FLORIDA — Whether working from home or the office, the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the workplace for many Floridians.
With the unemployment rate higher than 4 percent and thousands of job openings in the Sunshine State, what makes a top employer has also changed, according to Forbes, which released its annual inventory of America’s Best Large Employers.
To compile the annual list, released Thursday, the business magazine partnered with the market research firm Statista to survey 60,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees.
Survey respondents were asked about such topics as their willingness to recommend their workplace to friends and family, as well as nominate companies other than their own. The final list represents the 500 employers receiving the most recommendations, Forbes said.
Among those 500 are 18 Florida companies, four of which made the top 100:
18. Ultimate Kronos Group (IT Software & Services): Headquartered in Weston, UKG is a global provider of human capital management, payroll, HR service delivery, and workforce management solutions.
44. Florida Blue (Insurance): Headquartered in Jacksonville, the company offers affordable health insurance plans to individuals, families, and businesses, according to its website.
71. Raymond James Financial (Banking and Financial Services): Headquartered in St. Petersburg, the company offers financial services to individuals, corporations and municipalities.
86. Orlando Health (Healthcare and Social): Headquartered in Orlando, the company is a not-for-profit healthcare organization with $7.6 billion of assets under management that serves the southeastern United States.
The other 14 Florida companies that made the top 500:
124. Fidelity National Financial (Banking and Financial Services): Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fidelity National Financial, Inc. is engaged in the provision of title insurance and transaction services to real estate and mortgage industries.
125. NextEra Energy (Utilities): Headquartered in Juno Beach, NextEra Energy, Inc. is an electric power and energy infrastructure company.
126. BayCare (Healthcare & Social): Headquartered in Clearwater, BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at more than a dozen hospitals and other health care facilities.
158. University of Florida (Education): The University of Florida is a large public research university in Gainesville, FL.
168. Publix Super Markets (Retail & Wholesale): Publix Super Markets is the largest employee-owned supermarket chain in the U.S.
202. Hard Rock International (Travel & Leisure): Headquartered in Davie, Hard Rock is an iconic hospitality and entertainment brand known the world over for its hotels, casinos, cafes, merchandise and live venues.
377. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment (Travel & Leisure): SeaWorld Orlando is a theme park and marine zoological park, in Orlando.
393. ADT Security Systems (Business Services & Supplies): Headquartered in Boca Raton, the company provides residential, small and large business electronic security.
407. Health First (Insurance): Headquartered in Rockledge, the company offers a wide variety of health insurance options across central Florida. In addition, it operates four hospitals in the state.
413. Red Lobster (Restaurants): The company was founded by William B. Darden in 1968 and is headquartered in Orlando.
415. Brown and Brown Insurance (Insurance): Headquartered in Daytona Beach, the company offers a comprehensive range of insurance services and solutions since 1939.
417. Bloomin' Brands (Restaurants): Headquartered in Tampa, Bloomin' Brands, Inc. is a casual dining restaurant company, with a portfolio of differentiated restaurant concepts.
447. American Automobile Association (Insurance): Headquartered in Heathrow, AAA is a nonprofit association known for providing insurance, travel planning, credit cards, maps, travel guides, vehicle financing and special membership discounts.
467. Sitel Group (Business Services & Supplies): Headquartered in Miami, the company provides outsourced sales, technical support, customer service and more for large companies.
Forbes’ Top 10 big employers in the country are:
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (health care, social)
Georgia-based Southern Company (utilities)
NASA in the District of Columbia (aerospace, defense)
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York (health care, social)
South Carolina-based Michelin Group (automotive, automotive suppliers)
Ohio-based Sherwin-Williams (engineering, manufacturing)
Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic (health care, social)
Arizona-based Carvana (retail, wholesale)
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (health care, social)
Texas-based MD Anderson Cancer Center (health care, social)
Virginia-based Huntington Ingalls Industries, the largest military shipbuilding company, moved to No. 11 on the list from No. 387, the largest gain of any of the large companies.
Not surprisingly given COVID-19 restrictions, the largest drops were in the restaurant industry, with only 11 companies earning spots on the 2022 large employers list. California-based In-N-Out Burger was the only one to land among the top 200, coming in No. 23.
“We bend over backwards to try to do as many things behind the scenes to continue business as usual,” the franchise owner and president, Lynsi Snyder, told Forbes in November 2020. “It obviously has not looked like business as usual with masks and nearly empty dining rooms.”
“Whether working from home or the office, Americans’ priorities have changed,” Forbes said, noting that “what makes a top employer has changed, too.”
Paul McDonald, a senior executive director at Robert Half and a Forbes contributor, said “employees are in control at this point because there’s such a plethora of openings.”
“With the number of job openings today and the choices that good candidates have, you have to move swiftly but diligently,” he told Forbes. “A lot of organizations have realized that, through all the retention efforts and through all the resignations, they’ve had to re-recruit their current staff.”
Forbes said many of the large employers on the list are wrestling with redefining their corporate culture with a largely remote or hybrid workforce where some employees report to the office and others work from home.
In the pre-pandemic era, Genentech, a California-based drug and biotechnology company that ranked 14th on the list, offered on-site benefits such as made-to-order sushi, day care and Friday night parties. Now, the company holds virtual office hours with executives and gives employees two hours of “protected time” when they can take a break or work uninterrupted on projects.