Top workplaces

Employees at Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Townsend Leather and Community Health Center all picked their workplaces as among the top 50 in the Capital Region, according to a survey by WorkplaceDynamics.

The survey was broken down into large, midsize and small workplaces, with all three of the local winners ranked among the top 10 for midsize workplaces.

Community Health Center, which has 151 employees most of them nurses and home health aides, was ranked No. 4 among the 20 midsize employers in the survey. Anne Boles, Community Health Center’s director of community relations, said her organization, which is based in Johnstown, places a special emphasis on maintaining a good workplace environment for its employees.

“One of the reasons we really want to make sure that employees are happy and engaged at the workplace is because that goes into our patients homes,” she said. “Patients can sense when they are happy with their work and that really just shines into the patient care that we provide.”

Boles said CHC provides its employees with special events like breakfasts, lunches and dinners to honor employees and provide them with recognition for the number of years they’ve served the organization. She said she believes these special events help keep employee morale high and employee turnover low.

“The patient really likes to see the same clinicians that go into their homes. That makes the patient’s view of the agency increase. They like to see the same person because that person knows their case,” she said.

FMCC, which has 158 employees, was ranked No. 9 out of the midsize employers. Unlike nearby Schenectady Community College, whose adjunct faculty recently unionized, FMCC has maintained good relations with its public employee unions and its non-unionized staff.

FMCC President Dustin Swanger credited a general atmosphere of comraderie for why employees enjoy working at FMCC.

“The atmosphere at this college is one of family. People here care about each other; they care about their students, and they enjoy their work. It’s one of the things that attracted me to this institution,” Swanger said. “Even when we’ve had labor negotiations, when you take people who basically care about each other and put them in a room to fight it out – they try to leave as friends again. We’ve been pretty successful at that.”

Swanger said FMCC’s recognition as a top workplace is helpful for recruiting new employees for the college.

“We tell people we are one of the top workplaces in the Capital Region,” Swanger said. “I think it’s helpful because I think people today, while they look at salary, they also look for a place where they will comfortable and where they belong and where they will feel appreciated.”

Townsend Leather, a 46-year-old leather finishing business in Johnstown, was ranked No. 10 among the midsized employers. Townsend Leather, which has about 152 employees, focuses on high-end leather finishing mainly for the aviation industry, but also for private residences and the hospitality industry. The company once had a higher number of workers, about 220, but after the recession in 2008 the firm stablized its workforce at about 150 in 2010 and have maintained that number since then. Benjamin Towne, Townsend Leather director of human resources said his company is pleased to have low-turnover among its employees.

“We have a massive cross training initiative in place, so that when someone is hired for one position, not only will they train for their primary position – they are going to learn two to three to four jobs during their time here,” Towne said. “It makes them a more versitile employee and a more valued employee because they can do multiple positions.?If work does get slow in one department, we would never aim to send an employee home. We’d rather send them to another part of the company that is busy with work.”?