Nominations are now open for our seventh annual issue of Top Workplaces.

The Star Tribune is again teaming with Pennsylvania research firm WorkplaceDynamics. Its survey measures which companies are high achievers in employee satisfaction based exclusively on employee feedback. The company surveyed 1.5 million employees at 7,000 organizations in 2015. Those organizations that meet the national standard qualify for regional Top Workplaces lists across the country.

Last year, Minnesota scored the highest of 45 regions in workplace satisfaction. Minnesota is the first region to have 226 companies that met the standard, enough to increase the number of ranked Top Workplaces from 100 to 150 last year. More than 69,000 employees at 343 organizations participated in last year's 22-question survey.

"The Top Workplaces award is not a popularity contest," said Doug Claffey, CEO of WorkplaceDynamics. "Oftentimes, people assume it's all about fancy perks and benefits, [but] to be a Top Workplace, organizations must meet our strict standards for organizational health."

For example, the most important factor in work satisfaction was connectivity, with 76 percent of employees surveyed rating it as important. Pay and benefits, by contrast, were ranked last in importance at 51 percent.

"The results prove once again that what's most important to employees is belief in where the organization is headed, how it's going to get there, and the feeling that everyone is in it together," Claffey said.

The increase in the number of companies meant that more made the list for the first time last year, including the No. 1 ranked business on our list of large companies, SPS Commerce. In total, 55 companies made their Top Workplaces debut in 2015.

Thirteen companies have made the rankings in each of the six years that the Star Tribune has partnered with WorkplaceDynamics.

Minnesota companies scored higher than the rest of the nation on almost all factors, with values and ethics, confidence in leadership, and responding to concerns receiving the most positive ratings.

WorkplaceDynamics asks employees to rank 22 statements to measure the following three elements of the workplace:

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

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

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

WorkplaceDynamics started by contacting 2,107 companies last year. To qualify, companies had to have at least 50 employees and agree to allow WorkplaceDynamics to send them a confidential survey. There is no charge to companies or employees, and they are not compensated for their participation. Employers are ranked solely on the scores generated by employee responses.

If you know of a Minnesota company or nonprofit organization with 50 or more employees that deserves to be considered for this year's Top Workplaces, submit your nomination at startribune.com/nominate or call 612-605-3306. Nominations must be submitted by Feb. 26. Employees at participating companies will be surveyed through March by WorkplaceDynamics. A special section showcasing the Top Workplaces will be published in June.

The top large, midsize and small companies from 2015 are listed on the following pages, together with the companies that met the national standard for a top workplace.