The 2021 NorthCoast 99 Application Is Now Open

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For the past 23 years, ERC has recognized 99 great Northeast Ohio workplaces for top talent through the NorthCoast 99 annual awards program and event. 

ERC is excited to announce that the 2021 NorthCoast 99 application is now open, and Northeast Ohio employers are encouraged to apply! Applications will be accepted between now and April 15, 2021.  

Each year, hundreds of employers apply for this sought-after award for its many benefits, including valuable benchmarking data, deeper insights into their organization’s top-performing employees, and the ability to brand themselves as one of 99 exceptional workplaces for top talent in our 22-county region. 

The application process consists of three steps that must be completed in sequence:

1. Get Qualified

In order to get qualified for NorthCoast 99, employers must complete a brief Eligibility Survey. This survey consists of three simple questions, collects basic contact information, and takes less than five minutes to complete.

During the Eligibility Survey, you’ll be asked to provide the contact information for the individual at your organization who will be designated as the Main Contact for the 2021 NorthCoast 99 application. This individual will serve as the primary point of contact for all NorthCoast 99 communication.

2. Pay the Application Fee

Eligible organizations will then be directed to a payment page. There is a $199 fee to receive access to the 2021 NorthCoast 99 application. ERC accepts payment via Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. Receipts will be provided via email.

Please note: The application fee is non-refundable and must be received prior to starting the application. Due to the proprietary nature of the content found in the application, no refunds will be granted, regardless of whether your organization completes and submits the application in full.

3. Complete the Application

Within two business days of submitting your payment, the individual designated as the Main NC99 Contact by your organization during the Eligibility Survey will receive an email with links to these parts of the application:

  • 2021 NorthCoast 99 Application
  • 2021 Top-Performer (Employee Engagement) Survey
  • 2021 New-Hire Survey

Please note: The links provided are unique to your organization and should not be shared externally.

We encourage you and your team to get started on the NorthCoast 99 application process right away. Again, the application must be completed and submitted by April 15, 2021.

For tips and suggestions on completing the NorthCoast 99 application, please visit our Apply page.

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ERC's 2019 NorthCoast 99 Application is Now Open Through April 26!

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Get Recognized as a Great Northeast Ohio Workplace for Top Talent

ERC is excited to announce the launch of our 21st annual NorthCoast 99 award! The 2019 application is open now through April 26.

Apply for the 2019 NorthCoast 99 Award

The Value of Applying

  • Find out what drives your organization's top performers
  • Be branded as a great Northeast Ohio workplace for top talent
  • Benchmark your company's performance with other top local workplaces

Learn More About NorthCoast 99

Thank You, Sponsors!
The 2019 NorthCoast 99 event is made possible with the generous support of our sponsors.

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NorthCoast 99 Celebrates 20 Years of Roaring Workplaces

NorthCoast 99 Celebrates Roaring Workplaces

PICTURED: KELLY KEEFE, PRESIDENT, ERC


On the evening of September 18, ERC’s NorthCoast 99 program celebrated two decades of honoring best Northeast Ohio workplaces for top talent. The 1920s-themed awards event drew nearly 900 guests to the Hilton Cleveland Downtown to recognize “Roaring Workplaces” for their exemplary human resource practices.

Roaring Workplaces

Early in the magical, Gatsby-inspired evening, the halls of the Hilton filled with post-Prohibition celebrants adorned in feathered headpieces, pearls, fedoras, and other festive period attire. Honorees, sponsors, and special guests mingled in dazzling reception spaces and playfully posed for photo booth pictures and roaming cameras.

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You Want to Be a Great Workplace. So Now What?

You Want to Be a Great Workplace. So Now What?

It is true that becoming a “great workplace” doesn’t happen overnight. But instead of getting overwhelmed by a seemingly endless list of programs and offerings (and money...being “great” must cost so much money!) that so called “great workplaces” should all have, let’s take a look at what it means really to be “great”—with a few practical bite-sized pieces that you might be able to tackle at your organization right now sprinkled in for good measure.

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Payroll, Taxes and Benefits, Oh My!

Human Resource professionals work daily with things like payroll and benefits inside their own organizations. But what about the companies that provide these services to many organizations? What can we learn from the professionals who work with so many different employers? We got the chance to talk with ADP, not just about the services they provide, but how to successfully help companies combine different services and technology and make life easier  for the HR professional. 

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The 15 Attributes of a Great Workplace

The 15 Attributes of a Great Workplace

ERC's NorthCoast 99 program recognizes great workplaces that excel at the attraction, retention, and motivation of top performers. ERC is proud to have recognized great workplaces in Northeast Ohio, and has accumulated a great deal of insight into what makes a workplace truly great through the research we conduct as part of the program.

What makes a great workplace that draws extraordinary employees to love coming to work every day? What makes a great workplace that attracts, retains, and motivates the very best talent?

Here are 15 attributes that we believe are characteristic of great workplaces for top talent, based on our research over the last 15 years.

1. Offer Challenging and Meaningful Work

Great workplaces understand the importance of keeping employees' work interesting, exciting, challenging and meaningful, because consistently, top performers say that challenging and meaningful work is the number one attribute they seek in a job.

2. Hire and Retain Great People

Great workplaces are made up of great people. Within great workplaces, top performers work alongside other top performers who are positive, hardworking, committed and loyal, believe in what the organization does, and participate in making the workplace great.

3. Provide Competitive Compensation

Great workplaces offer competitive and fair compensation, above-average pay increases, and opportunities to earn more pay based on performance, such as bonuses, profit sharing, and other incentives to keep and reward top performing talent as well as attract new talent.

4. Value and Reward Employee Contributions

Great workplaces show they appreciate and value employees and their contributions. They celebrate success often, and praise, recognize, and reward employees in a variety of formal and informal ways. They never miss an opportunity to say 'thanks' for employees' hard work.

5. Invest in Training and Development

Great workplaces invest in training and development for their workforce to grow their talents and capabilities. They make time for learning and support it by paying for employees to participate in various opportunities and offering/delivering a variety of training and career development programs.

6. Guide, Support, and Develop Top Performers

Through performance management practices that help guide, support, and develop exceptional performance, great workplaces provide clarity on how to be a top performer, help other employees become top performers, and assist existing top performers in sustaining top performance. Reaching for excellence each and every day is what makes great workplaces successful.

7. Encourage Work/Life Balance

Great workplaces are flexible to employees' work/life needs and encourage work/life balance by offering flexible schedules, providing generous paid time off, accommodating individual requests and needs, and creating a supportive work environment that is understanding of personal and family obligations.

8. Invest in Employees' Health and Wellness

Great workplaces genuinely care about their employees' well-being. They offer wellness options that help employees develop healthy lifestyle behaviors as well as provide an array of benefits which support their employees' health and personal welfare.

9. Involve and Empower Employees

Great workplaces involve and empower employees by listening to their input, involving them in moving the organization forward, and giving them opportunities to lead initiatives, collaborate with one another, participate in decision-making, and make a meaningful difference at work. At great workplaces, employees believe that their opinions matter and that they can positively impact their organizations.

10. Share Information About the Organization's Performance

Leaders frequently share information about the organization's performance, its financials, the vision and direction of the organization, and other critical information and updates at great workplaces. In addition, leaders regularly interact with and communicate with employees one-on-one, in small groups, and as an entire staff. Additionally, great workplaces help everyone understand the mission and purpose of the organization, and how their work connects to the big picture.

11. Are Led by Exceptional Leaders

Great workplaces are led by exceptional and inspiring leaders. Leaders set the example from the top and lead the organization well. They genuinely care about and value employees. Relationships between leaders and employees are characterized by mutual respect, trust,  honesty, and support.

12. Encourage Innovation and Growth

Great workplaces are successful, growing, and innovative. They hold themselves to high standards, are focused on delivering exceptional customer service and quality, and strive to innovate and continuously improve their organizations. They are always raising the bar in their businesses and in their workplaces.

13. Hire the Best of the Best

Great workplaces hire the best—and only the best. They recognize that a great workplace and culture results from great people. They define the talent they need, strategically recruit it, and put into place selection practices that identify top performers, as well as on-boarding practices that engage top performers and set them up for success from the start.

14. Create and Sustain a Unique Culture

Great workplaces have a unique culture that is their own, often described as fun, congenial, collaborative, positive, passionate, and creative. Their work environments, people, and workplace practices all help create a vibrant, positive, magnetic, and infectious culture.

15. Serve the Community

And last but not least, great workplaces make an impact on and give back to their local community. Not only do they generously donate their company resources to the community, but they also serve their communities by helping others in need and offering their staff's time and talents.

There is no magic formula for achieving a great workplace, and these are just some common attributes of many that great workplaces seem to have. While no workplace is perfect, many organizations strive to become a truly great workplace and come close. The NorthCoast 99 winners are among these organizations, and they, as well as all other organizations that strive everyday to be great workplaces, should be applauded for their efforts to become employers of choice in Northeast Ohio. They are truly making a difference.

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Workplace Flexibility Trends

At the Executive HR Women's Network event on March 20th, 2013, Staffing Solutions Enterprises and ERC teamed up to provide participants with information from the Alfred P. Sloan and NorthCoast 99 programs.

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