Charlestown recognized as Top Workplace by The Baltimore Sun

Survey reveals employees enjoy great benefits, plenty of perks, and—most of all—feel appreciated

Created date

February 19th, 2020
Charlestown Executive Director Clara Parker and Associate Executive Director Nathan Blumberg accept Top Workplaces awards on behalf of the community’s team of more than 1,200 employees.

Charlestown Executive Director Clara Parker and Associate Executive Director Nathan Blumberg accept Top Workplaces awards on behalf of the community’s team of more than 1,200 employees. 

Karen Parker wasn’t surprised to find that Charlestown made The Baltimore Sun’s 2019 Top Workplaces list. As Senior Human Resources Manager for the Catonsville-based community managed by Erickson Living, Parker knows first-hand what sets Charlestown apart.  

“We were really excited to make the list in the large business category,” says Karen. “Like all companies, Charlestown has undergone changes throughout the last thirty-five years but the fact that, after three decades, we have people who still love working in the community means a lot to us and makes us feel like we are doing something right.” 

The Baltimore Sun’s list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by research partner Energage, LLC, a leading provider of technology-based employee engagement tools. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution, and connection.

“The Top Workplaces award is about much more than recognition and celebration,” says Eric Rubino, CEO of Energage. “Our research also shows that these organizations achieve higher referral rates, lower employee turnover, and double the employee engagement levels. It just goes to show that being intentional about culture delivers bottom-line results.”

Karen was a high school student when she started working in the Dining Services department at Charlestown and went on to hold a number of roles in different departments, working her way up to Senior Human Resources Manager. 

“For me, it feels like a family here at Charlestown,” says Karen. “During my 25-year career here, I have had so many different opportunities. The scholarship fund and tuition assistance program paid for a lot of my college expenses. I have met many friends here, including my husband, who I married right here in our chapel! And I have met many grandparents, when I didn’t have any of my own. One of the best opportunities I have now is to help other staff members with their career development.”

On a mission

Charlestown’s workforce is composed of more than 1,200 full and part-time staff members in a variety of professions from clinical health care to dining services, housekeeping, maintenance, ground, transportation, social work, finance, and many other technical and administrative positions. 

Charlestown employees are driven by a shared mission to create a community that celebrates life. To that end, Charlestown has served local seniors and their families for 35 years, providing a vibrant and convenient retirement lifestyle in an amenity-rich environment. Today, more than 2,220 residents call Charlestown home

“It is an honor to be recognized among The Baltimore Sun’s Top Workplaces. I am incredibly proud and grateful to each and every member of our team who makes this community such a special place,” says Clara Parker, executive director at Charlestown. “By embracing our shared mission, we are able to cultivate a truly unique culture that not only serves our residents but also provides our team with fulfilling careers.”

In addition to being recognized as one of the region’s Top Large Employers, Charlestown also earned the Top Workplace Award for Appreciation, reflecting the sentiment that staff members feel genuinely appreciated at work. 

Charlestown staff members have many opportunities to socialize and have fun at work with one another as well as with the people who live there. Events like staff picnics and potlucks, theater productions, dance competitions, and theme parties are commonplace on the lively campus.

Staff members also enjoy a variety of perks including 401(k), flexible spending accounts, tuition reimbursement, and an on-site Employee Health and Wellness Center. Hourly workers, like line cooks and housekeepers, receive annual cash bonuses from the Staff Appreciation Fund, which is funded by donations from residents. The annual campaign is organized each year as a way for residents to say ‘thank you’ to hourly employees, who provide a variety of resident services throughout the community. This year marked a historic high, with $270,500 raised for the fund.

High school students who work in Charlestown’s seven on-site restaurants are eligible for college scholarships through Charlestown’s Scholars’ Fund. The fund provides recipients with up to $2,000 annually for four years to help offset academic tuition expenses at their college or university. Last year, $232,173 was awarded to students to advance their collegiate careers. 

“I know from experience that Charlestown is a great company to work for,” says Karen. "We have a unique culture you just won’t find in other companies. I moved from Maryland to York, Pa., in 2001 and have been commuting for the last 18 years. So, you know there’s got to be a good reason to make that trip.”