Policy Research has been named the number one small employer in the Times Union’s 2023 Top Workplace awards. This is the third time that Policy Research has received this prestigious award from the Times Union. We received first place in the small employer category in 2013 and 2018. It is an honor to receive this award as we celebrate our 35th anniversary this year.

In addition to being named a Top Workplace, we also received the “Doer” Award—for the second time! The Doer Award is given to the company with the highest percentage of employees who agree with the statement, “At this company, we do things efficiently and well.”

Each year the Times Union facilitates the Top Workplace awards for Capital Region-based firms (Albany, New York, and the surrounding area). Employees nominate their firms to be considered for the Top Workplace awards.  If the firm is selected for consideration, employees are asked to complete a brief survey, which asks questions about the company’s culture, leadership support, and commitment to the mission. Companies are ranked according to their answers within their size category—small (fewer than 99 employees), medium (100 to 299 employees), and large (300+ employees).

“I’m so excited that we have been named a Top Workplace, especially as we celebrate our 35th anniversary and my first year as President. It is gratifying to see our strong company culture and commitment to creating positive social change recognized by the Times Union,” noted Policy Research President Sarah Desmarais, PhD.

Much has changed since we were named a Top Workplace in 2018. We welcomed new leadership; expanded our research portfolio; strengthened our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); and shifted to a remote-first workplace. But the core of our business practices and how we support employees have stayed the same. Staff members feel as valued and committed to the work as they did 5 and 10 years ago—no small feat for a 70-person firm!

Our mission, creating positive social change for people and communities through technical assistance, research, and training, extends to our staff. We survey the company annually about their experience and put those ideas into practice. For example, we heard loud and clear that our staff feel effective and happy working from home and have switched to a remote-first organization. We are constantly looking for ways to advance equity and inclusion to ensure all employees feel supported to be their authentic selves at work.

Employee well-being and satisfaction have long been a priority. We provide staff members with rich and unique benefits, including tuition and student loan reimbursement, an annual Day of Reflection, wellness reimbursements, and professional development, such as a conference or training that intersects with their interests and work. We strive to elevate employee voice in our decision-making and culture through our standing committees, affinity groups, and advisory council. Further, we create opportunities for staff learning and connection by hosting a seminar series, annual equity and cultural responsivity training, and regular (virtual) social hours, equity chats, and Lunch and Learns.

And, while this is a workplace, life comes first, and that is reflected in our culture of life-work integration. We have policies and practices in place to support employees in their life-work integration, such as flexible scheduling, strategic renewal, and specific guidance on how to set technological boundaries, so time away from work is just that—time away.

We are grateful to our incredible staff, who made this award possible. Their commitment to helping communities create person-centered, recovery-oriented, and trauma-informed systems is why we are so passionate about making Policy Research a Top Workplace!