For some, a workplace is a second home. At the least, most employees want to be needed and challenged in order to feel fulfilled in their jobs.

For the eighth year, the Star Tribune is partnering with Workplace­Dynamics to survey Minnesota companies to find the Top Workplaces. Nominations are open on Sunday, Jan. 8.

In 2016, for the second year in a row, Minnesota had the highest overall rankings and the most companies that met the criteria for a Top Workplace in the more than 45 regions across the country that WorkplaceDynamics surveys.

Leaders predicted that with such a tight job market, benefits — both tangible and intangible — are likely to become more important to survey takers this year.

People can nominate any organization with 50 or more employees in Minnesota. WorkplaceDynamics will then contact the companies, which must decide whether to allow workers to take a short survey sometime between January and April. Only those organizations that agree to be surveyed are included for consideration in the results.

The nomination deadline is Feb. 24. Nominations can be made at or by calling 612-605-3306.

WorkplaceDynamics asks employees to rank 24 statements to measure the following three elements of the workplace:

• Organizational health (company values, execution, leadership and culture).

• My job (pay, training, managers and work/life balance).

• Engagement (employees' motivation, desire to stay and willingness to recommend their workplace to others).

In Minnesota, survey respondents said statements relating to connection and alignment were among the most important to them, while pay and benefits were among the least important.

In all, 1,556 workplaces were asked to participate, and 385 agreed to be surveyed. The firms employed 119,298 people in Minnesota, and 74,182 of those employees filled out surveys.

In the end, after the surveys were tallied, the 150 top scorers were split into large, midsize and small categories and ranked. Another 110 employers met WorkplaceDynamics' national standards but didn't score high enough for the ranked lists. (See the lists on pages 15 through 18.)

Many employees in the survey talked about intangibles such as being valued.

In a tight labor market, it's not surprising that the surveys also showed companies raising pay but also offering flexible workplace policies such as options for compressed workweeks or telecommuting. Perks at some companies also include student loan repayments, help with transportation and housing issues or helping find health care providers. Many of the companies on last year's lists also offered some sort of profit-sharing program and leadership development opportunities.

A special section showcasing the Top Workplaces winners for this year and a luncheon to honor them will be produced in June.