Forbes magazine’s latest list of the best employers among companies with more than 5,000 employees has a local component: Rockledge-based Health First Inc. made the list, checking in at No. 407.
The list is based on online surveys of more than 60,000 U.S. employees. The surveys were anonymous, so participants could openly share their opinions. All U.S. companies in the employment count category were eligible for the recognition.
Forbes partnered with market research company Statista for the survey, which asked employees in 25 industries questions about compensation, development opportunities, working conditions, diversity and company image. Participants also were asked to rate their likelihood to recommend their employer to friends and family, and to evaluate other employers in their industry that stood out either positively or negatively.
Health First was one of 17 Florida-based companies and one of 48 hospital or health care systems on the list. It was the only Brevard-based company on the list.
The top-ranked employer was The Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia. No. 2 was the Southern Co., a utility holding company. The top-ranked company with a local connection was NASA, at No. 3.
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Among other technology companies with Brevard connections high on the list were Lockheed Martin (No. 41), SpaceX (No. 88) and Northrop Grumman (No. 90).
FPL parent company NextEra Energy was ranked No. 125, Publix was No. 168, Disney was No. 273 and SeaWorld was No. 377.
In discussing the survey results in an accompanying article, Forbes staff writer Samantha Todd said one of the surprises was the strong performance of health care companies. This category made up about one-quarter of the top 50 on the list and half of the top 10, despite issues of burnout exacerbated during the pandemic.
The overall survey found that many hospital workers said they were performing purposeful work that fulfilled them, Todd noted.
In commenting on the results and Health First making the list, Health First Chief Nursing Officer Cheyana Fischer said: “We’ve seen day in and day out the sacrifices our associates have made — both at work and home — during the COVID-19 pandemic. We know how truly amazing our people are.”
Health First Chief Executive Officer Steve Johnson said: “When I think of the last two years and everything our associates, physicians and volunteers have endured throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I am proud their unwavering commitment to our customers has been recognized. I am honored to work alongside these associates and witness firsthand how their resilience, determination and compassion for our community has shone brightly every day during one of the most challenging times in history.”
Health First spokesman Lance Skelly said being on the list “is a tremendous honor for Health First. With over 10,000 U.S. companies reporting over 1,000 employees, Health First’s inclusion among the nation’s top 500 becomes even more special, and I believe is a positive reflection on and cause for celebration for all of Brevard County and the Space Coast.”
Health First operates Cape Canaveral Hospital in Cocoa Beach, Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Palm Bay Hospital and Viera Hospital. Its operations also include health insurance plans, a multispecialty medical group, and outpatient and wellness services. The company has about 9,000 employees.
Another trend Forbes cited in the rankings was that many restaurant companies that previously were on the list fell off the list. Forbes attributed that in part to pandemic-related restrictions and labor shortages.
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