By J.D. Booth
Oct. 4, 2012
“Good people are hard to find.”
There’s a reason sayings like this become part of our culture. It’s because, good times or challenging, attracting and retaining the very best people is one of those distinctly challenging skills that will always remain in the crosshairs of management.
It’s just something that takes an extraordinary and ongoing attention to detail.
Still, there are those exceptional companies that seem to do a particularly good job at bringing in new talent and keeping and developing the people they already have.
Consider these examples:
Angott Search Group is led by Mark Angott, who seeks to actively engage his workforce through social media tools as well as encouraging telecommuting. Angott also focuses on hiring based on the firm’s core values, including enthusiasm, confidence, honesty and commitment.
Jeff Styers, who runs Arrow Strategies, says listening is an important reason his firm is so successful. “We want to ensure their success with Arrow Strategies and have found through best practice that the first 30 to 45 days of their employment is the most valuable time to engage them to ensure long-term retention,” notes Styers.
One of the more common traits we discovered by looking at this year’s crop of winners is a continued emphasis on work-life balance.
Such is the case with companies like Ryan LLC, a tax consultancy with Brint Ryan at the helm.
“You cannot receive the very best business results, unless you have happy, productive and enthusiastic employees. We do everything we can to build an organization and implement innovative programs that encourage employees to be productive and focus on work-life success.”
There are, quite literally, dozens more firms like Angott, Arrow and Ryan on our list. We call them Metro Detroit’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For. And we think you will too.
A.E. Mourad Agency Inc.
An independent agency based in Michigan. A.E. Mourad creates custom designed employee benefits solutions to best serve the goals and objectives of the organizations it serves. For more than a quarter century, its professionals have made its clients’ satisfaction its number one priority. The firm is widely recognized as one of Metro Detroit’s largest family-owned and operated insurance agencies specializing in employee benefits. Its employees have worked hard to earn the respect and trust of those it serves and always have its clients’ best interests in mind. As a result, it has developed lasting, long-term relationships with its clients, many of whom have been with the agency 20 years or more.
Amerisure Insurance Co.
Amerisure has what it believes is a winning formula for making sure its performance continues to rise: deliver a rich menu of employee benefits and watch recruitment, engagement, retention and performance improve. Add in generous leave programs that provide financial protection and peace of mind for those who need time off due to illness, injury or caring for close family members, and you begin to get the picture. Says CEO Richard F. Russell: “Amerisure has a long history of differentiating itself from the competition through a highly talented workforce committed to extraordinary customer-oriented service delivery.” Employees who hold themselves to “extremely high expectations and standards” are part of what Russell says is the logical result. “Our employees know they can make a significant positive impact every day.” By aspiring to hire and develop the best, Amerisure continues to succeed. High-performing employees compete to attend a “Champions through Excellence” conference held at a resort, providing them with an opportunity to interact with the highest levels within the company and to provide valuable input to strategically focused topics. During the year, Amerisure provides challenging opportunities to expand employee horizons, including specific development programs that offer fast-track growth for recent college graduates and professionals looking for a career change. The company also supports the involvement of employees in worthy causes, notably Cornerstone Schools, Vista Maria, Junior Achievement and Special Olympics. Employee webinars on “enrichment” topics not necessarily directly related to the employee’s job, offer advice on topics such as time management, thriving in times of change, and exploring emotional intelligence.
Angott Search Group
For Angott Search Group, staying on top of technology is an imperative, especially when it comes to not only attracting the best talent, but keeping them once they’re part of the team. Mark Angott, the firm’s president, acknowledges the importance of people being able to stay connected with people in their network and treating individuals like the individual brand they are, not just for Angott Search Group. “We understand that each person is a business entity within them and we want to help them build that business with social media, e-campaigns and other marketing tools,” says Angott. Recognizing contributions to the organization is also a key goal of the company. Telecommuting is encouraged and the company has found itself able to expand geographically as a result. Hiring is based on core values, among them honesty, enthusiasm, confidence, commitment and personal growth. “Our core values guide the business and influence our dealings with both our clients and our candidates,” adds Angott. “Achieving distinction as one of the nation’s largest and most successful search firms was not an easy feat. We did it by being the partners of choice among many companies. Always striving to be the best is one reason our clients greatly appreciate and value us.”
If you build it, they will come. That phrase may have become popular from the classic “Field of Dreams” movie, but for Applied Imaging, a Michigan-based provider of document Imaging and managed IT services, creating a place where people want to come to work everyday is a big part of how management has crafted the organization. “We’ve spent a great deal of time working to build team unity, achieve our goals, and have fun,” notes CEO John Lowery. A prize wheel that employees get to spin for exemplary effort helps to build on that unity theme. Employees are also encouraged to give back to the community on company time. Work-life balance is also stressed, adds Lowery. “We understand that employees work to provide for their family, but it is a side benefit if they enjoy the work they do. Again, it’s about building team unity, achieving our goals, and having fun. We make adjustments in schedules to compensate for important family issues or time away.” Additionally, Applied Imaging hosts speakers who help emphasize the humanistic side of work. “They learn valuable life lessons during these events,” says Lowery.
From onsite lunches and group webinars to an innovative set of “perk programs” that even includes pre-paid legal services employees can use when needed, Arrow Strategies has made it a focus to look for ways to engage its workforce. The staffing company, primarily focused on IT services, recognizes that bringing in new employees is very much a key. Says CEO Jeff Styers: “We make it more than HR’s responsibility to listen to employees. We want to ensure their success with Arrow Strategies and have found through best practice that the first 30 to 45 days of their employment is the most valuable time to engage them to ensure long-term retention. This tool provides us a priceless opportunity to learn what makes our employees tick.” Promoting work-life balance is also part of the firm’s strategy for success. “We know that happy employees are more productive employees, so we make every effort to ensure that all of their needs are addressed both professionally and personally,” adds Styers. “With the stresses of the outside world, we have made a concerted effort to help our employees maintain their overall health both mentally and physically.” Flexible scheduling is also part of that mix.
At ASG Renaissance, CEO Beth Ardisana likes to see the firm as being more than a little different from her competition in the staffing area. “The staffing business has been traditionally viewed as a short-term work arrangement, in which human capital is dispensable and interchangeable,” she notes. “In contrast, ASG views its people as the most critical assets, and treats them accordingly.” With a wide range of initiatives, including those covering wellness, and a focus on corporate values that include integrity, continuous process improvement, concern for the environment and giving back to the community, ASG Renaissance is just different enough to make a difference. “Our compensation program is robust, our benefits program covers the full-spectrum, with medical, dental, vision, disability plans, life insurance, and flexible spending accounts,” notes Ardisana. But one of the most important components may be the rewarding work opportunities. “Some of our associates are retired from other companies, but work for us because we provide engaging, challenging and autonomous work through our clients in high-tech defense, automotive, security and educational industries. Our associates love the work they do, feel they are making a contribution, and can see the immediate impact their performance has on the advancement of technology in their fields.”
Austin Financial Group LLC
When CEO Dean Austin set out to develop a culture conducive to a work-life balance, he lead his team of benefits professionals through a strategy that has included ways to build camaraderie and a sense of team. Among the tactics: an eight-week yoga class, monthly company-sponsored breakfasts and lunches, and shorter workdays surrounding holidays and special occasions. “We want to take steps to help people stay motivated and feel appreciated,” says Austin. A low turnover rate is among the results that Austin says is part of a winning strategy. But that doesn’t mean the hiring process is a piece of cake. “We attract critical skill employees by keeping the interview process intensive, offering a competitive salary and benefits package, and utilizing unique recruiting tools.” It’s also a challenging environment. “At the same time, it provides opportunities for development and recognition, which makes a great formula for retaining these critical skill employees.” The company, notes Austin, is one that capitalizes on its smaller size. “It allows for employees to be seen as real people, instead of a number. Our relaxed, open door policy makes each employee feel comfortable and encourages interaction. This flexibility and openness allows AFG to promote quality of life at work and beyond.”
This global powerhouse when it comes to 3D design software, Autodesk has adopted a three-pillar “employee value proposition” that it uses for the attraction and retention of talent. Being a company with “cool and innovative technology” is one of those of those pillars, with one proof being customers who were on the stage to receive the last 16 Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects. Being an important company is a close second: put into practice by helping people “imagine design and create a better world. Finally, having a culture of respect is one that’s measured as part of Autodesk’s annual global employee engagement survey, which shows an average 93 percent employee response rate over the last seven years. Every four years, employees are eligible for a six-week paid sabbatical. Employees are also strongly encouraged to give back to their community through a matching gifts program based on employee volunteer hours. As Autodesk CEO Carl Bass points out, the company’s talent acquisition team has garnered national attention for its recruiting practices. “We were an early adopter of using Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and other tools to attract and source talent. And we’ve implemented a transformational, radically new performance management program this year, one that eliminates ratings and focuses on providing regular on-going coaching and feedback.”
Barton Malow Co.
Clearly, Barton Malow has defined itself as a premier construction company over decades of experience, it’s still demonstrating a willingness to maintain a cutting edge advantage when it comes to its workforce. One example: having a psychologist as a member of the talent management team, focused on engagement, training and development. Being able to focus on self-awareness, change, diversity, values, emotions and motivating others has led to enhanced working relationships among participants and positive feedback, notes President Ryan Maibach, who provides an open forum for employee comments. The company also looks to Ann Arbor-based Denison Consulting to formally measure its corporate culture based on Adaptability, Mission, Involvement and Consistency. The result of the Denison Survey has been a redevelopment and reestablishment of Barton Malow core values and purpose, with the launch taking place in April 2012. The company now continues to reinforce the messages with videos, messages from leadership and business practices. For new employees, a key point of attraction is the wide range of opportunities they see in the construction industry. “We encourage employees to expand their careers by working in various markets in an array of positions,” notes Maibach. “This helps us attract and retain our employees for many years.”
BDO USA LLP
At BDO, a professional services firm, there’s more than lots of talk about developing and maintaining relationships, especially with employees. “We believe communication is key to any good relationship, business or personal,” notes CEO Jack Weisbaum, who will retire at the end of October when Wayne Berson takes the reigns of the 100-year-old firm. BDO works hard to foster strong communication in its local offices and administers a bi-annual internal Employee Engagement Survey to give employees the opportunity to anonymously provide feedback on “everything BDO”-from local leadership to companywide initiatives. “That way we can identify the effectiveness of our programs and the needs of our professionals and react accordingly,” notes Weisbaum. The company also works hard to create, implement and sustain innovative strategies to bring out the best in its employees, initiatives that include a wide-ranging “Total Rewards” program, the opportunity for senior level associates to work in different BDO offices throughout the world, wellness initiatives and, yes, a wide range of communication vehicles, including an internal news site that delivers information on company news, initiatives and successes. “BDO knows that employees who work in environments offering high levels of flexibility report significantly higher levels of satisfaction, performance, commitment and loyalty than those with low levels of flexibility,” says Weisbaum.
“Deliberately intense.” That’s how Billhighway, a firm established in 1999 to solve a problem its dorm room founders had in splitting up everyday university expenses, describes its hiring process. Even today, the privately held firm has managed to set itself apart from the crowd by mostly promoting from within and adhering to its mission: to do more good in the world. Indeed, the company playbook underscores that decidedly outside the box ideal: “Making money is nice; making a difference is even better.” A charitable volunteer program encourages taking paid time off to volunteer for a non-profit, one example being Gleaner’s Community Food Bank, where Billhighway staff helped pack 2,865 pounds of corn and cabbage for distribution through Metro Detroit communities. The next week, more employees returned, packing 10,108 pounds of produce. Even now, a relentless desire to improve continues, with team member surveys and the processing of feedback through an enterprise social network. The company sees the showing of appreciation as an important part of its culture, with leaders intent on recognizing performance, contributions and efforts through company announcements and regular meetings. Opportunities for professional growth and advancement are also on the Billhighway menu. And when new employees are hired? The referring team member can earn a reward bonus averaging $2,500.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
You might expect an organization focused on health to have well designed and organized wellness programs. And that would be the case with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. But the non-profit organization, led by CEO Daniel J. Loepp has taken the attention to creating a place people want to work to a much higher level, obviously embracing the concept that a healthier workforce is a more satisfied and productive workforce. Still, competitive salary is part of the equation for the organization, which benchmarks employers in similar industries to make sure the pay levels and benefits are competitive. BCBSM also has a number of work-life balance initiatives, among them flexible work schedules, job sharing, ride-share, telecommuting and family events. Onsite learning and resource centers in several of its locations are staffed with certified teachers to assist employees in improving their math, reading, and computer skills at a self-guided pace. Advancement opportunities are part of the BCBSM experience; the average employee tenure is 13 years. BCBSM is hoping at least a few of those will choose to live in downtown Detroit. It does so by offering financial incentives for employees to live where they work-up to $20,000 in a forgivable loan toward the purchase of a primary residence for new homeowners and renters allowances as well.
Bridgewater Interiors LLC
Goal-oriented. Hardworking. Always focused on the job. At Bridgewater Interiors, a joint venture of Johnson Controls, a group of dedicated individuals takes great pride in their work and contributions to the automotive industry and the communities in which they live. Employee morale is high and the atmosphere is contagious. The company is committed to leading the industry in the engagement, appreciation, support, and development of all its employees. On-site, active ownership involvement helps preserve a culture that ensures employees know they are valued. Open-door access to senior management, recognition, the sharing of accolades, and responsiveness to employee concerns and suggestions all contribute to an environment where people feel appreciated and know their contributions matter. Valuing the opinions of its employees, Bridgewater annually surveys the entire workforce on areas such as: involvement, recognition, employee engagement, safety, quality and continuous improvement.
Broder & Sachse Real Estate Services
It’s true that Rich Broder, who heads Broder and Sachse Real Estate, wants employees at the company to “work hard and play hard.” Through a combination of work-life balance that embraces flexible schedules, working from home, and a four-week sabbatical starting at 10 years and five years thereafter, the firm is on the right track. But communication is also key. “Informed employees are satisfied employees so we make sure to communicate what is happening with the company on a regular basis,” says Broder. Those initiatives include a semi-annual State of the Union company meeting, attended by every employee. Listening is also part of the equation. “We constantly encourage and genuinely listen to employee feedback –both from employee to manager but also stressing an open door access to all of executive management.” In return, Broder and Sachse expects employees to live into its core values. As growth has occurred, Broder says the firm has taken care not to adopt a cookie-cutter approach to meeting employee needs. “We’ve maintained the same personalized attention that we had when (there were) only a handful of employees. This allows managers, HR, and executives to realize and meet the unique needs of each employee.”
Brown & Brown of Detroit
The wholly owned subsidiary of the nation’s seventh largest insurance intermediary, Brown and Brown of Detroit understands that its continued growth will depend on how successful it will be in attracting and retaining employees. As CEO Gene LoVasco explains: “Our commitment to our employees is our extensive sales, management and team mentoring and our career path planning to give the resources and tools to help employees achieve a long lasting, fulfilling career at Brown & Brown of Detroit.” A variety of employee engagement activities, including a cash suggestion program, company events, hiring bonuses, mentoring programs, educational opportunities, and flex, part-time and job sharing are all part of the strategy. So is a well-designed management development and employee growth program, one that includes tuition reimbursement and educational seminars. Employees also enjoy a productive work environment where creativity and resourcefulness are rewarded by a variety of bonus and incentive programs. As a community member, various school and community service projects such as student mentoring programs, food and clothing drives, blood drives, jean day charity, and involvement in charities such as Habitat for Humanity are included in the Brown & Brown culture. At the same time, the company strives to maintain a consistent level of service and experience. “We offer a robust paid internship program and a comprehensive training program in which we mentor and grow a professional workforce and our future leaders,” adds LoVasco.
Cambridge Consulting Group
At Cambridge Consulting Group, the business is Wealth Strategies, Benefits Consulting and Risk Management. The company recognizes that each member of the team is critical to the success of the enterprise. Maintaining this outlook has helped Cambridge Consulting Group build an organization where employees are empowered to better themselves and the company through training, continued education, challenging work assignments and an emphasis on work/life balance. “This award reflects the caliber of individuals who have chosen to bring their talents, expertise and passion to Cambridge,” says Albert W. Papa, chairman and CEO. “Providing a great work environment for our employees ensures that Cambridge will have a strong team in place to help guide and protect the needs of our wholly unique clients for years to come.” A highly qualified team of financial professionals and benefits specialists work together to craft strategies that are right for the needs of its employees and clients.
Clayton & McKervey PC-¨
Managing Director Kevin McKervey calls the company with his name in it “razor focused” on growth driven, middle market companies that compete in the global marketplace. “Unlike a lot of our competition, we do not service not-for-profits, governmental, publicly traded, or highly regulated industries,” McKervey says. The implication for employees choosing to join the firm is a sense of connection. “Expect to be connected around the community and the world,” says the firm’s website. There’s also an expectation that employees will be challenged, with issues that inspire staff to push their own professional limits. Employees are also invited to control their own destiny, with more opportunities to work in all areas of public accounting-including tax, audit, financial planning, retirement plans, tax consulting and family wealth preservation. Having the flexibility to balance work and life is also key at the firm. With a flexible schedule, many employees can do it all — have a career, time for family and friends, and time for themselves. Sure, they work hard, but they balance that with fun things to do. The company is also “highly committed” to the development of staff and provides opportunities for lifelong learning through internal and external training opportunities.
Community Financial Credit Union
It’s a credit union with an interesting history. With its roots as a credit union for the employees of the Daisy Air Rifle Company, what is now the Community Financial Credit Union has continued to serve area residents (Daisy moved out of the area seven years after the credit union opened its doors), attracting the kind of employee who is able to live up to the passion for service that CEO Bill Lawton carries on today. Also key to the success of CFCU are two longstanding core principles: “People helping people” and “Not for profit, not for charity, but for service.” The organization continues to look for enthusiastic team members who proactively focus on providing outstanding service to credit union members. The credit union hires people who are bright, positive and eager to learn. Those employees, like CFCU, value a work-life balance and work together to provide outstanding service to its members.
Computer and Engineering Services Inc.
Since 1984, Computer and Engineering Services Inc. and its affiliates have been staffing professional IT and engineering candidates in positions across the country. Industry trained experts recruit only top talent, providing clients with unparalleled flexibility and reliability. CES strives to provide the most efficient, cost-effective, and beneficial services to both clients and employees. Utilizing a strategic partnership approach, recruiting staff identifies employer and employee matching on an advanced platform including skills, objectives, and qualifications to ensure a good fit for both parties. As an ISO 9001:2008 certified organization, the company’s commitment to place quality candidates is evident. Full-time employees are offered a competitive compensation package including a comprehensive benefit plan and continuous training in their chosen field. This leads to committed long-term employees with minimal turnover.
Computer Consultants of America
Balancing work and life is no easy task. It’s one reason CCI takes pride in recognizing just how intricate that balance can be, putting in place ways to make it just a little easier. With a variety of family-focused activities-among them “Family Day with the Tigers”-as well as flex-time hours, job sharing opportunities and one of the few matching retirement and children’s college plans in the industry, CI is investing in its future. A full benefits program, the company says, helps take some of the financial burdens, in turn helping with work performance through a positive corporate atmosphere. Retention rates consistently in the 90 percent range are evidence that the strategy is working. Bringing new employees on board is done through a multi-level screening process that has a quarter century of success behind it. Having created a sense of family with corporate values similar to those in a family, staff treats each other as an integral part of the business. “Our employees stay with CCI because we train our recruiters to be exceptional in knowing the needs of the employees they place,” notes Debbie Klein, office manager.
Computerized Facility Integration
With continued growth on the horizon, CFI CEO Robert Verdun says the company is constantly on the lookout for the best and brightest industry professionals. “These are people who share our commitment to customer service, performance excellence and want to be part of a fun and exciting work environment.” A majority of CFI’s technical staff are currently on profit-based bonus programs based on their Center of Excellence profitability. “This innovative compensation and bonus plan brings financial focus to every level within the organization,” adds Verdun. “We realize the importance of staying ahead of the curve by strengthening employee engagement and awareness which is one reason why we hired a full-time training coordinator this year and have built this position into our long-term business plan.” Besides a benefits program that recognizes the need to attract and retain, CFI has also developed a corporate volunteer program as well as a “fun squad” that plans and organizes monthly events and team building activities, golf league, and quarterly companywide conference calls. Sourcing candidates includes building relationships with universities and later, a formal “on boarding” process for every new employee. Peers are also engaged in the interview process to give candidates a complete perspective.
Compuware Corp. is one of the most important technology companies in the world. With annual revenue in excess of $1 billion, it is one of the largest as well. For nearly 40 years, Compuware has delivered software, experts and best practices to ensure its customers’ applications work well and deliver business value. Its people and software ensure that critical technologies work like they should - all the time - for 7,100 customers around the world. The company’s continued success is fueled by its employees-more than 4,500 strong across the globe-who are motivated to be the best and will settle for nothing less. Compuware employees receive industry-leading compensation, with above market-value salaries and a bevy of lucrative benefits. Its headquarters’ employees also enjoy a state-of-the-art Wellness Center featuring the latest in fitness and exercise equipment, and an onsite, NAEYC accredited Child Development Center. Compuware is always seeking positive, assertive team players who have a strong desire to succeed in team and customer-oriented environments, and who are interested in being part of a company that values, encourages and rewards employees in a work environment that promotes success and professional growth.
Conway MacKenzie positions itself as a restructuring and financial advisory firm that delivers hands-on financial, operational and strategic services that help healthy companies grow and troubled companies get back on track. No wonder then that people are at the heart of everything it does-these are the folks that make it all possible. From providing a variety of health care coverage plans, a generous year-end bonus pool and a 401(k) that in 2011 was matched dollar for dollar, the company not only recognizes the importance of staff, but also puts resources behind the philosophy. The company even puts smartphone, tablet and notebook technologies in the hands of its employees. But Conway MacKenzie goes at least one step further by giving every employee equal access to information regarding the firm’s performance and strategic initiatives. The result, says CEO Van E. Conway, is a vibrant culture where there are high levels of commitment and low turnover and absentee rates. That doesn’t mean there aren’t long hours and time away from home. But the company tries to counter those realities with fully stocked kitchens, daily lunch delivery and free lunch on weekends. The firm also provides a concierge service to assist in managing day-to-day personal demands.
Great people working with great people can do great things. That sentiment is at the essence of what Coretek presents to prospective employees. The firm is not simply a collection of talented individuals — it’s a team, a community and a collaborative group of devoted professionals. Coretek shares a passion for business and technology. It also shares a commitment to going above and beyond to deliver on the expectations of its clients and colleagues. “We understand that by sharing our talents and our experiences, and by learning from each other, we become better not only as individuals, but as a company and as a trusted partner in the marketplace,” says the company’s website. If someone is a leader in their field and passionate about the work they do, Coretek is worth a look. As a consulting firm, Coretek is only as good as the talent it’s able to employ, which is why it only hires the very best.
Even with roots in the traditional security and investigation industry some 50 years ago, Credential Check is decidedly right up to date in its approach to making sure employees are front and center as far as its priorities are concerned. CEO Michael Pachuta takes that role seriously by concentrating on an Employer of Choice model that puts personal, professional and corporate in its proper order. “We strongly encourage all new staff members to bring their family to the office and introduce them, share their work area. This allows the staff to find similarities and builds rapport,” says Pachuta. In addition, every staff member has an opportunity to articulate their goals and ambitions and put a plan in place to help them achieve them. With several programs designed to encourage and support work-life balance in place, Credential Check is keen to attract and retain talent, not only through an attractive benefits program (from day one of employment), but a focus on promotion from within. The company is also focused on attracting veterans to the profession, says Pachuta.
Consistency is the key when it comes to creating a great team at Credit Acceptance. So says CEO Brett Roberts, who conducts small, intimate round table sessions on a monthly basis as one of the initiatives designed to build a satisfied workforce. Team members are also surveyed at least once a quarter, making sure the firm is focused on additional opportunities there may be for improvement. A host of benefits that are competitive in the market is also part of Credit Acceptance’s strategy, as is a strong employee recognition program in addition to rewards such as gift certificates, team lunches and anniversary awards. Having a flexible work environment helps promote a better balance of work and family life, and employees are often able to choose what schedule works for them, even on a weekly basis. But it’s on the recruitment side that consistency really comes into play. A strategy called FISH (Frame, Invite & Assess, Select and Hire & Onboard) creates an experience for the candidate that helps them choose Credit Acceptance as their employer of choice. The company also keeps a pulse on existing team member engagement through a multitude of methods, the most powerful being a feedback survey conducted on a quarterly basis.
DeMaria Building Co. Inc.
Employees join the DeMaria Team because they embrace the following four key core values: a positive attitude, relationship focused, results driven, and a commitment to quality. This is the culture of DeMaria. Professional excellence is continuously promoted. So strong is this belief, DeMaria has made it an objective to initiate employee growth and advancement through regular training, reimbursement of continuing education, rewards and recognition programs, and career advancement opportunities. The tagline-”Building Relationships”-is designed to keep every employee focused on the mission, vision and values of DeMaria. The company’s methods are rooted in teamwork and collaboration and the ultimate key to its corporate success is the advancement of talented employees. A family owned business, DeMaria encourages a family environment and many employees have other family members working for DeMaria. The “open door” culture of management gives way to better communication throughout the company. Employees understand that each of the people who work at the firm shape the company’s destiny every day and have meaningful input on methods for doing their jobs. By having employees actively taking part in building DeMaria’s future, both the success of the company and the long-term employee development are connected and will continue to move in a positive direction. Within the past year, 46 percent of all employees celebrated anniversaries of 10 years or longer. This testifies to the success of long-term initiatives designed to engage, empower and retain employees.
Detroit Athletic Club
Founded in 1887, the Detroit Athletic Club left an indelible stamp on the city even as it was helping that city find its place in the country at large. Always a powerhouse for individual and team amateur athletics, the DAC helped give its members the strength to serve as soldiers and compete as Olympians. They helped fuel the manufacturing frenzy that created the Motor City and brought home the professional sports teams that were its due. In a recent chronicle of the DAC’s long history, readers will discover the unique world of a private club that remains one of the finest in the world. It is an enduring home to community leaders, amateur athletes and one of Detroit’s architectural jewels.
As Michigan’s largest credit union and one of the best managed in the country, DFCU is committed to giving its members high-quality service, expertise and experiences to help them manage their financial lives. In order to keep its members happy, DFCU needs satisfied and motivated employees-which it considers to be its competitive advantage. DFCU looks for team players with skill sets to keep the organization growing and healthy, and who want to be part of an expanding organization. Working at DFCU Financial includes being with a friendly group of colleagues who look forward to working with each other every day, and being in a work environment that encourages leadership, empowerment and participation, and opportunities for part-time and full-time employment.
Founded in 1980, Digitas-one of the world’s leading digital marketing and media companies-is at the forefront of the new digital age. As an independent global network within the Paris-based Publicis Groupe, the world’s fourth largest communications group, Digitas is the first global digital network with offices in the USA, Europe and Asia. Serving global marketing clients, it creates brand experiences in digital and direct channels that engage and excite their customers. Through user-generated content, branded entertainment, digital video production, and social media programs and more, Digitas taps into people’s passions and creates loyal, motivated relationships. Digitas people are at the top of their industry - inspiring innovation, creativity and results. They’re artists, analysts, technologists, writers and producers. They are passionate, creative, thoughtful, and above all, committed to their clients, inspired by their customers, excited by change, and fueled by a passion for collaboration and bold invention.
There is a world of opportunity for career growth at Domino’s Pizza. Throughout a system of corporate and franchised owned stores, supply chain infrastructure, corporate positions and business ownership, Domino’s has development opportunities to fit almost any career path. With a rich history of growth and a develop-from-within-culture, the options are limitless. In its stores, team members learn about business, management and what it takes to succeed. The company’s franchise system of successful business owners has grown internally. To top it off, nearly all of Domino’s operational leaders started their career with the company in a store. Domino’s team members are behind the wheel, in the driver’s seat of their career growth.
Having a workforce that’s “highly engaged” is at the heart of DTE Energy’s strategy when it comes to employee development. Indeed, the company, lead by CEO Gerard Anderson, is intent on reaching the pinnacle of Gallup Survey’s Engagement rankings of energy companies. “We have dedicated considerable resources to this priority,” says Anderson. Among the initiatives are an annual engagement survey of all employees, action plans to improve engagement, and twice annually audits to check on the quality and implementation of various action plans. The company is also “intensively focused” on aligning everything it does with the idea of achieving its aspirations and living its values. One of those is being the best-operated energy company in North America. “We also invest considerable effort in demonstrating to employees that we care about their overall health and well-being in and out of the office,” says Anderson. Examples are free onsite flu shots during the fall, an Energize Your Life wellness program that provides disease management, educational and coaching services to employees and other eligible participants as well as an Employee Assistance Program that offers coaching and counseling services to employees and their families. DTE also has an extensive Workforce Planning Initiative that monitors, calculates, and forecasts the hiring requirements in key skill areas across the company into a five-year horizon, one way it is able to have the desired people and skills available when needed.
E&A Credit Union
Looking for a place of employment where you’re treated like a person, where laughter is not taboo, and doing what’s right is of the highest priority? E&A Credit Union is committed to providing a great working environment for its most important asset: its employees. This commitment has earned E&A recognition as one of the 50 Most Engaged Workplaces in the United States in 2011, the Detroit Free Press Top Workplaces award in 2010 & 2011, and the Thomas Edison Business Award in 2003 & 2008. E&A Credit Union recognizes the importance of supporting work-life balance. E&A values its employees and strives to provide competitive benefits designed to attract, reward and retain top performers.
Easter Seals Michigan
Easter Seals has been helping individuals with disabilities and special needs, and their families, live better lives for more than 90 years. Whether helping someone improve physical mobility, return to work or simply gain greater independence for everyday living, Easter Seals offers a variety of services to help people with disabilities address life’s challenges and achieve personal goals. Easter Seals offers remarkable career options. There are more than 350 professionals dedicated to creating a world where all people with disabilities or special needs, and their families, have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities.
At Easter Seals, the possibilities are unlimited. Employees have access to extraordinary training and professional development resources as well as the compensation and benefits package that would be expected from one of Metro Detroit’s and West Michigan’s 101 Best & Brightest Companies to Work For. A comprehensive benefits package is designed to meet the changing needs of a diverse workforce.
Educational Data Systems Inc.
Founded in 1979 and headquartered in Dearborn, EDSI is a workforce development, customized training and consulting company intertwined with one common thread: helping people and companies in transition. EDSI has grown to a network that employs more than 400 people in eight states and Washington D.C. and was named to the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. EDSI has provided workforce development services for more than 30 years. The company provides successful business services and jobseeker placement and retention services for various government programs and corporations across the country. EDSI works with public sector, private sector and labor organizations to research, analyze and assess their workforce development needs, leading to the development and implementation of strategies to recruit, hire and/or train current or future workers, and has placed more than 60,000 individuals into jobs since its founding. EDSI is an ISO 9001 certified company and committed to quality excellence. EDSI Consulting provides world-class advisory services to a variety of corporations and governmental agencies. Its history of success stems directly from a commitment to providing its clients with the absolute highest level of service through a diverse and talented team.
Enterprise Rent A Car
As a multibillion-dollar industry leader, Enterprise Rent A Car can offer its prospective employees more than a chance to succeed. It’s a place where someone can thrive. The environment is energetic, the people are motivated and the career paths can take someone where they want to go, no matter where someone joins Enterprise. Yes, they pick people up. And they do it in more ways than one. The idea of driving vehicles to its customers was developed by one of its managers in Florida, and the service quickly spread across the country. It’s just one example of the company’s commitment to innovation, to customer service and to listening to its people.
Epitec Group Inc.
Epitec offers people a place to innovate, contribute, and grow. Its business is placing people. Its philosophy is placing people first. “We hear it every day,” says CFO Mark Ruma. “Epitec people aren’t your typical ‘techy people.’ Solving client challenges is personal to us. The first time you have the pleasure of working with an Epitec employee, you will see how quickly we connect and engage.” Companies entrust their future technologies to Epitec. And employees entrust, well, their futures. ‘These are responsibilities we don’t take lightly,” adds Ruma. “We care deeply for our employees, because they make everything else happen for the company. We work very hard to create a ‘favorite employee experience’ for each one of our employees. It’s why we not only attract some of America’s top companies and brightest minds, but retain them- year after year.”
ePrize gets zillions of resumes and asks the question on its website: how do you stand out? The company asks prospective employees to show them your passion, personality and integrity. The company draws the best talent from the region because it prides itself on being creative and technology innovators in digital marketing. Its mission has always been to stay ahead of engagement trends, so it can continue to position brands to be where their consumers are. This creates an exciting pace, where the work environment is never the same for very long. ePrize looks for people who bring a special passion to their craft, so it can tap into their knowledge and energy, and blaze the trail as a team to the next big thing. It likes people who are known for doing the right thing, going the extra mile, and inspiring the next big idea. ePrize provides medical, RX, dental, vision, FSAs, life insurance, and 401(k) match benefits. In New York City, employees look out the window at the Empire State Building. In Los Angeles, an elephant prances by on the movie set below. The Detroit building has bowling alley floors, purple walls, and rooms named after TV shows.
Etkin Equities LLC
Etkin has played a prominent role in southeast Michigan real estate development for 30 years. The privately owned company was formed in 1982 and is led by principal Douglas Etkin and president Curtis Burstein. Etkin has been responsible for the development and acquisition of more than 9.5 million square feet of office, industrial, retail, hotel and mixed-use developments. It also offers fee-based management and development services to a select number of third party clients. As the company celebrates its 30th anniversary, Etkin is continuing to aggressively pursue growth in the Midwest, Texas, Florida and Colorado.
Express Employment Professionals
In an industry with a traditionally high turnover rate, CEO Paul LaFrance says it’s a testament to what Express Employment Professionals’ Troy office has done that a good many of the firm’s employees have been in their positions for several years. “I think that speaks volumes,” says LaFrance, who owns the local office (Express is headquartered in Oklahoma City). A big draw is the extensive training Express Employment offers its staff. Its “Express University” has online courses, some of which can be completed in well under an hour and those who earn “credits” are recognized for their efforts in an annual awards ceremony.
Family Home Health Services
Putting in place a collaborative workplace approach is what Family Home Health Services CEO Vicky Welty says is the basis for successful relationship. That means building a unique, inviting workplace that attracts people who will further strengthen the environment. The next step: continuing to maintain that work culture. The company says it knows it takes more than higher pay to retain the most valuable assets, although it pays at market or higher. A sense of connection is also at the heart of the organization, achieved through fundraisers and community involvement as a way of meeting employees’ need for connection. The organization works hard to develop a generous, safe and fun environment for its branches, and takes a genuine interest in the personal lives of employees, referred to as “family members.” FHHS is also active in encouraging community and affiliation companywide, hosting a variety of annual events such as its company softball game, sponsored benefit 5k and marathon runs, as well as serving Thanksgiving meals to seniors, Christmas breakfast and Secret Santa celebrations. Family Home Health Services also believes in performance-based incentives with the opportunity for staff to share in a percentage of the company’s profit.
With ethics and integrity, Farbman Group strives for excellence in all facets of real estate services in order to enhance its position as an industry leader. Its team transforms forward thinking ideas into cutting edge applications to achieve maximum results for clients, company and communities. Farbman Group is one of the largest and most respected full-service organizations in the country. With more than three decades of experience, it has anticipated the questions, planned in advance for the needs, and offered the solutions. Farbman Group listens to its customer needs and provides solutions to meet the demands of business.
Fifth Third Bank Eastern Michigan
From Day One, newcomers to Fifth Third Bank will find themselves fully engaged in a rewarding, challenging role in an environment that inspires both personally and professionally. What sets Fifth Third Bank apart is a focus on people. It’s why the bank looks for people who want to accomplish something of lasting value for their customers, for their community and for themselves, guided by core values of Integrity, Teamwork and Collaboration, Respect and Inclusion, and Accountability. Fifth Third believes in creating an environment that encourages and supports diversity, provides training and development, and brings out the best in everyone. A strong community is critical to the success of Fifth Third Bank and employees support the communities in which they live and work. Having engaged and well-prepared employees leads to the most satisfied customers. Fifth Third strives to provide an environment to bring out the best in every employee. Simply put, creating the best possible results for customers happens by working together.
Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber Inc.
Established more 50 years ago, FTC&H has grown to a staff of more than 320 people who provide a full range of civil engineering, environmental, architectural/engineering, and construction management and related services to both public and private clients. Its operations are guided by a defined set of core values and a core purpose, its Vision In Action. With this clear sense of direction and commitment to employee ownership, the company has drawn together an extraordinary staff. All are dedicated to providing exceptional client service, along with innovation and excellence. The company and staff take personal responsibility for helping each other succeed-including clients, FTC&H colleagues, and others that the company interacts with during the course of its work. Staff often describe working at FTC&H as being “like family,” the result of a supportive, nurturing environment that encourages innovation and excellence in all that it does.
Gallagher Benefit Services Inc.
Gallagher Benefit Services Inc. is the employee benefits division of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., founded by the individual whose name still appears on the door. Nurtured through three family generations, the Arthur J. Gallagher family of companies is today one of the largest commercial insurance and risk management companies in the world. Building on a foundation of trust, knowledge and confidence, the Gallagher team of professionals understands that relationships are by far the most accurate measure of how successfully it conducts business, and its behavior. The company believes in the company it keeps, for both itself and its clients. “The benefits of business are really about the measurement and success of relationships,” says James Durkin, president. The firm believes what it does plays an important role. And, it believes that what it does for its clients helps them become more successful, no matter what business they are in or at what stage of business.
Ghafari Associates LLC
At Ghafari, a worldwide full-service architecture and engineering organization with a 30-year history of customer focus, quality work and technological innovation, the recognition that its employees are its greatest asset in providing professional services of the highest quality to its clients is hardly new. Indeed, the company has offered numerous innovative opportunities for some time, including employee discounts with vendors, vehicle purchase/lease programs, employee assistance services, gym reimbursement and on-site games and activities. Regular review of salaries and compensation trends are also standard practice, with performance bonuses and spot awards commonplace. Attracting the best people and nurturing them in an environment of professionalism, integrity and mutual respect have achieved a well-earned reputation of excellence. Employees are also encouraged to provide suggestions that improve quality, save time, reduce cost, and promote better client service, suggestions that are often implemented to create a more productive work environment. As a result, employees recognize that they are making a true contribution to the firm’s success and ultimately their personal success. At the same time, the company encourages its employees to both enjoy their work and lead balanced, healthy lives. For example, an events planning committee organizes holiday and summer parties, architectural tours, picnics, movie nights, social hours and other employee events.
Having celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, Gongos Research cultivates an innovative and vibrant culture where people can achieve their best. As a full-service marketing research firm, Gongos’ proprietary offerings allow it to partner with some of the world’s most recognized brands to gain consumer perspective in a changing world. Gongos Research works with companies such as Hallmark Cards, Coca-Cola, Best Buy, U.S. Bank, Visa, General Motors Corp. and Chrysler Group LLC. In 2007, the company was first named to the Inc. 5000 list of “The Fastest Growing Companies in America” and is among the Honomichl Top 50 U.S. marketing research organizations.
Grant Thornton LLP
At Grant Thornton, the people are talented, intellectually curious and driven to make a difference. People who come to work at Grant Thornton are empowered to contribute from their very first client engagement. They develop their skills working alongside Grant Thornton partners and through formal leadership and technical training programs. In short, it is the firm’s ambition to build better business professionals faster than its competitors. People who dream of working with innovative colleagues who support and inspire them may well consider Grant Thornton to be the place to be.
Working at Greenleaf Trust has a lot to do with living the organization’s core values, the basis for the way it works and does business. Indeed, the company says being client driven, solution based, and customizing service to meet the clients’ needs is what drives everyone. Doing what is right and adhering to ethical principles is also key. “We do what we say we are going to do,” notes CEO Ronald Kilgore. “We take responsibility for our decisions at both the individual and company levels.” Greenleaf Trust’s approach allows the collective wisdom of its employees to address clients’ needs, with a value on teamwork and corporate mission, working together for the good of the organization.
GTECH Services Inc.
Ask the question: “What sets GTECH Services apart?” and the answer comes quickly: “Customer Service.” The company recognizes that customer service extends beyond candidate placement, so it keeps in frequent contact with both clients and contract employees during an assignment. Providing this support to both employee and employer creates high levels of satisfaction on both sides. Great customer service and a human touch help resolve potential issues proactively and quickly, reducing turnover-both at the client company and within the talent pool. This creates improved morale in employees and subsequently saves customers time and money. Personal attention and quality of service are the GTECH difference and the reason that such a high percentage of the firm’s business comes from candidate referrals and repeat customers.
Harada Industry of America Inc.
In a world where there is an infinite number of radio waves, we freely receive information and send messages into the sky. Mobile communications continues to dynamically evolve, and Harada is leading the way. Harada began as an antenna manufacturer in 1957. Having succeeded with the development of the “Lock-Antenna,” which was a radio receiving car antenna, and having been adopted as genuine parts of a car, the company became a world-class antenna manufacturer with a high market share in supplying the OEM automobile manufacturing companies in the world. People may not frequently recognize the name, but its various products have been playing major roles, not only in automobiles but also in various facets of life, such as with mobile phones, PHS base stations, and wireless LAN. Harada continues to be the world’s leading antenna manufacturer. It continuously challenges itself, designing the future of communications technology while maintaining the highest quality to its customers.
Harley Ellis Devereaux
Harley Ellis Devereaux, an internationally recognized architectural firm, is always interested in talking to people with strong technical knowledge in their chosen field, the desire to excel and an interest in joining a growth-oriented, quality-based organization. Its recruiting efforts reflect this philosophy and its professional success is a direct result. The firm believes in the power of questions. “How can we make your environment smarter?” is at the heart of a discussion with Harley Ellis Devereaux. “How can we advance your organization through design? How can we create something that is as considered and well-thought-out as it is daring and bold?” The firm calls it “next thinking.” Whether mentoring high school students in search of a profession or sponsoring design competitions for the cities of the future, the firm enjoys committing itself to the communities where its people work and giving back whenever and wherever it can.
Health Management Systems of America
For some organizations, the idea of committees might be something to be avoided. Not at Health Management Systems of America, where the organization includes the concept simply as a way to improve engagement. Whether it be focusing on the company newsletter, any number of issues that may arise, employee recognition or health and safety, the committee handles the details. And when it comes to recognition, employees are given due credit for efforts above and beyond their job duties, plus more subtle accomplishments like anniversaries and even perfect attendance. Creating a sense of balance is also something people like CEO Bill Sumner try to achieve. “What makes HMSA a great place to work is our commitment to our employees. We care about our employees and we strive to provide a wide range of professional and personal opportunities to improve the quality of their daily life.” HMSA employees receive a low-cost benefits package that extends coverage to the employee’s family, as well as a number of other programs, including a wellness program and individual and team health and wellness competitions designed to further promote a culture of wellness, notably by giving them access to a health/wellness coach.
Henry Ford Health System
In 2010, health care was the largest industry and also the fastest growing. Henry Ford is currently looking to fill various health care jobs in Michigan. A collaborative approach to patient care has made Henry Ford Health System a nationally-recognized leader in health care. Each member of its staff is part of a team of professionals who pool their knowledge and experience to provide the best patient care possible, making Henry Ford an ideal place for people to work. Henry Ford takes the view that a career should fit a person’s life, not the other way around. Employees are what makes the organization so great. Some of the best and brightest in their fields have come to Henry Ford for health care jobs. But what it takes to be part of one of the best health care teams in the world extends outside the classroom and into the patient’s room, the emergency room and beyond. At Henry Ford, people work with one of the best medical teams in the nation using a collaboration of skills and knowledge to help make informed decisions.
Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP
In addition to best in class benefits and compensation programs, the law firm more commonly known as Honigman views its communication initiatives and its employee development and recognition programs as key drivers of satisfaction. Says Chairman and CEO David Foltyn: “Communication vehicles provide the foundation for friendly, open and collaborative communication, the goal of which is to keep everyone abreast of and involved in important events and happenings.” Also key to its success are the opportunities presented to employees. Continued expansion of the firm’s development courses through a corporate university, the Honigman Institute for Professional Growth, is also key to what is considered a high internal promotion rate (58 percent in 2011). Associates are paired with a mentor and a buddy whose roles are to make the associate feel at home, assist with assignments and provide regular feedback, pairings that the firm says result in increased engagement and job satisfaction. Honigman is also committed to acknowledging and rewarding the contributions of its workforce in many special ways, including an on-the-spot award program. “We also like to recognize accomplishments that occur outside of the workplace,” says Foltyn. “Rooted in a profound dedication to our people, their welfare and development, Honigman is proactive and innovative when it comes to sustaining high employee satisfaction and engagement.”
Uniqueness is a big deal at Image One, a managed print solutions company founded by childhood friends Joel Pearlman and Rob Dube. It’s not enough for the company owners to simply provide consistent, reliable service and the highest quality products (which they do). Recognizing that individuals are key, the company works hard to create a balance between the demands of the job and the healthy management (and enjoyment) of life outside of work. Whether it be flex work, where employees can live into the premise that family is the number one priority, or zero overtime (no requirements are put on any employee), Image One does its best to create an environment where people want to work. There are also numerous educational opportunities, with a company commitment to continuous improvement driving the way. Growth in the company and its employees is also a key objective, as is an atmosphere that is enjoyable, non-threatening and one where open communication is key. Indeed, Image One has an onsite communications coaching professional that works with the entire team. Investing in great people, giving them a voice and putting importance on individuals means providing individualized benefits, and remaining flexible and innovative — concepts that Image One embraces.
For some, good wages and benefits might be enough to set the standard and keep employees satisfied. Not at ImageSoft, a company that provides document and process management solutions to its clients. CEO Scott Bade and his team have put together an additional suite of “perks” that include bonus and incentive pay, employee referrals, customer service bonuses and what may be the biggest benefit of all - additional time off to volunteer for the cause of their choice. The company also has a service recognition program. Flexible hours, a dedicated fitness room in its new headquarters building and weekly on-site company-paid yoga classes are also part of the ImageSoft experience. With an open an innovative philosophy that drives decisions and policies about compensation, benefits, work environment, career opportunities, personal growth and development and work content in every aspect of the organization, Image Soft is able to attract the high-quality, critical-skill people they need. “Once a prospective employee visits our company and experiences first-hand the work environment and workplace dynamics ImageSoft provides, that helps to ‘seal the deal’,” notes Bade. “We offer a friendly, inviting, collaborative workplace, and that’s evident to anyone who comes through our door.”
Inergy Automotive Systems USA
At Inergy, associates from all functions take part in the development of a global company operating in 19 countries, all part of a mosaic of 5,000 people working in 45 different sites, speaking 12 languages but with a single culture of excellence firmly anchored everywhere. Engineers and technicians are dedicated to research and development in Asia, Europe, North America and South America. Inergy’s 28 industrial plants manufacture fuel systems where safety is the prime concern and excellence is the daily target. Its industrial engineers and technicians ensure that manufacturing processes are solid and well applied by operators for a perfect quality delivered to customers. Excellence not only means good quality performance, but also providing associates with a working environment worthy of Inergy’s code of ethics. All the support functions from Human Resources, Legal, Finance and Quality ensure that the operations have the means available to achieve excellence.
With health care costs continuing to rise, having full family coverage with no employee contribution is an even more compelling reason to work for an organization like JARC. “As a long-time employee of JARC I can attest that the staff receives great training and supervision,” says Celeste Little, Transition Home supervisor. “JARC does a really good job of recognizing employees for their accomplishments, offering benefits, and even provides the opportunity to receive college tuition to enhance our lives. Because of the wonderful staff at JARC it’s truly a great work environment. JARC has given me an opportunity to grow as a person by working in a field where I get to help others achieve their goals to have a full life, and that is why it’s one of the best places to work.”
JARC is a non-sectarian, non-profit organization founded in 1969 by a group of parents concerned about the future of their children with developmental disabilities.
It’s difficult to capture KPMG in words alone, and no one is better qualified to describe what it’s like to work there than the people who do. Ask people at KPMG why they enjoy working there, and you’ll probably get a different answer each time. That’s because KPMG, ,the U.S. audit, tax and advisory services firm, is a truly diverse global organization, and it encourages people to bring their whole selves to work. Through such diversity, everyone becomes more vibrant and better thinkers. There are consistencies though: KPMG careers are fascinating, challenging and well rewarded. People at KPMG work with clients from some of the world’s biggest companies (70 percent of Fortune 500 companies use KPMG member firms), and some of the very best professionals too, people KPMG employees will be mixing with and learning from. Talent is a requisite to work at KPMG, and the firm helps those who get hired become even better - the belief being that the company’s learning and development program is the best there is. The firm promises to help those it hires as their careers progress or they experience new opportunities.
For Marketing Associates, one thing is clear to everyone who works there, including CEO Mark Petroff. “Our employees are our brand. They deliver technology enabled marketing solutions to our clients everyday.” That means an imperative: to keep employees satisfied by giving them more than the basics. Among those extras are opportunities to grow personally and professionally, both through volunteering and training. The Marketing Associates experience also includes flexibility and balance through telecommuting days and the availability of fitness and daycare centers across the street. Petroff understands the relationship the company has with its staff is a two-way street with many lanes. “Competitive compensation and benefits simply serve as the on-ramp,” he notes. “Our focus is clearly on the connectivity between our clients’ needs with our employees’ talents to deliver superb solutions that make Marketing Associates a workplace that is growing and rewarding.” Included in making that happen has been adopting a diversification strategy that’s created opportunities for employees to see new clients, new services and new industries. And the firm has invested in training and development to improve skill sets as a way to take advantage of the new and diverse opportunities.
Providing exceptional service and knowledge with the contribution of its employees is built in at McGraw Wentworth. “We have fostered an environment that welcomes communication and open discussion,” says CEO Thomas McGraw of the group benefits firm that’s been in business since 1997. “Because we have ‘stayed the course,’ even in tough economic times, our high performing staff stayed.” That doesn’t mean the firm doesn’t go out of its way to recognize that commitment. An employee bonus program that is distributed to non-executive, service staff is being increased this year, one reason the firm enjoys a high retention rate among staff. People like McGraw understand the firm is successful only because of the people who work there. For that reason, he and his management team pay “particular attention to the unique needs of each individual.” One way is through a multi-faceted wellness program that appeals to different interests. McGraw acknowledges that attracting talent is a challenge, largely because of the firm’s reputation for being selective. “We invest a lot of time not only making sure that the candidate is a right fit, but we hope that the exposure through these multiple steps also gives the candidate the opportunity to see if we are right for them.”
Meadowbrook Insurance Group
While the insurance industry as a whole has tended to focus largely on systems, processes and technology to increase productivity and cut costs, Meadowbrook CEO Robert Cubbin says his firm has taken a different approach: developing talent. “We’ve focused on the people side of the busness, what motiates us as individuals at all levels of our organization, what makes us better at our jobs, and what makes us better at satisfying the total needs of our customers.” That’s not to say Meadowbrook hasn’t continued to offer a wide range of medical benefits, with options to help associates choose what best suits their individual needs. But it’s added a confidential Health IQ Program that Cubbin says many associates talk about in glowing terms. The company also provides an environment for managers to help associates improve. Cubbin says having a consistent approach has made the big difference throughout Meadowbrook’s history. “From marketing and training to claims handling and underwriting, we have deliberately chosen to reinforce this approach by recruiting the most talented individuals in the insurance industry.” Meadowbroook is also looking ahead to the future through an internship program that gives college students an exposure to the industry. “It also gives us a chance to attract talented people to our company,” adds Cubbin.
With a company that uses phrases like “end human suffering” and “the business value of joy” in its literature, you’d think Menlo Innovations would be right up there with creating an environment where people delight to come to work everyday. And you’d be right. CEO Richard Sheridan says the company, which creates custom software for a variety of clients, has one “inordinately passionate” goal: designing software that should be widely adopted and enjoyably used.” And that’s where the people part of the Menlo Innovations environment comes into play. “We intentionally focus our entire company culture on the ‘business value of joy,’” says Sheridan. “Joy for the people who pay us to have their software product designed and built, joy for the people who ultimately will use that software as part of their everyday work, and joy for our team while they do the work of designing and building that software.” No surprise then that Menlo’s benefits package is geared at keeping its employees happy in the place that they work. Full medical coverage, a comprehensive 401(k) matching program, a medical flex spending plan that covers any non-covered medical payments, profit sharing, and paid parking in downtown Ann Arbor are all part of the deal. Even in tough times, Menlo has actually added new benefits, including prepaid legal, accident insurance, critical illness coverage, and long-term care.
Meridian Health Plan
Meridian Health Plan is a family-owned business, committed to improving the quality of health care for those members assigned to the health plan, and as the health plan continues to improve in this goal, it shares successes with the employees and recognizes the dedication and hard work of the employees in each success. Employees are included in every celebration of company milestones. Benefits include Bagel Fridays, semi-annual company parties, monthly happy hours, birthday celebrations, department outings, pot luck luncheons, employee and department recognitions, as well as participating in national recognitions such as Customer Service Week, which promotes the work of one of the firm’s departments. Another rewarding part of working at Meridian Health Plan is the large opportunity for career advancement. MHP is open to allowing employees to try new things and pursue their interests, and strongly encourages employees to apply for different positions within the company that interest them. Employees receive training in all departments of the company and are often well equipped for positions in many departments, which sets up the opportunity for promotions.
Michigan Financial Companies
CEO Nick Valenti calls the environment Michigan Financial Companies provides as “an open forum for sharing opinion and request for changes and updates. Everyone is fully empowered to enhance their education and specific job function.” But that’s an abbreviated description. In reality, the firm is committed to both the financial and career success of its staff. That includes a social commitment that provides for a matching gifts program to encourage staff involvement in charitable organizations and events. Indeed, twice a year, the firm works together in support of a local charity. It also offers the ability to work from home and encourages family involvement and events throughout the year. Also part of the Michigan Financial Companies picture is providing onsite education for staff and support through individualized 90-day planning sessions to keep focus on their goals.
Michigan First Credit Union
For CEO Michael Poulos, Michigan First’s commitment to education is a point of pride. “As a credit union founded by educators, this approach has always been in our blood,” he notes. “But the past few years have given us the opportunity to expand our internal programming through bi-annual employee seminars and outside speakers. This innovation provides engaging, concrete and actionable strategies and tactics to help each of our team members improve their core job skills, customer service and leadership.” Even as it expects a lot from its team members, Michigan First says it provides a lot in return: top-notch health care coverage and the encouragement of a work/life balance, plus every effort to promote from within. “We reward hard work by supporting what matters most to them,” adds Poulos. A work environment that includes a fitness center, quiet rooms and volunteer activities is part of the “extra” that the credit union brings to the employee table. It also has a health improvement focus where it says significant strides have been made in encouraging healthy eating and active lifestyles, as well as community engagement, including several hands-on projects each year supporting critical causes in Metro Detroit.
Having essentially been born out of the PeopleSoft HR platform (now owned and marketed by Oracle), MIPRO’s management team has more than a little bias toward having a forward-thinking employee culture. Indeed, with most of the management team having had experience with PeopleSoft, the firm embraces providing a highly satisfied workforce. An annual employee program designed to assess employee engagement and satisfaction is one part of it. But weekly meetings with managers, and project recaps are also part of the MIPRO picture, a strategy designed to make sure potential issues are addressed immediately, as opposed to postponing pertinent discussions until an arbitrary performance appraisal date. From an internal communications perspective, quarterly town hall meetings, a companywide annual meeting, and regular updates and video messages from company leadership are all additional steps to make sure employees are informed of corporate strategy and direction. That heritage of PeopleSoft among MIPRO executives has translated into a first-hand understanding of the challenges employees face each and every day, which CEO Jim Prokes says makes them approachable for open problem-solving conversations. “Our corporate culture focuses on employees-from out of office experiences for building camaraderie among the team,” notes Prokes. “As an employee-based culture, MIPRO instills trust into team members, empowering them to make decisions without miles of red tape and micromanagement.”
The most innovative approach for employee satisfaction? Patricia Nemeth, partner and founder of this legal firm that specializes in representing management, says it’s promoting equality for all staff, regardless of position. The firm puts that philosophy into practice, with the receptionist and the managing partner having the same insured benefits plan. In other words, there’s no “premium” plan available only to partners or attorneys. Add to that equality approach the fact that all staff is bonus eligible for new work brought into the firm, regardless of whether that individual ultimately works on that client matter. The absence of hierarchy and the promotion of administrative staff to positions of increasing responsibility also help promote employee satisfaction, the firm says. Nemeth says a culture of entrepreneurism is reflected in the firm’s benefits plan. “It has direct relevance to all of our employees, fostering a team approach. That means we market on behalf of each other. And when everyone is performing well, each individual employee has a greater opportunity for bringing in new clients.” The founding partners have always put high value on work, family, personal pursuits and new experiences. “I believe we’re ahead of the curve in not only allowing but encouraging staff to live a full life,” says Nemeth.
Given a belief that it’s employees that make Oakwood a great place to work, it makes sense to put the emphasis on the hiring process. It’s important to hire people who know about the organization’s values and can live them through their work. If people like the people they work with and feel like Oakwood is a part of their lives, the patients benefit from that positive spirit and passion. Even in looking to the future, employees are the key. People who know and believe in Oakwood’s value system will be the driving force behind achieving goals, Oakwood notes.
Great careers are what CEO Ronia Kruse says are at the heart of everything OpTech does. “We want to ensure that our employees are challenged, engaged and satisfied,” says Kruse of the information technology and engineering staffing solutions company.” Team norms that include being prepared, positive, participating fully and bein part of the solution are part of that strategy, which includes empowering employees to manage high-profile projects. Mentoring programs and the embracing of creativity through a “Bright Ideas” rewards program is also in play at OpTech. “OpTech has created a friendly and stimulating work environment where employees can excel at work, maintain a healthy work-life balance, and take great pride in working for a growing company,” notes Kruse. “We believe in diversity and the strength that comes from diverse perspectives, ideas and approaches to solving important business problems, and are part of the company culture. And we provide tangible rewards such as challenging assignments, compensation incentives, health care benefits, career development, and discounts on various merchandise and services.” Intangible rewards are also important, such as initiatives like employee recognition events throughout the year, family day at the office, and pampering perks - a Mother’s Day spa retreat or a Father’s Day golf outing.
Orchard, Hiltz & McCliment Inc.
OHM is not just a company. It’s a family. As a family-oriented firm, OHM supports the personal and professional growth of its employees. It offers an exciting and challenging work environment, the latest technologies, and a competitive compensation/benefits package. OHM is an integrated engineering, architecture and planning firm committed to advancing communities. It devotes its public and private sector expertise, forward thinking and insightful counsel to enhancing the built environment and the natural world. At OHM, a belief in holistic thinking and services tailored to meet clients’ ambitions is at the core.
Livonia and Grand Rapids
OtterBase was founded on the promise that it would provide a superior staffing experience for its clients by delivering the highest trained individuals and unsurpassed customer service. OtterBase continues to keep this promise to its clients as it strives to achieve its goal of creating competitive advantages through people. “We never lose sight of the fact that every assignment and every person we place is first and foremost, uniquely individual and deserves an equally unique approach from us,” says CEO William Bennett. “We know that if we provide our people with the best we have to offer, then they will provide our clients with the best they have to offer.” That’s why OtterBase has a reputation for having one of the most competitive benefits and training programs in the business, including its Performance Bonus Plan and its Referral Bonus Program. OtterBase entered the staffing services industry because of the belief that the industry was doing a substandard job of servicing clients. “In fact, the staffing industry as a whole has lagged behind our clients in terms of product innovation and customer service. We believe that our company provides the overall best customer service experience in the entire staffing industry,” adds Bennett. OtterBase constantly monitors the specific business environments of its clients and continually works to refine its services to meet their changing needs.
Plex Systems Inc.
A software as a service provider, Plex Systems is technology oriented, but people centric. Indeed executives like CEO Mark Symonds consider employee satisfaction as one of the primary reasons for the company’s success. “We believe having satisfied, motivated and engaged employees makes them more creative, which is vital, not only for product development, but customer service and innovative ideas.” Whether it be internal volunteer committees that organize many family-oriented employee activities such as holiday parties and picnics with fun themes such as “pirates” or “the Old West,” or encouraging employees to bring their children, and even their pets, to work at any time, Plex embraces the idea of flexible work hours and the ability to work from home whenever necessary. Charitable giving is part of that culture as well, as is the autonomy to work in a stress free environment. The culture, says Symonds, is open and inclusive. “It’s one that values each and every employee’s input in decision making. We believe in open and direct communications with teams to generate ideas, solve problems and manage conflict.” With employees encouraged to “think and act as if they owned the company,” staff take this to heart, working to improve, plan, and strategize to make the company the best it can be.
When Plunkett Cooney, a litigation and trial law firm, set out to put in place a strategic plan that seeks to improve employee performance, customer service and quality, it did so in what CEO Henry B. Cooney believes is a unique approach: creating working groups of attorneys and staff that develop recommendations for implementing specific areas of the plan. “Empowering employees to participate in the implementation process has been a key to improving overall employee satisfaction and buy-in to change,” says Cooney. Having a continued focus on associate attorney development and retention is also an ongoing reason for the firm’s success. “We remain committed to examining issues important to the firm’s young attorneys and to promoting social activities that further endear them to the firm,” adds Cooney. “The firm believes in the quality and character of its employees and makes every attempt to provide the training and support they need to be successful.” Having an extensive on-boarding process is another reason for success, as is the firm’s commitment to providing ongoing professional development. “We’re working hard in today’s highly competitive business environment to not only attract but to retain our employees.”
Red Level Networks
Yes, Red Level Networks knows technology. And it stays on top of trends like any good firm in its industry must. But one of the things CEO David King really likes to do is to provide perks to Red Level employees. Whether it’s in the form of a fully-stocked kitchen, with food, drink and appliances, or holiday bonuses and gifts at a company-sponsored party, it’s become part of the Red Level culture. But fun aside, the company believes it is important to grow the skills and knowledge of its employees through regular training opportunities. “This growth of knowledge helps employees in their skill development as they move ahead in their careers,” notes King, who adds that gaining certifications and other skills needed to excel in the workplace and beyond helps both the company and the individuals taking the training, which is free of charge to the employee. The firm also makes sure employees have the flexibility to deal with life in general, doctor’s visits or the need to work from home as two examples. In the office, ergonomic furniture is a given. On the benefits side, there’s an option to have a 401(k) retirement planning account as well as a Flexible Spending Account for certain expenses outside the workplace.
At REDICO, the purpose is to create and maximize value for the REDICO team, its partners, its customers and the community. The company finds value in relationships, financial success, community stewardship and fun. Its mission, the actions it takes everyday to achieve its purpose, is to communicate, execute and focus through teamwork. The company’s first corporate goal is that “Our employees will be proud, highly satisfied and committed members of the REDICO team.” REDICO is a five-time winner of the Metro Detroit 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For competition. The firm offers an exciting place to work plus market competitive compensation and benefits.
Put people first. There it is. The number one value in Rehmann’s list of five core values. Rehmann’s living commitment and vision is: Be THE firm of choice for clients and associates. The best professionals want to be part of the Rehmann team and many of them already are. The firm’s reputation and brand allow it to recruit the top candidates. Its mentoring and development systems allow it to retain them and help them excel. The Rehmann brand promise is: Business Wisdom Delivered. That doesn’t mean Rehmann people think they know it all. What it does mean is that they collaborate with their clients and the members of the internal team, taking care to really listen to what the client’s concerns are. They know what their goals are and work proactively, not reactively, to help them achieve them. The Rehmann service delivery model is part of this culture, serving as a path the firm follows to help its clients achieve success.
With founding values of innovation, entrepreneurship, and results over face time, this tax consultancy is intent on demonstrating its respect for employees by giving them complete ownership of their time to meet the demands in both their professional and personal lives. CEO Brint Ryan says the reason is obvious. “You cannot receive the very best business results, unless you have happy, productive, and enthusiastic employees. We do everything we can to build an organization and implement innovative programs that encourage employees to be productive and focus on work-life success.” Having a workplace flexibility program is one way that happens. When the company celebrated two decades in business in 2011, employees and their partners spent three days, all-expenses paid, in Las Vegas; five years earlier, it was Disney World in Orlando. But the giving back is more than just an employee/employer equation: staff are given paid time off to volunteer. In fact, CEO Ryan says most of the company’s programs and efforts to increase employee satisfaction are the direct result of listening to employees. “We wouldn’t be the successful company we are today, without our employees’ frank and open feedback and our willingness to act on those ideas that are in the best interest of our people and the business.”
At Sachse Construction, helping to create an environment where employees are happy isn’t terribly complicated. “We want our employees to work hard and play hard,” says CEO Todd Sachse, who adds that striving for a great work/life balance is key. Initiatives include flexible schedules, the ability to work from home when needed, and having a generous bereavement leave and unlimited paid jury duty leave available from day one. Employees also get additional paid time off for religious observance that are beyond the normal paid holidays, and a four-week paid sabbatical at 10 years and every five years thereafter. At work, TVs located throughout the office are there for “mind breaks” and monthly catered lunches, monthly happy hours, after work games, and charity golf outings are also featured. Sachse is also keen on communicating. “We feel informed employees are satisfied employees, so we make sure to communicate what is happening with the company on a regular basis,” he adds. Sachse believes upholding ideals goes both ways. “The standard we expect from our employees is exactly the standard the company upholds when seeing to its employees needs.” And the word spreads. “We benefit greatly from our employees telling other professionals how much fun they have, how valued they feel, and how much they love working for us,” says Sachse.
Why work for Seco Tools? The company says it simply enough: “Our people and our culture.” Three fundamental values help shape Seco’s corporate culture: Passion for its customers, family spirit, and personal commitment. At Seco, these are not just buzz-words. The company, a leading manufacturer and supplier of carbide cutting tools and associated equipment, strives to uphold these ideals. As a member of the team, employees are valued and supported with the tools they need to perform their job, and are surrounded by an environment that encourages them to be heard. Employee programs are designed to encourage and reward colleagues who are dedicated, responsible, creative, willing, eager, forward-thinking and proud. The culture within the company breeds a spirit of trust and mutual respect by focusing on transparent communication and a true open door policy. With that foundation, Seco builds internal and external relationships that are mutually beneficial. This culture better positions the firm for achievement of its strategic goal of growing market share. In short, Seco is a successful company driven by a strong culture.
Recruitment becomes easier, even in times when good staff is scarce, when one of the biggest sources is the people who already work for you. That’s the philosophy of Secure-24′s founders, including co-CEO Matthias Horch, who formerly worked for one of Germany’s largest SAP consulting firms. When his company’s plans to expand into the U.S. market evaporated with the dot-com bubble, he and co-founder Volker Straub went out on their own. Perhaps that history is why Secure-24 has developed such an accommodating culture, one that encourages employees to drive and run with ideas and innovations. Indeed, the company encourages individuals to take on new initiatives that improve work-life balance and contribute to the community, whether it be employee-run blood drives for the Red Cross, recycling programs, or Earth Day green initiatives. While some firms promote from within, Horch believes Secure-24 has taken that approach to a new level, by providing advancement opportunities and leadership tracks for everyone. “Our focus on nurturing leadership is based on a widespread belief that everyone with passion and a unique talent should be given a chance to succeed,” Horch says. “We have a deeply rooted commitment that everyone is supported to succeed, and that through supporting each other, we provide the best support to our clients.”
SERPEO is a small company that’s big on culture. It’s one that embraces its core values: “Can Do” attitude, Knowledge Driven, Passion for Success, Customer-Focused Teamwork and Do the Right Thing. In honoring its knowledge driven core value, the company trains and develops its employees to their full potential, recognizing that people are the firm’s most valuable asset. Employees are rewarded for a job well done and SERPEO is committed to providing a work environment that is challenging, inclusive and fun. SERPEO provides human resource outsourcing, benefit and payroll services to its clients, leading by example and providing employees with a comprehensive benefit package. The firm believes that human resources is about partnering with employees to help them become engaged and productive members of the team. SERPEO’s tagline is “helping people succeed” and the organization embodies this concept. When people come first, it shows a true desire to help them succeed; it follows that the companies served will succeed and so will SERPEO -¦ creating win-win-win situations. SERPEO client companies are of great importance to the firm-devoted to providing them with the same tools and philosophies that have made SERPEO a winning organization.
Service Express Inc.
How does a company average double-digit annual growth over the past decade? For Service Express, it’s about having the vision to help employees achieve their personal, professional and financial goals. As CEO Ron Alvesteffer explains: “SEI’s values are integral to our culture and our ability to achieve our vision.” Every employee has the opportunity to choose a path and have a meaningful impact on the company, which in turn, creates great opportunities to determine and achieve those goals, he adds. At the same time, it’s critical for employees at SEI to embrace the idea of becoming a lifelong learner. To that end, every employee has a professional development plan that includes learning activities and coaching sessions to enhance their knowledge and skills. Using a systematic approach to the education and development of employees is key, with new employee orientation, SEI culture training, peer mentoring, technical mentoring, executive coaching, SEI internal training programs, systematized management practices, conferences, seminars, professional development libraries, cross training and a management development program in place to achieve that strategy.
Every business has a story to tell. Shazaaam! PR helps businesses find their story, define their message, and then determine the best channels for them to be heard. The firm is about helping businesses strengthen their customer relationships, connecting them with new business opportunities, creating new relationships, enhancing and protecting their reputation. Their tools include word-of-mouth marketing, social media, events and creative thinking along with traditional advertising and public and media relations.
Managing customer relationships and complex projects require people with a great variety of competencies. That is why it is vital for Skanska to attract and recruit talent and to keep developing its people. When thinking of construction and project development, people may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Think again. To manage its customer relationships and its complex projects it needs people with a great variety of competencies. That is why it is vital to attract and recruit talent and to keep developing people. Working at Skanska means being prepared to live its values and beliefs, have high ethical standards, put safety as a priority, care for the environment and demonstrate an open and collaborative mindset. Employees are expected to develop business and think of creative solutions and offerings for its clients. People who work at Skanska need to manage operations in an outstanding manner and deliver what the firm has promised its customers. And to succeed with all of the above, Skanska employees need to be skilled in leading themselves as well as others.
Soil and Materials Engineers Inc.
SME is a professional consulting firm providing services in the geosciences, pavements, construction materials, Brownfield redevelopment and the environment. Since its founding in 1964, SME has provided professional engineering services at more than 73,000 project sites, and has grown to a staff of 250, with 11 offices in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. It supports clients at every stage of development and ownership, from site acquisition and design through construction and maintenance, and restoration and redevelopment by providing cost-saving, practical solutions to the most challenging site and building related problems. Despite the calamity of the housing market, tuition increases, the fear of rising medical costs, the volatility of foreign markets and governments, the uncertainty of the Dow, SME’s people remain optimistic, strong-minded and strong-willed. Over the past two years, the company has made a significant investment in offering Covey training to all SME team members and continues to generously support professional development and training, tuition reimbursement, and scholarships for engineering students. Its 22-year long engineering co-op program boasts over 300 graduates who have either joined SME on a full-time basis or moved on to become clients and industry leaders. Public recognition, as well as financial rewards, come to those who work hard, effectively, and collaboratively to achieve goals and help mentor others to higher levels of performance.
Stout Risius Ross Inc.
Employee engagement is key at this financial advisory firm. That means continually communicating the corporate vision, says CEO Craige Stout, although he adds that being serious all the time isn’t what the firm is about. “We place a great importance on providing a fun and engaging work environment for all of our employees.” At the same time, sharing financials and strategic plans is an important part of what makes SRR successful, as is an employee recognition program. But communication is among the most important activities, says Stout. “Communication between individuals and their management is encouraged to be frequent, particularly as it relates to the individual’s performance. We also have an open door policy that encourages comments and ideas from all employees.” Even then, SRR is striving to be better at what it does, especially as needs change. One example of that is a sabbatical policy that grants four consecutive paid weeks of vacation, allowing employees to re-engage with families and friends. Stout says the intent is similar to all initiatives designed to improve corporate life. “Our continual goal is to implement programs, policies, and practices that show we have put a substantial amount of thought into creating a mutually beneficial workplace between the firm and its employees.”
Strategic Staffing Solutions
Strategic Staffing Solutions, also known as “S3″ is a Michigan corporation founded in 1990 by President and CEO Cynthia J. Pasky. S3 is a provider of Information Technology Consulting, Customized Project Solutions, Vendor Management Programs, Executive Search Services, call center technology and IT and business development services to customers throughout the U.S. and Europe. Strategic Staffing Solutions is one of Michigan’s largest women-owned companies. S3 is ranked the 7th Largest Diversity Staffing Company in the nation by Staffing Industry Report and is ranked the 4th largest “Detroit-Area Women Owned Businesses” and as “One of the Best Places to Work” by Crain’s Detroit Business. Ernst and Young has recognized Pasky with their Entrepreneur of the Year award. Under the direction of Pasky and a highly skilled management team, company revenue and profits have increased steadily and exceeded projections during each of the past 19 years. Today S3 operates more than 20 branch locations in the U.S. and Europe with more than 1,800 dedicated employees providing a myriad of IT and business services. S3 is a preferred vendor for numerous Fortune 500 companies. S3 works as a team to create an environment committed to achievement, encouragement and pride.
Trubiquity is a leading software company that helps global enterprises securely manage the flow of information internally and among its extended network of customers, partners and suppliers. With top-tier customers in the automotive, aerospace and defense, manufacturing, retail, consumer products, health care and pharmaceutical industries, Trubiquity’s work environment affords an opportunity to devise industry-specific applications that help premier companies better share information, collaborate and manage projects. Industry and technical expertise are highly valued and sought out. The open communication, team-oriented atmosphere and support for an appropriate work-life balance make it an optimum workplace. CEO Stephen Koons says it best: “I am proud that our employees perceive our workplace as one that values their expertise and allows for job satisfaction. I view the camaraderie among Trubiquity team members as an expression of our company’s culture of commitment to our work and a universal desire to succeed.”
Turner Construction Company
Whatever the skyline, building or experience that first sparked an interest in construction, Turner Construction is ready to talk to people who have an interest in working with the firm. Every Turner project starts with a team of dedicated employees. The company is looking for individuals who are eager to develop their skills and apply them together to create the buildings where people play, work, learn and live. Naturally, Turner is interested in candidates with backgrounds related to construction management or engineering. But, like any other company, it is also are also looking for individuals in fields like finance, accounting, human resources and business development. People who work at Turner will not just build buildings; they will build a portfolio of skills and experience that will sustain their entire career. The work Turner does is collaborative, but the firm encourages its employees to set big goals and will help them achieve them.
UHY Advisors MI Inc.
As a public accounting firm, one might expect a company like UHY Advisors to look at the numbers and come up with a creative way to reward employees for their performance. And you’d be right. The reality in this industry is that staff work long hours in the first part of the year (think tax returns). Knowing that, UHY has set up a plan to allow its staff to bank hours for paid time off in the slower periods of the year. CEO Anthony Frabotta says taking that flexible approach has paid off in a long-term way. “Even during a down economy, we have employees doing amazing work and this process allows us to recognize and reward those employees.” While employees have a complex benefits plan, there’s also a good deal of flexibility when it comes to personal choice. And the company celebrates the workforce through three times a year breakfast meetings, an annual company picnic, and the support of civic interests. It’s all part of a recognition that there are three and a half months of “long, hard work” in tax season. But as Frabotta notes, “It’s how we deal with this timeframe (that) will set us apart from our competition.”
United Shore Financial Services
A mortgage banking firm, United Shore is about numbers. But it’s also about ideas -especially brilliant ones. In fact, it’s the name of a program the company has created to encourage and recognize employees who come up with ways to improve on the status quo. And once an employee’s idea is implemented, it is announced companywide to celebrate that individual’s contribution, with incentives to encourage participation. The company also offers discounts as a way of providing convenience and savings for its employees, partnering with businesses that can decrease the costs of daycare, grocery bills, and even fitness. The company creates compensation packages specifically designed for key positions, develops career-pathing for training and job enrichment, and a competitive benefits package. Company employees also enjoy playing together, whether that be hanging out at a Tiger’s game, cooking out at a company picnic or playing softball, with the same spirit of teamwork exhibited inside the office carrying over into after-work activities. “People look after each other,” notes CEO Kip Kirkpatrick. “We’re a lot like family. We like our jobs . . . and each other. And it shows.” At the same time, Kirkpatrick points out that business is an ever-changing entity. “We understand that by investing in the future of our employees, we’re investing in the future of USFS.”
University of Michigan Athletic Department
Michigan Athletics is recognized around the world, and is ranked as among the premiere collegiate athletic programs in the nation, both on the competition field and in the classroom. “We truly embrace and take pride in our unique culture,” says David A. Brandon, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics. “It’s a very intense, fast-moving and highly competitive environment and we demand integrity while working hard to win championships. We want to do a great job of preparing our student-athletes for success in their lives after athletic competition.” Holding staff to high standards of loyalty and dedication is a two-way street, adds Brandon. “We do everything possible to be a great place to work. We assist them in growing and improving as people and within their chosen career pursuits. We want the long hours and commitment they make in our department’s success to be rewarded with a commensurate amount of unique experiences, celebrations, rewards and fun.” Michigan Athletics is intent on recruiting the very best talent, both on and off the field. “We believe that in order to be successful, competitive and a great place to work, we must maintain a culture that is enriching and supportive for our team members in all aspects of their lives,” says Brandon.
University of Michigan Health System
With tens of thousands of admitted patients and more than one and a half million clinical visits, the University of Michigan Health System (which includes a medical school and nursing school), remains one of the region’s premier facilities. The medical school was the first in the nation to own its own hospital and among the first to admit women. It was also the first major medical school to teach science-based medicine.
The 10th largest private company in America, US Foods has more than $20 billion in annual revenue and employs approximately 25,000 people in more than 60 locations nationwide. A comprehensive and competitive benefit package is made available to all employees, including a company match with 401(k) after 30 days of employment. The company maintains a strong focus on growth in a high-performance environment. Employees are rewarded for their hard work; the company offers free onsite massages to its employees once a month and employees engage in community initiatives that support customers and the communities it serves. A Special Events Committee helps plan monthly employee activities.
Want a great place to work? The desire of Valassis to achieve and to do so in an environment of camaraderie is unparalleled. Valassis employees experience an energetic, innovative, empowering, inclusive, rewarding and dynamic environment filled with challenge, growth, resources and motivated associates who display tremendous passion for delivering results that exceed customers’ expectations. Valassis associates are recognized and rewarded through a set of special and unique benefits, perks and programs. The company knows its culture attracts and retains incredible talent. Valassis is dedicated to offering career development to associates. Leadership development and cross-functional job movement are key business strategies for the growth and retention of its top talent. Valassis looks for individuals who have a track record for exceeding goals — educational, personal and professional. It seeks people with strong educational backgrounds, a solid grasp of the industry, and good experience on the job. The firm needs people who have good customer service experience or have been in client-facing roles.
At w3r Consulting the firm takes pride in providing a true work/life balance for each and every employee. This is much more than a recruiting company; w3r is a partner with its employees. It has a commitment that at every stage of a consultant’s professional and personal development there is support and guidance. w3r has the “work hard, play harder motto.” People there work hard for employees by offering a competitive and complete benefit package. The firm has a strong leadership team that believes in mentoring junior employees and organizations to assist in growth of all levels. Staff are recognized for the value they provide and work to retain the team by continuously challenging them with additional roles and responsibilities. Finally, the firm loves to have a great time with its consultants, hosting a company golf league, sports outings, Employee Appreciation Days, luncheons, dinners and ongoing networking internally.
Keeping employees around is something for which Walbridge, an internationally acclaimed privately-held construction firm, understands the value. That’s where the fun begins. “We created a setting for collaboration through physical and virtual spaces where team members can work together and strengthen ideas,” says John Rakolta Jr., the firm’s CEO. “We did this by restructuring our work spaces to encourage team members to openly discuss ideas while still maintaining their personal privacy. We gave all team members virtual meeting tools to enable them to participate in corporate gatherings or private video chats with other team members regardless of location. And we provided virtual meeting spaces to keep track of group work product and promote ongoing communication. We also created a private virtual space for team members to list and track both corporate and private goals for their personal development.” At the same time, Walbridge has developed a deep sense of empathy for what employees may be going through in difficult times. “Employees have never been asked to accept furloughs or take pay cuts to help balance corporate coffers,” says Rakolta. “We have also created a healthier and greener place to work and encourage our team members to use their benefits to enhance their mental and physical well being.”
Warner Norcross & Judd LLP
Doug Wagner, the managing partner of one of the area’s most distinguished law firms, calls an effort to connect with employees “A Better Partnership.” He’s talking about a connection with employees and clients that is hard to beat. “WNJ is a place where you can engage in challenging work with clients and colleagues you enjoy for an organization you respect,” says Wagner, who adds that the firm has embraced flexibility as a core belief. “We attempt to be flexible in all that we do in order to meet the varied and changing needs of our firm members,” he says. Having scored in the 97th percentile of companies on the “Best and Brightest” list, Warner Norcross & Judd is inclusive in the best sense of the word. “First and foremost is our commitment to diversity and inclusion,” says Wagner. “We strive to create an inclusive environment built on respect, inclusion, and teamwork and our policies, benefits, and programs are highly influenced by this goal.” Another essential component is the firm’s focus on wellness, achieved by having a wellness coach on-site 10 hours per week to meet with any firm member. The firm has also demonstrated a commitment to community, with nearly continuous drives for food services, school supplies, eye glasses, blankets, pop can tops and other items.
Yeo & Yeo PC
John Kunitzer, managing partner of the CPA and business consulting firm, is at the helm of a very distinguished and celebrated enterprise, having been established in 1923. Still, he is looking to the future, having set up a team not only to identify emerging leaders but to create new ways to be even more successful. “We are consistently focused on creating a better environment for our employees,” says Kunitzer. “Having a high standard for client service and long-term relationships helps us attract and retain the most qualified and best talent and our culture ensures staff at all levels to have autonomy over their day-to-to work as well as their own professional development and growth.” The firm is one where family is considered to be among the highest priorities, having implemented numerous ways to help individuals and families be involved together, inside and outside of work. Kunitzer adds: “We treat our employees as professionals and help them understand once they become a CPA, that is who they are. They have the autonomy to develop this in whatever way they want to for themselves. We provide resources that will help them make the decisions and provide support to reach their goals.”
In addition to the overall winners, several companies took honors as Elite Winners in the following categories:
The Best of the Best Overall - Henry Ford Health System
The Best of the Best Small Business - Greenleaf Trust
Communication and Shared Vision — GTECH Services
Community Initiatives - Fifth Third Bank
Compensation, Benefits and Employee Solutions - Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn LLP
Diversity and Inclusion - Skanska
Employee Achievement and Recognition - Epitec Group Inc.
Employee Education and Development - Soil and Materials Engineers Inc.
Employee Enrichment, Engagement and Retention - Plex Systems Inc.
Recruitment, Selection and Orientation - OpTech LLC
Strategic Company Performance - Valassis
Work-Life Balance - Arrow Strategies