Conference Center Places #3 on List of Garden State’s Medium Size Companies

Basking Ridge, NJ, November 2020 … Benchmark at The Ridge, an executive learning and development center, took top honors as one of the “Best Places to Work in New Jersey 2020,” awarded by the state’s noted business publication, NJBIZ. The prestigious awards program recognizes and honors the state’s leading employers who are committed to their employees’ professional growth and quality of life and to the community’s economic growth and well-being.  Benchmark at The Ridge ranked #3 on the list of medium size companies, employing from 50-249 employees. The conference center placed #7 in 2019, its first year in operation. It currently employs a staff of 132, all of whom have remained on the payroll, despite the tremendous challenges raised by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are doubly honored by this award, that recognizes not only our commitment to our staff and their development, but also our team’s valiant efforts in the face of the conference center hotel industry’s greatest crisis,” says General Manager Michael Taylor. Winners were voted on before the Covid-19 pandemic took hold and the hotel’s response to the crisis proved its commitment to its employees, guests and the community. All 132 employees have remained on the payroll, using this time constructively by collectively completing 7000 hours in virtual and onsite training in Covid protocols and various aspects of work and life.

Benchmark at The Ridge’s Covid training is consistently enhanced as new protocols are developed. Current procedures include masks, social distancing, virtual meetings verses large gatherings, plastic barriers in guest facing areas, cleaning all touch points every two hours and installation of a UV light system in all air handlers.

Staff training also focuses on professional and life skills, spanning diversity and inclusion, job skills, service, leadership development, personal development, hospitality, safety, and international food and culture using Rouxbe, the culinary training program recognized by the American Culinary Education Federation.

“In addition to training, our team is dedicated to supporting Hometown Hospitality and community spirit initiatives,” according to Mike Taylor.  “Since quarantine began, we’ve raised over $7000 for cancer research and awareness, hosted flu shot clinics for employees and their families, washed employee cars, donated hundreds of pounds of food and 43 backpacks to Nourish NJ.

“We are very proud of what we’ve accomplished during these difficult months and very grateful for Benchmark at The Ridge’s support,” says Melissa Vargas, server in the property’s restaurant. “We’ve had a chance to develop personally and professionally and to help our neighbors at a critical time. And, we have the advanced skills to keep ourselves and our guests safe upon reopening.”

Since NJBIZ collects data confidentially, employees can be candid in sharing their views and this information greatly benefits employers, according to Michael Taylor. “The feedback we receive shows us how we can successfully make changes and determine how best to help our team to embrace Benchmark’s core principles.” The mission of Benchmark Global Hospitality, the facility’s operating partner, is “to provide an entrepreneurial environment where determined people dare to create, share, and build futures, and to ‘Be the Difference’ in guest service delivery and in caring for and supporting fellow employees.”

Best Places to Work in New Jersey is a survey competition to determine which participants are the best employers. The process is managed by Best Companies Group (BCG) and winners are published by NJBIZ. Best Companies Group is an independent research firm specializing in identifying and recognizing great places to work in the US, UK and Canada.  The company conducts confidential surveys of employees and provides entrants with valuable feedback and significant organizational benefits. These include competitive recruiting efforts, improved employee morale and retention, marketing and public relations advantages and enhanced reputation and company pride.

This year’s list is broken down into three categories: 32 small companies (15-49 employees), 48 medium companies (50-249 employees), and 40 large companies (250+ employees). For more information on the 2019 Best Places to Work in New Jersey program, please visit