Roush Honda and AC Lens keep bonds strong with an individual focus.

Roush Honda throws a standard holiday party, and then some. Not only does it add to that with other opportunities to hang out with employees at company-sponsored events, leadership isn't satisfied if employees don't bring along their families.

“We don't go out to a restaurant, we don't go to a party hall; we go somewhere where everybody can bring their families,” says President Jeff Brindley. “Every event that we do at the holidays involves the employeesand their kids. We've done it that way for 25 years now. We want it to be about the families. I want the people at the dealership to know the families of the people they work next to every day.” He adds, “The last couple years we've started some other things. We had a little gathering this year for just the employees and their spouses or guests.”

That personal care isn't relegated to company functions. Brindley says that, for the past several years, each new employee has been welcomed in-person by all members of the senior management team within five days of getting hired.

“We don't wait for somebody to bring them around and introduce them,” he says. Connecting with the company is one of the most important factors for an employee, according to Workplace Dynamics' Top Workplaces survey, with 73 percent of the top-workplace employees saying they feel genuinely appreciated at their respective jobs. One employee says of Roush Honda, “I feel like I'm part of a family,” so it must be doing something right.

Another important aspect of truly connecting? Being well-informed, according to 59 percent of survey responders. That's exactly what contact lens supply company AC Lens makes it a point to do. It incorporated “15 5's,” a weekly one-on-one meeting between manager and employee following a 15-minute survey for employee and 5-minute review for manager. It is a time to communicate thoughts or encouragement both ways, and it ensures no one fades into the workplace milieu.

“One of the good things about (15 5's) is that you have some people who are unwilling to talk in a bigger group. I think it gives those people an opportunity to have their voice heard ... it also makes things more private and more personal. It gives each employee a chance to connect with their manager and feel like they're part of the team and their work and what they have to say is actually valued in the company,” says Bob Drumm, director of marketing. And employees are given a chance to add to the company's value in other ways. For instance, non-management employees run the volunteer committee, giving them “the power to decide how AC Lens will be responsible for being a member of the community,” Drumm says.

AC Lens initiatives are felt by employees, whose comments about the company circled around one idea: that it cares about their well-being.

“(They) take great care with ensuring the happiness of their staff,” an employee says.

Chloe Teasley is the editorial assistant.