Last month, I attended NAHB’s midyear meeting in Miami and had the pleasure of sitting in on a presentation by Daniel Swift, president and CEO of Des Moines-based architecture group BSB Design.
Great Workplaces 2006
The judges' criteria for "Great Workplaces 2006" contest and the best practices that were gleaned from the 55 entrants.
Judges selected the featured companies from among 55 entries based on the following:
- Innovative recruitment and retention practices
- Professional development, education and training
- Social and corporate responsibility
- Workplace culture and environment
- Compensation and benefits
We selected three companies to highlight as Great Workplaces, but there are best practices to be gleaned from several entrants. Attracting and keeping great employees is key to providing excellent product and customer service to your clients. Happy, productive employees make a direct contribution to the bottom line.
What are you doing to make sure your employees feel supported in and rewarded for the work they do, and how are you encouraging them to go above and beyond to turn clients into "raving fans" and increase referrals?
Consider the following concepts, and see which ones can best be applied within your organization:
- COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE: Grayson Homes of Ellicott City, Md., has consistently implemented process improvements that eventually led to its 2006 Gold NHQ recognition.
- DIVERSITY OF PERSPECTIVE: Pulte Homes of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., demonstrates a strong commitment to hiring and promoting women and minorities. It has made a conscious commitment to deepening its "pools of search for talent" and "creating a more inclusive environment that values the diversity of what people bring to the table," says Kari Lawry, Pulte's national director of diversity and college recruiting. A testimony to this is the development of the annual women and diversity summits, held separately, as well as the creation of the Women's Leadership and Diversity Leadership Council. These programs have support and participation from senior management. Women are assigned men as mentors and minorities are assigned to majority staff members, which encourages "reverse mentoring."
- CULTIVATE AND VALUE NEW IDEAS: Capital Pacific of Newport Beach, Calif., encourages employees by way of its "Think Value" initiative to suggest changes to improve the way the company does business. Employees can submit their ideas to an online database and track the outcome. They can review ideas that have been submitted company-wide and see which ones have been implemented, which are under development, and which have been tabled. Since its inception in 2004, the "Think Value" idea has generated 1,011 ideas, 41 percent of which have been implemented.
- ENCOURAGE OWNERSHIP THROUGH OPENNESS: When employees know what's going on financially with the company, they can understand the impact their contributions make to the bottom line. Woodmeister Corp. in Worcester, Mass., has adopted an open-book management policy that gives employees access to financial performance data for the organization. Each year a goal is established, and monthly meetings keep everyone informed and up to date on how well the company is meeting its goals. Profits above what are needed to keep the organization solvent and growing are shared with everyone.
- CULTIVATE INITIATIVE: Pulte gives employees the freedom to implement customer satisfaction solutions and add a personal touch as they see fit. For example, one employee prints the name of a new homeowner on a golf ball and presents it to him or her, saying, "I promise to be on the ball if you ever need me!"
- EMPLOYEE BONUSES AND PROFIT SHARING: Timberlake Homes in Annapolis, Md., gives employees who are not eligible for field bonuses or sales commissions an annual bonus, distributed at the discretion of the company and based on the previous year's profitability. The bonus pool is distributed first by division, then by individuals based on a pre-set formula.
- EMPHASIS ON TRAINING AND EDUCATION: John Laing Homes in Newport Beach, Calif., offers employees training through a business objective-based education program called the John Laing University program. Its education emphasis isn't surprising; CEO Larry Webb and vice president of sales and marketing are both former teachers.
- EMPLOYEE FEEDBACK: Wayne Homes (a division of Centex) in Uniontown, Ohio, takes quarterly department surveys. An action plan is formed based on the feedback, and senior management approves the plan for implementation in the following quarter.
REWARDS FOR PERFORMANCE: Wayne Homes tabulates a monthly Key Metric Performance report that measures everything from the top new home consultants to which field manager achieved the lowest variance number per house.
The Judges Erik Froelich, chief operating officer, Cambridge Isenhour Homes in Winston-Salem, N.C., 2005 NRS Award Winner Chuck Graham, principal of Newton Graham Consultants, a Charlotte, N.C.-based management consulting firm for the home building industry, and a Professional Builder contributing editor.
Erik Froelich, chief operating officer, Cambridge Isenhour Homes in Winston-Salem, N.C., 2005 NRS Award Winner
Chuck Graham, principal of Newton Graham Consultants, a Charlotte, N.C.-based management consulting firm for the home building industry, and a Professional Builder contributing editor.
View the Professional Builder Great Workplaces 2006 Profiles:
- WCI Communities
- Pulte Homes
- Pardee Homes