Employment Law and HR Practices Conference on Tuesday, November 4th in Sturbridge, MA. 

Paragus Strategic IT employees attend 90 to 100 hours of learning and development each year and, in 2012, the company was ranked by Inc. Magazine as one of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in the U.S. R.H. White Construction Companies celebrated its 90th anniversary last year with a goal to raise $90,000 for local charities; the company actually raised $156,000. It provides over $700,000 in safety related training to employees annually.

Meredith Wise, President of EANE, said "Both R.H. White and Paragus have succeeded in creating amazing workplace cultures which maximize employee engagement, creativity and organizational success. They are truly connected to their communities, contributing financially as well as with staff time and talent to various charities and events."

Past Winners:

Past winners include: Financial Partners, Health New England, Madico Company, Maybury Associates, Peoples Bank (Holyoke), Sanderson-Macleod, Savage Arms, Seven Hills Foundation and Sunshine Village.