It all starts with a nomination.

For the third year, Columbus CEO and WBNS-10TV joined forces with WorkplaceDynamics to identify and celebrate the Top Workplaces in central Ohio, growing the list by 10 this year to 60.

Here's how we do it:

Someone thinks her or his workplace is special and fills out an online form. The window for nominations opens in August and runs through mid-September. Central Ohio companies with at least 50 employees are eligible to participate by inviting employees to compete an online or paper survey.

From that first step, WorkplaceDynamics LLC of Exton, Pa., follows up to explore interest by the company or organization in participating in an employee survey. This year more than 100 for-profit and nonprofit businesses and organizations with over 36,000 employees took part, generating more than 15,000 responses.

WorkplaceDynamics has been in the business of recognizing and helping create top work environments since 2006, surveying more than 1 million employees in over 5,000 organizations each year. The surveys use a seven-point scale to determine how companies rate with their employees on nearly two dozen statements indicative of positive work environments.

A 35-percent minimum response rate is required for a company to be fully evaluated. Companies are encouraged to survey all employees, but larger companies may elect to send surveys to a minimum sample size. Control questions ask employees to rate their workplace on a scale of 0 to 99. Finally, statistical tests are run to weed out any questionable results.

Companies completing the survey process are grouped by size and ranked within their size bands, since smaller organizations tend to score higher than larger companies. Those ranked highest within their bands are identified at the year's Top Workplaces. Special Awards go to employers with standout scores on specific survey statements, such as. "I feel genuinely appreciated at this company" or "I get the formal training I want for my career."