For the sixth straight year, Mercy Home for Boys & Girls was named among the top places to work in Chicagoland by the Chicago Tribune. The honor was announced last evening at a special celebration at the United Club inside Soldier Field.

“I am so proud of my coworkers, and I really do prefer to call them coworkers because of the way that we carry each other and pull together to bring healing, hope, and opportunity to the children in our care,” said Mercy Home President Fr. Scott Donahue. “I am thankful for this recognition year after year. But what I am even more thankful for is the opportunity I have to work alongside such incredible, talented, and committed professionals day after day.”

The winners were announced to wider public in a special magazine insert included in today’s Chicago Tribune. The theme of this year’s Top Workplaces program was the search for meaning at work. Surveys indicated that employees everywhere want their work to be connected to a broader sense of purpose and that meaningfulness is a critical factor in job satisfaction.

“It’s the linchpin of qualities that make for a valuable employee: motivation, job performance and a desire to show up and stay,” according to the magazine’s lead article. The piece also observed that surveys suggest many Chicago-area employers fall short in providing that sense of purpose to current and prospective employees. As a result, they may miss out on top talent who will continue to grow and contribute.

Last night’s speakers, which included Chicago Cub’s chairman Tom Ricketts, said that being a top workplace is not about providing perks like ping-pong tables, breakfast bars, or dog-friendly environments. It may not even be as influenced by traditional differentiators like higher salaries. Though those things do contribute to workplace satisfaction, what makes companies stand out as top workplaces, according to nearly every speaker, is whether employees feel connected to a larger purpose.

“The reason Mercy Home has made this list every year since we were first nominated six years ago is that our work is incredibly meaningful,” said Fr. Scott. “My coworkers walk through the door every day with a singular vision and a shared, vital mission. And that is to make better the lives of the young people in our care.”

To determine the Top Workplaces, the Chicago Tribune turned to a company called Energage, a workplace survey and improvement specialist. Energage invited 2,510 companies to participate and conducted confidential surveys of more than 67,000 Chicago area workers, including those at Mercy Home.

Most employers named to the list were corporations and for-profit businesses, but Mercy Home was among 8 non-profit organizations. The list also included a handful of government entities.

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