Since July 2010, a benefit that Winning Workplaces has offered to our email subscribers is a weekly tip featuring people practices that successful small businesses (our 2010 Top Small Company Workplaces award applicants) are using to increase their top line revenue and bottom line profitability.
So you can get a sense of this learning we have shared, below is a list of the 10 most popular tips. Links are included for more related information on our website.
|“We ask our employees to answer, on a week to week basis, certain questions that directly influence how we proceed: How did I improve myself and add value to my client, my team, and the company? How did I deliver more value to our client base? How did I increase sales while keeping quality consistent? How did I reduce operating expenses by utilizing technology? How did I become more effective personally? The only measureable result needed is our growth rate amidst a market that is saturated with competition: Between our founding in 2005 and 2009, we have grown more than 2000 percent.”||Continuous employee feedback|
|The Leadership and Learning Center
|“Our employees design our people practices – everything from our benefit structure (employee committees create them) and benefit evaluation (twice annual surveys). That is why turnover, which had been 30-40% in the late 1990s, has been in low single digits for the past several years.”||Employee committee|
Internet services/data processing
|“Giving employees the freedom to make mistakes, admit them quickly, and be proactive in correcting them has allowed us to refine our development process in an iterative manner across all functional teams. As a result, project profitability has increased an average of 20 percent for each of the past two years.”||Learning from mistakes|
Data processing, other information services
|“There’s a direct link from positive work environment practices to bottom line profitability. Creating the positive work environment starts at the top with the owners and senior management communicating to employees about business opportunities and asking for their help in making the company easy to do business with and delivering high quality work products. When employees know that you care about them, they go the extra mile in maintaining quality and building our company’s reputation.”||Leadership tone|
|Red Door Interactive
San Diego, CA
|“Our most popular core value among employees is ‘100% Jerk Free Environment.’ It has been a powerful tool in maintaining our culture, stability and profitability. In one recent circumstance, our executive team made the decision to stop working with a client whose account made up a significant portion of our revenue because we felt they were violating our ‘Jerk Free’ value. While painful in the short term because of lost revenue, we calculate a net gain in the long term because we were able to retain four key employees who we feel would have left Red Door if we had continued this particular client relationship.”||Core values|
|“Our Director of Operations, who has been with the company for 10 years, continually offers his ‘jack of all trades’ skills, in addition to his daily functions as a Controller and office Administrator; he also serves as our ‘in-house’ IT person by designing/updating our website, monitoring the company server, managing the ‘in-house’ email and Outlook Express system, and servicing computers on a daily basis, including installation of software, replacement of hardware, correcting daily computer glitches, etc. These additional functions preclude the company from hiring an ‘in-house’ IT person, a website designer, or even an outside computer consultant; ultimately, reducing the company’s staff overhead and increasing net operating income. In return, he is paid a quarterly bonus, based on quarterly revenues and profitability. Our Office Manager, who has been with the company for six years, supervises two employees who are responsible for daily production. However, on a daily basis she will ‘roll up her sleeves’ and assist in production, enabling the company to enhance daily billings from 10% to 20% without hiring an additional part-time staff person.”||Cross training|
|“The company embraces the philosophies of the book How Full is Your Bucket? by practicing giving ‘drops,’ a way to immediately recognize a job well done. Drops can be for anything that an employee does that is above and beyond their normal work routine. Employees can give drops to one another – it’s not just supervisors recognizing their staff.”||Employee recognition|
Elk Grove Village, IL
|“Change is necessary to survive. Marketplace differentiators are needed to be sustainable. This is best done by encouraging all three generations (Boomer, X and Millennial) to work together to create white space for our growth. The encouragement has been successful. We acquired a competitor based on the advice of our 28 year old CFO. Our marketing department is comprised of five young females, ranging in age from 21 to 26. They told leadership that 80% of the buyers of consumable products are women, 85% of Tasty Catering’s clients are women and women will be the majority gender in the workforce by 2011. Therefore TC’s branding should be slanted to the female buyer. The Leadership Team told them that this was their circle of discipline, and they were free and responsible to do what was necessary for success. Their work is a finalist for a major industry marketing award.”||Workforce generations|
Employee group benefit brokerage/ consulting
|“For 13 years we have had 97% controlled client retention and positive annual revenue growth. Our Strategic Hiring Process is a key building block to this success. McGraw Wentworth invests over $10,000 in each new hire, following a strict process including: 1. HR Director reviews the resume and compares the applicant’s skill sets against current open positions. 2. A prescreen telephone interview is conducted. 3. A personal interview is conducted by HR and if the interview is favorable, the candidate is asked to take two assessments. 4. Candidates meet with key account team members. 5. Select candidates then meet with the senior staff member(s). 6. If all has gone well in the previous steps, then the candidate will spend a half day with an external organizational psychologist for additional assessment. 7. Based on the outcomes of the assessments and interviews, and on the recommendations of the participating team members, a candidate will interview with the President. 8. An offer is made to the best-qualified candidate in terms of skills, personality, and ‘fit’ with the company.”||Hiring process|
|Potestivo & Associates, P.C.
Rochester Hills, MI
|“Each employee is acutely aware of what is expected of them on a day-to-day basis, and as we have reduced the ‘gray-areas’ of each role, we have seen productivity increase. Technology has played the most vital role in this, as, for instance, staff members are able to input data into a ‘hot-doc’ system that will produce documents quickly, efficiently, and greatly reduce human error. As we created this program we saw a direct decrease in payroll costs, as we were able to reduce data-entry time and, in turn, increase work volume. We also saw a direct decrease in careless errors as we increased the automation of our case management system.”||Using technology more efficiently|