The Globe’s Top Places to Work survey honors employers who care for their most valuable resource: The people who work for them.

Those people told us that their employers pay well, offer progressive benefits and creative perks, allow the flexibility needed to have good lives both at work and at home, embrace the diverse backgrounds of their employees, and offer a promising future to all of their workers.

The Globe invited 1,586 employers to participate in the 2012 Top Places to Work survey. Of those, 304 organizations employing over 210,000 people went all the way through the process, allowing us to conduct a confidential survey of their workers.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Research partner, WorkplaceDynamics of Exton, Pa., specialists in employee engagement and retention, contacted more than 135,000 employees at those companies and received completed surveys from 81,907 individuals. They were asked to grade their organization’s performance according to 24 distinct statements, ranging from “New ideas are encouraged at this company,” to “My manager makes it easier to do my job well.”

All the employers were invited to complete a 10-question survey on workplace practice.

To compile the ranking, each employer was measured according to six factors:

Direction: Do employees have confidence in the leader of the organization? Do they believe it operates ethically, and is moving in the right direction?

Execution: Do employees believe senior managers have a good understanding of what the company needs to do to succeed, and are they sharing information well? Are new ideas encouraged?

Connection: Does the company show its appreciation for employees? Do they feel part of something meaningful and confident about their future?

My managers: Do managers care about employees’ concerns and help employees to do their job, to learn and to grow?

My work: Does the company offer formal training, encourage different points of view, offer people with a wide variety of backgrounds other opportunities to learn and grow? Does the company help workers to balance career and family life?

My pay and benefits: Are workers fairly compensated with good benefits?

All of the participating employers were placed into one of four size groups, based on the number of employees in Massachusetts, to account for the ‘‘small company effect.’’

Smaller employers tend to perform better in workplace surveys than larger ones. One reason: In smaller groups, employees tend to interact more with top management, giving them a greater sense of involvement.

Small workplaces were defined as those with 50 to 99 employees; medium workplaces were defined as those with 100 to 249; large workplaces were defined as those with 250 to 999; and the largest workplaces were those with 1,000 or more .

In order to determine how many organizations were eligible for each size band WorkplaceDynamics determined where there was a statistical drop in scores for large companies and placed the cutoff point at the nearest multiple of five.

The minimum eligibility scores for small, medium, and large employers were chosen to be statistically consistent with the spread for larger organizations.

The results were compiled in the four charts that list the top small, medium, large, and largest employers.