Top Workplaces find ways to exceed employees' expectations and help make their work more fulfilling and enjoyable.

Pam Collins was looking for a job when she applied at Friendship Village of Dublin.

What she found was a rewarding and satisfying career.

"It's one of the best things I ever did," says the hospitality ambassador who supervises some housekeeping employees and works with residents at the retirement community.

She and other central Ohio workers have high expectations for their workplaces, according toColumbus CEO'srecent survey by WorkplaceDynamics. Sixty percent of workers at Top Workplaces said it is important for their job to meet the expectations they had when they started it. For some-55 percent-the amount of training offered at work contributes to the quality of the work environment. More than half of Top Workplace employees said they value a workplace without "a lot of negativity."

"I enjoy my job," Collins says. "My co-workers make the job more pleasing."

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The company also contributes to the good vibe by inviting employees to have lunch with the CEO during their birthday month, hosting an employee appreciation day and arranging training opportunities. Employees have the opportunity to write notes praising one another for a job well done, which contributes to the positive atmosphere, she says.

There's a strong sense of teamwork, adds Nancy Palma, a nurse in the home services department. "They hire high-quality people," she says.

Hiring the right people really contributes to the workplace culture, says Lois Kolada, co-owner of Priority Designs, a Whitehall-based consulting firm that helps companies bring new product ideas to the marketplace.

She works hard to create an environment that's based on trust-a place where employees can take ownership of their work and manage how they get it done. Employees find the trust empowering and rewarding, she says.

"I would rather run my business by principles rather than rules," she says."If you trust and respect your employees, it all happens without a lot of monitoring and oversight."

Leadership staff at Grange Insurance Mutual Casualty Co. create a quality workplace through training and career development, says Kedada Bethel. She joined the company last year as a business analyst, a new career path for her.

"I feel like I am totally embraced and supported in my new career," she said.

The company runs the Grange Learning Center, where employees can take online classes on a wide variety of topics related to the business. Grange also has an emerging leaders program that trains associates interested in moving up in the company.

Supervisors really take an interest in employees' career trajectory, adds William Galonski, a leader in the claims department. "Associate development is a focus area," he says.

Supervisors make time to listen to employees' about their career goals and then help them achieve them, he says. Those efforts make employees feel good about coming to work.

"It tells you that they're investing in your development. That they want you to be successful," he says.