{' '} {' '}
Limited time offer
SAVE % on your upgrade.

Page 1

SUNDAY OCTOBER 20 2019

THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER .....................................................................

1Q


2Q

.....................................................................THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

SUNDAY OCTOBER 20 2019

CONTENTS TOP LARGE COMPANY WINNERS PAGE 2

Synchrony Compass Group Allstate TOP MIDSIZE COMPANY WINNERS PAGE 6

True Homes Hoopaugh Grading Morris TOP SMALL COMPANY WINNERS PAGE 7

Vannoy Construction Skookum Composite Resources Innovation ...............................8 Training...................................12 Compensation ........................13 Culture ....................................14 Trends .....................................15 Benefits...................................16 Special awards........................18 THE 2019 TOP WORKPLACES LIST

Rankings and details on 60 companies ...............10-11 Methodology..........................19

Synchrony finished at the top of the large company category this year.

Bigger can be better ABOUT THE COVER

Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A. A. O. Smith Corporation Adaptive Health

Synchrony (No. 1), Compass Group (No. 2) and Allstate (No. 3) lead the pack of large companies in the 2019 Top Workplaces survey By Page Leggett CORRESPONDENT

S

ynchrony’s vision is to build a Section published by The future where Charlotte Observer, 550 S. Caldwell St, Charlotte, NC every ambition is 28202. Editorial material in this within reach,” said Deirdre section is the responsibility of Allen, Charlotte site leader BRAND STRATEGY and senior vice president at @MCCLATCHY, 704-358-5185. Synchrony, the Stamford, It did not involve the news staff of The Observer. Connecticut-based finance company that came in No. Copyright 2019 by The 1 in the large company Charlotte Observer. All rights category this year. reserved. No part of this “We value the diversity of publication may be our business, people and reproduced or reprinted without written permission. ideas,” Allen said about the

public company that employs nearly 900 people in Charlotte. “In fact, it’s one of our greatest unifying and defining strengths.” An emphasis on diversity is a common denominator among all this year’s top workplaces. These companies confirm that strength comes from hiring a variety of people from a variety of backgrounds with a variety of life experiences. “Cultivating an environment of inclusiveness allows employees to bring

their best selves to work every day and contribute to the business in an impactful way,” Allen said. “By living our values, Synchrony has built a strong company culture – one that champions diversity, inclusion and employee development.” Synchrony’s rankings as a Great Place to Work and a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2018 and 2019 confirm that employees are proud to work for the company.

Compass Group North America (No. 2) is inherently diverse. The Charlotte-based company, the leading food and support services company with over $18.6 billion in revenues in 2018, has a culture that’s a “blend of 28 different companies with cultures, missions and business lines,” according to Cindy Noble, chief people officer. “We take the best of those and implement them across the organization, while also allowing each individual

company culture to flourish. We’re a melting pot.”

‘DO WHAT YOU’RE CALLED TO DO’ Noble started at Compass as a part-time host at Spiaggia, a refined Italian restaurant on Chicago’s famed Michigan Ave. She was just out of undergraduate school, had taken the MCAT and was preparing to head to medical school. A friend who was working

SEE LARGE, PAGE 4


4Q

.....................................................................THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

SUNDAY OCTOBER 20 2019

Large

CONTINUED, FROM PAGE 2

A focus on continuous improvement, a culture of inclusivity and mentoring helped make Allstate No. 3 on this year's list of top workplaces.

at Spiaggia for the summer suggested Noble come work with her to have some fun before she got back to the books. That summer changed Noble’s life. She fell in love with hospitality. She called her parents to deliver the news that becoming Dr. Noble was no longer part of her plan. “There was dead silence on the phone,” she recalled. “But then my dad said, ‘Honey, life is short. You should do what you’re called to do.’ ” “That is always in the back of my mind,” Noble said. “I’m always thinking: How can I help people get to their dream job?” Most of Compass’s leadership grew up in the business. “We understand what employees do,” said Noble. “Because we may have done their exact job.” Gary Green, CEO of Compass Group North America has been with the company 25 years. CFO Adrian Meredith has been there 30 years. Noble has 27 years with the company. The top 22 company officers have an incredible total of 448 years of Compass experience among them. Their average tenure is 20 years. Allstate Insurance (No. 3) traces its history back nearly 90 years. The company was founded in 1931 as part of Sears, Roebuck and Co., and was spun off in 1993. Allstate has a motto among employees: “Everyone leads from their seats.” Charlotte Brubaker, director of the program man-

agement office for Allstate in Charlotte, explained what that means: “We’re all empowered to be leaders.” No matter where you sit. No matter what your job title. She calls their culture “a culture of inclusivity” and notes that employees are empowered to join employee-led Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that help them advance their careers, connect to their communities and more. There’s an ERG for young professionals. Each ERG member is paired with a more senior employee who serves as a mentor. The Women in Tech ERG helps women in that line of work advance their careers. Xiomara Rivera, Allstate’s engagement leader in Charlotte, said a focus on continuous improvement is also a hallmark of their culture. “We try to be a little better each day than the day before,” she said of the company as a whole and the 2,045-person Charlotte office. Celebrating diversity turns out to be a cornerstone for companies that are great workplaces. “Synchrony believes our diversity is one of our greatest unifying strengths and helps to create a highperforming culture,” said Allen. “Our culture … is designed to help colleagues work together, get ahead, speak their minds, innovate and provide exceptional service to our clients and customers.”


SUNDAY OCTOBER 20 2019

THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER .....................................................................

We’re Allstate. We do insurance.

Our people make it happen. Allstate named a 2019 Top Workplace. Thanks to our employees for making us one of The Charlotte Observer Top Workplaces – again. Explore opportunities to join our award-winning team in Data Science, Human Resources, Claims, Customer Service, Marketing, Sales & Technology.

Visit Allstate.jobs

Allstate Insurance Company is an equal opportunity employer. ©2019 Allstate Insurance Company. All rights reserved. J3754

2019

5Q


6Q

.....................................................................THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

SUNDAY OCTOBER 20 2019

Right in the middle True Homes (No. 1), Hoopaugh Grading (No. 2) and Morris Jenkins (No. 3) prove that midsize can be just the right size By Page Leggett CORRESPONDENT

T

he associates at Monroe, N.C.based True Homes (No. 1) have a good time at work. When asked what makes the True Homes culture special, Nick Bacon, corporate counsel, joked that it’s “free food.” He and Lyncel Earley, SPHR, SHRM-CP, True Homes’s senior HR manager, both laughed – but said it’s partially true. Food is a frequent star of the privately held company’s meetings. But company associates – they’re not called employees – get together outside work, too. They have a softball tournament, and recently 350 of them (that number includes family members) went to a Charlotte Knights baseball game. Transparency and honesty are critical at the semicustom home builder. “Perfection is impossible,” Bacon said, “but it’s through the pursuit of perfection that we achieve greatness.” “Employees want to feel safe and secure,” Bacon said. “Housing is cyclical, but we have a core belief that we shouldn’t have to lose even one person during a downturn. Employees know that’s our model.” Hoopaugh Grading’s (No. 2) culture is based on five core values that were established by employees

Housing is cyclical, but we have a core belief that we shouldn’t have to lose even one person during a downturn. Employees know that’s our model.” - Nick Bacon, corporate counsel, True Homes

Transparency and honesty are critical at the semi-custom home builder True Homes, according to corporate counsel Nick Bacon.

themselves, said Brandon Lindsey, vice president of operations. “No matter who you ask on the team, chances are that they know the core values and can give you examples of how they apply in their position,” he said. The company, a licensed general contractor specializing in site development and employing nearly 400 people, takes these values to heart: A We do what it takes. A We are dependable. A We are respectful. A We keep things simple. A We do all things with integrity

Hoopaugh leaders stay in regular touch with employees. “They lead by example,” Lindsey said, calling them servant leaders. “That leadership style has been modeled by the owner, Brian McManus. He is very in tune with the employees’ needs and wants. The leadership team constantly asks employees, ‘How are we doing? How can we help? What tools do you need to be successful? How can be become better?’” “Last year was the first time we participated in the Top Workplace program, and it was transformational for our team,” Lindsey said.

“We collected hundreds of comments from employees. We took the feedback and established a task force dedicated to addressing the areas of opportunity. The task force presented their plan, ‘Becoming the BEST,’ to the leadership team, and the company adopted the plan immediately.” Hoopaugh hires the best and then gives their employees the best tools and equipment, said President Brian McManus. Employees who operate heavy equipment don’t have to suffer through brutal summers or bitter winters in machinery that’s not cli-

mate-controlled, for instance. Climate control is the domain of the well-known heating and cooling company, Morris Jenkins (No 3). Luther Morris started his business in 1958 out of his pickup truck. The company, still family-owned, operates on what they call the six E’s: engage, educate, empower, enable, execute, enjoy. “If we do the first four, the last two sort of take care of themselves,” said Jonathan Bancroft, president and CEO. Almost 28,000 households have Morris Jenkins

on a maintenance contract which grants them priority status. “Our core purpose is to make it easy for customers to do business with us.” Bancroft is a long-term Morris Jenkins employee; he started working for the company 21 years ago and recently published a book called “Mr. Jenkins Told Me.” It’s about the principles he learned from Dewey Jenkins, the company founder, who’s practically ubiquitous in TV and billboard ads featuring him and a rookie employee, Bobby.


SUNDAY OCTOBER 20 2019

THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER .....................................................................

Small, but mighty

While considered small companies, Vannoy Construction (No. 1), Skookum (No. 2) and Composite Resources (No. 3) offer big perks By Page Leggett CORRESPONDENT

W

e’re a family,” is how CEO Bill Blank, Vannoy Construction (No. 1) executive vice president, describes the culture at the Jefferson, N.C.-based company. “We’re the 18th largest privately held company in North Carolina, but we act small. We keep it simple, which is what our company founders, Jim and Wilma Vannoy, wanted.” Vannoy’s corporate attri-

Jefferson, N.C.-based Vannoy Construction acts small and keeps it simple according to the wishes of the founders, according to CEO Bill Blank.

butes are referred to as the four H’s – honor, humility, hospitality and hustle. The company doesn’t have a

mission statement; they let the four H’s serve the same purpose. (Plus, the four H’s are a lot easier to remem-

We would like to thank our employees for voting us a Top Workplace for 3 years! We are a great place to work because of each of you!

ber than most corporate mission statements.) The company is loosely structured, Blank said. “We operate as a team. Success is infinitely divisible. If we succeed as a company, we all succeed.” “We are not an HR policy-rich company,” Blank said. “We place people and progress over process.” “If an employee is going through a crisis – say with one of their children – we’re going to rally around that family,” he said. Not because there’s a policy dictating it. But because the company’s leadership feels it’s the right thing to do. “Our HR department is

7Q

We operate as a team. Success is infinitely divisible. If we succeed as a company, we all succeed.” > BILL BLANK, CEO, VANNOY CONSTRUCTION

one person,” Blank said and laughed. “And even that’s overstating it because she has other duties outside HR.” Skookum (No. 2), a software development and consulting company employing around 100 people, has a simple policy when it comes to hiring and managing people. “We hire good people and give them autonomy,” said Mark Flowers, senior vice president of People Operations. “We trust them to make decisions. We don’t need to micromanage.” Part of that autonomy

includes allowing employees to leave early when they need to. “If your child has a sporting event or a doctor’s appointment, we don’t try to monitor that,” said Flowers. “We give employees the freedom to leave early when needed.” Hiring managers at Skookum are also looking to ensure a good cultural fit. They interview to determine how closely aligned a prospective employee’s value are in line with the company’s core values. “We hire based on our core

SEE SMALL , PAGE 8

2019

www.pulcra-chemicals.com


8Q

.....................................................................THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

SUNDAY OCTOBER 20 2019

Innovation nation

Top companies are getting creative when it comes to keeping employees satisfied By Page Leggett CORRESPONDENT

H

oopaugh Grading Company (HGC) is innovating in HR – beginning with the name of the department and its mission. “About two years ago, we changed our HR department to our ‘Team Development’ group,” said Brandon Lindsey, vice president of operations. The message behind the new moniker? “We wanted to be a teaching company, and we want to develop our future leaders from within,” Lindsey said. “We want to provide a career path and the tools to get there. That shift in direction led to the creation of the HGC Leadership Academy and the HGC Apprenticeship program,” which are expected to begin in early 2020. “These programs are designed to provide job-

Small

CONTINUED, FROM PAGE 7 values,” Flowers said. Those values are: A Embrace change A Choose to be happy A Own it A Give more than you take Composite Resources, the Rock Hill, S.C.-based composite engineering and manufacturing company, (No. 3) has an open-book

specific training, leadership skills and soft skills training,” Lindsey said. “We have partnered with local community colleges and trade partners to build the curriculum.” Morris Jenkins changed the name of its former HR team, too. It’s now the member experience team. During healthcare enrollment, that team plans a family night – which is not for employees, but for their spouses or significant others – to educate enrollees in their options. Healthcare enrollment in America is inherently confusing. The spouse who’s enrolling his entire family in a healthcare plan may not know everything he or she needs to consider. So, Morris Jenkins invites spouses in, serves them supper and helps demystify a fraught, complicated topic. Skookum is innovating in

the training arena. First, they look for people who love learning during the hiring process. Then, they give employees a budget to use for self-directed training. Senior Vice President of People Operations Mark Flowers said, “Employees don’t want to ask for permission any time they want to buy a book that can help them in business. So, in 2018, we rolled out a training budget for all employees. Everyone gets $1,000 to spend as they wish. It can go toward books, classes, online tutorials, conferences. It’s all been preapproved.” If someone’s training costs exceed their allotted $1,000, that employee can ask for his manager’s OK. “We’re encouraging employees to take ownership of their careers,” Flowers said.

policy with employees, said Morgan Brady, managing partner. “All our financial information – with the exception of individual salaries – is open to any employee.” That information gets shared every Monday morning. So, employees always know how the company is doing. And by extension, they know how they’re doing. Quarterly bonuses (yes, quarterly) are

attached to the company’s overall performance. Some employees earn up to 8% of their income in that quarterly bonus. And every employee is eligible. Composite Resources’ mission is to create success for their customers. Brady explained, “We’re a contract manufacturer. We don’t have our own products.” When their customers succeed, they do, too.


TOP WORKPLACE 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019

GREAT PEOPLE OFFERING THE BEST IN FOOD & HOSPITALITY FOR BUSINESS, EDUCATION, HEALTHCARE, AND SPORTS ACROSS

OUR HOMETOWN! WWW.COMPASSGROUPCAREERS.COM


10Q

.....................................................................THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

SUNDAY OCTOBER 20 2019

TOP WORKPLACES 2019 List of the top 60 workplaces in the Charlotte area

Rank Size

Company

Year Ownership Sector Founded

Headquarters

Charlotte Employees Years area in the on list locations region

1

Large

Synchrony

2014

Public

Credit & Finance

Stamford, Conn.

1

893

1

2

Large

Compass Group North America

1994

Public

Foodservice & Support Services

Charlotte

400

6294

5

3

Large

Allstate Insurance Company

1931

Public

General Insurance

Northbrook, Ill.

2

2045

3

4

Large

Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A.

1923

Private

Physicians Practice

Charlotte

17

714

3

5

Large

Atrium Health

1940

Non-profit Healthcare

Charlotte

2

36000

1

6

Large

RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corporation

2007

Private

Mortgage Lending

Charlotte

1

554

3

1

Medium

True Homes LLC

2008

Private

Residential Construction

Monroe, NC

4

210

4

2

Medium

Hoopaugh Grading

1953

Private

Site Development

Charlotte

1

385

2

3

Medium

Morris-Jenkins Heating, Air and 1958 Plumbing

Private

Heating and Air

Charlotte

1

448

3

4

Medium

CliftonLarsonAllen LLP

2012

Private

Professional Services (Audit, Tax, Consulting)

N/A

1

248

1

5

Medium

Providence Day School

1970

Non-profit Primary / Secondary School

Charlotte

1

337

2

6

Medium

Key Benefit Administrators

1979

Private

Consulting Benefit Administrator Indianapolis, Ind.

1

198

4

7

Medium

POWERHOME Solar & Roofing 2015

Private

Solar energy contractor

Mooresville, NC

2

185

1

8

Medium

Passport Labs, Inc.

2010

Private

Enterprise Software

Charlotte

1

183

5

9

Medium

Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine 1940 Associates

Private

Physicians Practice

Charlotte

8

445

5

10

Medium

Townsquare Interactive

2011

Public

Digital Marketing Agency

Charlotte

1

445

3

11

Medium

Union Academy

2000

Non-profit Primary / Secondary School

Monroe, NC

1

219

3

12

Medium

GSM Services

1927

Private

Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, & Refrigeration

Gastonia, NC

2

191

3

13

Medium

Fifth Third Bank

1858

Public

Financial Services

Cincinnati, Ohio

1

418

4

14

Medium

LendingTree

1996

Public

Lending marketplace

Charlotte

1

494

5

1

Small

Vannoy Construction

1952

Private

Building Construction

Jefferson, NC

1

55

5

2

Small

Skookum

2005

Private

Custom Software Development & Consulting

Charlotte

1

90

4

3

Small

CR Manufacturing LLC

1993

Partnership Manufacturing

Rock Hill, SC

1

67

1

4

Small

American Income Life (Reyes Agencies, LLC)

2016

Private

Financial Services & Insurance

Matthews, NC

2

60

3

5

Small

Wharton-Smith, Inc.

1984

Private

Commercial, Water/Wastewater

Sanford, Fla.

1

35

1

6

Small

Gateway Ambulatory Surgery Center

2006

Partnership Healthcare

Charlotte

1

83

5


SUNDAY OCTOBER 20 2019

THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER .....................................................................

11Q

7

Small

Pinnacle Financial Partners

2000

Public

Commercial Bank

Nashville, Tenn.

13

128

1

8

Small

FiltersFast.com

2004

Private

Ecommerce

Charlotte

2

53

2

9

Small

Charles Schwab

1973

Public

Financial Services

San Francisco, Calif.

1

60

4

10

Small

Horizon Investments

1999

Private

Investment Management

Charlotte

1

54

1

11

Small

Flores & Associates

1986

Private

Administrator of Tax-Advantage Reimbursement Plans

Charlotte

1

66

4

12

Small

Adaptive Health

2009

Private

Nutritional Supplements

Charlotte

1

42

1

13

Small

Dry Pro Foundation and Crawl- 1999 space Specialists

Private

Waterproofing, Foundation and Concrete Repair

Charlotte

1

99

2

14

Small

MPV Properties, LLC

2010

Partnership Integrated Development, Construction, & Management

Charlotte

1

44

5

15

Small

Search Solution Group

2002

Private

Staffing

Charlotte

1

49

1

16

Small

RingCentral

1999

Public

Cloud Communications and Collaboration

Belmont, Calif.

1

120

2

17

Small

The Container Store

1978

Public

Storage and organization retailer

Coppell, Tex.

1

40

4

18

Small

Eastwood Homes

1977

Private

Home Building

Charlotte

1

109

1

19

Small

A. O. Smith Corporation

1874

Public

Manufacturing

Milwaukee, Wis.

1

50

1

20

Small

CCS Construction Staffing

2008

Private

Construction - Staffing

Charlotte

1

57

2

21

Small

Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group

1996

Private

Mortgage Lending

Virginia Beach, Va. 5

56

4

22

Small

2ULaundry

2016

Private

Dry cleaning and laundry services Charlotte

2

128

1

23

Small

Stewart

1994

Private

Structural, Civil, Geotechnical Engineering

Raleigh

2

42

2

24

Small

Sherpa

2001

Partnership Staffing

Charlotte

1

36

3

25

Small

OneMagnify

2000

Private

Marketing Technology

Detroit, Mich.

1

61

4

26

Small

Bonitz, Inc.

1954

Private

Commercial Flooring and Contracting

Concord, NC

1

51

2

27

Small

Securly, Inc.

2013

Partnership K-12 Student Safety

Charlotte

1

35

1

28

Small

Union

2002

Private

Digital Marketing

Charlotte

1

67

1

29

Small

Costner Law Office, PLLC

2009

Private

Real Estate Law

Charlotte

2

50

1

30

Small

Magellan Aviation Group

2000

Partnership Aerospace Products & Services

Clover, NC

1

66

4

31

Small

U.S. District Court

1900

Government

Charlotte

1

51

5

32

Small

BDO USA, LLP

1910

Partnership Certified Public Accountants & Consultants

Chicago, Ill.

1

97

2

33

Small

Deephaven Mortgage LLC

2013

Private

Mortgage Lending

Charlotte

3

144

1

34

Small

GMR Marketing

1979

Public

Advertising & Marketing

New Berlin, Wis.

1

37

5

35

Small

Panda Restaurant Group

1973

Private

Restaurant

Rosemead, Calif.

10

102

1

36

Small

Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.ÂŽ

1976

Public

Financial Services Industry

Monett, Mo.

1

141

5

37

Small

Drury Hotels

1973

Private

Hospitality

St. Louis, Mo.

3

111

1

38

Small

TransUnion

1968

Public

Information Services

Chicago, Ill.

1

51

5

39

Small

Robert Half

1948

Public

Staffing

San Ramon, Calif. 2

75

1

40

Small

Pulcra Chemicals, LLC

2007

Private

Chemicals / Paint

Rock Hill, SC

61

3

Federal Government

1


12Q

.....................................................................THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

SUNDAY OCTOBER 20 2019

Train of thought

Training is not an add-on. It’s essential to employee satisfaction – and to the bottom line By Page Leggett CORRESPONDENT

C

1. DESCRIBE YOUR CORPORATE CULTURE. WHAT MAKES IT UNIQUE?

At Synchrony, we’re proud to say we’ve built a culture that stands for strong values and a bold commitment to do the right thing for our partners, customers and team members. We value the diversity of our business, people and ideas.

2. DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY’S LEADERSHIP AND HOW THEY ADDRESS EMPLOYEE WANTS AND NEEDS.

With a core determination to always listen to employees, our leaders strive to create an open, transparent work environment and believe that open communication and feedback are critical. The leadership team connects with employees through a multitude of site visits, employee roundtables, panel discussions and digital experiences that allow management to listen and learn.

3. WHAT DO YOUR EMPLOYEES WANT FROM THEIR EMPLOYER?

Our employees need to hear from leadership about how their jobs connect to the larger direction and vision of the company. In turn, employees understand how Synchrony offers competitive starting wages with generous benefits that start from day one.

4. WHAT ELSE SHOULD READERS KNOW ABOUT YOUR COMPANY AND ITS EMPLOYEES?

The caring culture of our company and employees has rippled out to the Charlotte community. On average, nearly 300 of our Charlotte employees volunteer more than 1,000 hours per year as well as provide grants to 6 local organizations. Our focus areas are family homelessness, out-of-school care for kids, and economic security.

synchronycareers.com

omposite Resources has grown so fast that company leaders wondered if teams were becoming too specialized and insular. It’s great to be an expert in your own area, but employees need to know how their team fits into the entire company structure. The way to ensure everyone appreciates how their work ties into the work of the company? Through training. “We’ve really begun a sharp focus on training,” said Morgan Brady, managing partner. “During every employee’s first week, they make a part – a Composite Resources logo – out of carbon fiber. Whether you’ve joined business services, engineering, production, quality control or shipping, you’re going to be creating a CR logo. “It’s important that people know what teammates in adjacent departments do,” Brady said. Training is paramount at Vannoy Construction, too. Safety training is especially important. There are OSHA guidelines employees have to know by heart. And CPR training is essential, too. That’s not to say that technical training doesn’t get its due. The company invests heavily in ensuring employees have the training they need on all the office systems. At Compass Group North America, training begins with new hire onboarding. “We’re a very big company,”

Training at True Homes is “endless,” and is part of the company’s culture.

said Cindy Noble, chief people officer. (In fact, there are about 285,000 employees.) “When you start, you need to feel comfortable.” She and her team strive to get new hires acclimated right away. The sooner an employee feels welcomed and valued, the sooner that employee will be likely to contribute to the esprit de corps. “Being a learning organization leads to becoming a growth organization,” said Jonathan Bancroft, president and CEO of Morris Jenkins. “And I’m talking about growth for the people within your organization.” Morris Jenkins has its own in-house university, which Bancroft said is “virtually unheard of” in their industry. Live and online classes offer technical training and soft skills training. “We have a full-tome staff of educators,” Bancroft said. “One is a former CMS Teacher of the Year.” Employees are empowered to make their own best decisions. “We are delivering services inside people’s homes,” Bancroft said. “There is little to no chance we could have a procedures manual that outlines every possible sce-

nario that could come up. So, we give our employees freedom to make the decisions they feel are right for their customer.” If management feels the employee should have made a different decision, they consider it a one-on-one coaching opportunity. Morris Jenkins was the first company in the HVAC industry to recognize an extreme shortage of qualified service people, Bancroft said. So, the company created a 10-week “Build a Plumber” program. “They’re paid while they’re in school. They don’t pay us. At the end of the program, we have a college-style graduation and hand out diplomas. Mr. Jenkins always gives the commencement address.” Morris Jenkins has harnessed the power of social media and uses it as a teaching tool for employees. “When employees walk in the office, they see TV screens that show our social media reviews from Yelp and other sites in real time,” Bancroft said. “We also start every meeting by sharing an celebrating the best ones.” Training at True Homes is

SEE TRAINING , PAGE 13


SUNDAY OCTOBER 20 2019

THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER .....................................................................

Show me the money

Compensation isn’t the only thing employees care about. But it’s part of the overall package By Page Leggett CORRESPONDENT

W

e hear a lot about the pay disparity between men and women in the workplace. A March 2019 story on the Pew Research website reports, “In 2018, women earned 85% of what men earned, according to [an] analysis of median hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers in the United States. Based on this estimate, it would take an extra 39 days of work for women to earn what men did in 2018.” True Homes decided to do something about it. “We righted the ship,” is how Nick Bacon, operations partner and corporate counsel, phrased it. True Homes has an equal pay policy that ensures equal pay for equal work, regard-

Training

CONTINUED, FROM PAGE 12 “endless,” according to Nick Bacon, operations partner and corporate counsel. “And I don’t say that flippantly,” he said. “It really is part of our culture.” Every new associate gets a 30-, 60- and 90-day onboarding plan. That new team member and his or her manager are able to check new skills and habits off the list as the new hire masters them. “Our training culture pushes every associate into

less of gender, race or any other qualifier. “We take this very seriously,” said Bacon. “Our system is completely fair, although that is not the norm.” The company took it so seriously that they looked at every employee’s salary. There were people who’d joined the company when unemployment was high who came in at a lower salary than they otherwise would have. True Homes gave them a pay increase to get them to where their peers were. In a hot housing market, anyone who works in residential development or construction is in demand. Bacon said, “In this market, we know that if employees don’t love it here, they can easily be lured away. Part of keeping associates satisfied is ensuring they’re compensated well. Every associate has a

bonus opportunity, Bacon said. “If the company wins, we all win,” he said. “We all share in everyone’s success.” Vannoy Construction leaders are proud of their bonus program – which, according to EVP Bill Blank, pays out even in lean years. Mark Flowers, senior vice president of People Operations at Skookum, said their company can’t compete head-to-head with big financial services companies on compensation. So, they get creative on other perks. Ensuring a good work/life balance is one area he said Skookum excels. The company also puts an emphasis on having fun together. Managers have a budget to use at their discretion to take their teams out to lunch or on other quarterly outings.

growth mode,” Bacon said. “We’re a small company with a stable workforce,” he continued. “People tend to stay. So, when you look at an org chart, you may not see obvious ways to grow and advance. Our emphasis on training ensures employees are always growing – personally and professionally – in their roles.” And are ready for new challenges and their next big role when it comes along. True Homes’s Lyncel Earley already had her PHR certification. But her bosses

encouraged her to continue her education. With their support – and flex time – she was able to study for and take the next-level certification. She now has her SPHR designation, as well. Training is so much a part of life at Skookum that a learning mindset factors into the company’s hiring decisions. “We look for people who love learning and aggressively pursue it,” said Senior Vice President of People Operations Mark Flowers.

13Q


14Q

.....................................................................THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

SUNDAY OCTOBER 20 2019

At Vannoy Construction, the family-first culture includes allowing employees time off when their kids need to go to the doctor or have a sporting event.

Culture Club

The unwritten rules at a company – its culture, in other words – may be what employees care about most By Page Leggett CORRESPONDENT

C

ulture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” said Jonathan Bancroft, president and CEO of Morris Jenkins. He’s paraphrasing – and embellishing – the famous phrase attributed to the late management guru Peter Drucker. “The stronger your culture, the fewer rules and regulations you need,” Bancroft said. “Where the culture is strong, people are empowered to be independent.” According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “… culture is how things get done in

your workplace. Comprised of unwritten rules and values that employees follow to do their jobs, HR’s challenge is to ensure that the climate is not dysfunctional.” They key word in that sentence may be “unwritten.” Nearly every company has an employee handbook. Many have policy manuals. But culture can’t be contained in a Word document. A CEO can’t dictate the company culture, although he or she can model it. In a July 2019 opinion piece on Forbes.com, H.V. MacArthur wrote, “In Glassdoor’s new mission and culture workplace sentiment survey, they found that … 58% of employees and job seekers say company culture

is more important than salary when it comes to job satisfaction.” “Let’s not assume that everyone suddenly stopped valuing their paychecks,” MacArthur continued. “But I think that does speak to what actually engages employees and what might disengage them.” What might engage them? Having fun in the workplace is one way. At Morris Jenkins, even meetings are fun. “We love to celebrate,” Bancroft said. Company outings include movie nights and outings to Knights baseball games. “Five or six times a year, we have legendary all-company breakfasts with food trucks, lots of kids, a carnival in the parking lot,” he said. “Our 30,000-square-foot warehouse is converted into the biggest kitchen you’ve ever seen.” Composite Resources puts an emphasis on fun, too. A tubing trip down the Catawba River has become an annual tradition. It’s an

activity everyone can participate in. Not everyone can hit or catch a baseball … or lob a volleyball over the net. But everyone can float. Deirdre Allen, Charlotte site leader and senior vice president at Synchrony, the Stamford, Connecticutbased finance company, said giving back to the community is a key feature of their culture. “On average, nearly 300 of our Charlotte employees volunteer more than 1,000 hours per year,” she said. Hope Haven, a nonprofit that provides temporary housing and life skills training for chemically dependent adults and families, is one of Synchrony’s favorite organizations to support. “Our employees have painted and furnished rooms at the facility, prepared hygiene kits for the clients and built bicycles so the clients have an easier means of transportation,” Allen said. Synchrony also gave Hope Haven a grant to support their family pro-

gram, including the hiring of a licensed children’s counselor.

STAYING IN TOUCH Knowing what employees want is crucial if employers are going to ensure they’re delivering what employees want. Compass Group North America’s leadership finds out how they’re doing in an annual employee engagement survey. The most recent survey, which netted 135,000 responses, revealed that employee satisfaction had gone up one percentage point. Chief People Officer Cindy Noble said that’s “huge” for a company their size. There’s something else that sets Compass Group apart. “We have a humble culture,” Noble said. “We’re not aggressive. We believe that if we take care of our people, we’ll be the industry leader.” In other words, satisfied employees lead to satisfied customers.

At Vannoy Construction, the family-first culture includes allowing employees time off when their kids need to go to the doctor or have a sporting event. “If you need to leave at 3, you can leave at 3,” said EVP Bill Blank. “We’re in a customerservice business. We care about customer service and quality, and if our people are delivering on those,” it’s not a big deal to take off a couple of hours early occasionally. It’s also an informal culture. “Most of us wear jeans and work boots,” said Blank. “We’re out walking jobs every day.” Staying humble is also part of Vannoy’s culture. No matter how big the company gets, employees still think of it as a family business. And no matter the size of the company, customers will always come first. “Customer service is dying,” Blank said. “You see it every day. But we have an allegiance to customer service and will continue to.” In an industry famous for missing deadlines, Vannoy delivered a new, four-story dormitory for Queens University in nine months and three weeks – nine days ahead of schedule. Cindy Noble, Compass Group North America’s chief people officer, said culture has never been more important than it is today. Given record low unemployment, employees have a lot of latitude these days. “We want to hold on to our great people,” Noble said. “We’re in a high turnover industry. The average is something like 70 to 75%. Our salaried turnover is at just 11%.”


SUNDAY OCTOBER 20 2019

THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER .....................................................................

On trend

Top companies don’t chase HR trends; they stay ahead of them By Page Leggett CORRESPONDENT

G

reat employers don’t wait to see what HR trends are coming down the pike. They dream up and initiate the industryleading programs that may one day become trends. Hoopaugh Grading offers an attractive – and unusual in the construction industry – benefit: A guaranteed 35 hours per week benefit to all employees. “Employees appreciate that since our business is so heavily impacted by weather,” said

Brandon Lindsey, vice president of operations. Hoopaugh President Brian McManus said, “This can be a difficult career. We’re always trying to beat the rain or beat the winter.” So, the company has committed to a guaranteed 35

hours of work (and pay) each week – regardless of the weather. Employees want flex time, Cindy Noble said. In fact, it may be the benefit employees crave more than any other. The Compass Group North America chief people

officer said the strong gig economy has led to flexible scheduling being at the forefront of what employees want. “We have to stay ahead of trends,” Noble said. “As a large company, we have to be a trendsetter or be left behind. Since we’re a blend of 26 smaller companies, we get to use those as business incubators – or test kitchens, really. If a pilot gets great results, we’ll roll it out to the rest of the company.” Compass leaders want to see more women helming commercial kitchens and is putting a big emphasis on giving women culinarians a leg up in the workplace. They’re also taking care of their people by helping them develop careers, said Noble.

Compass Group believes in promoting from within their ranks. “There’s no reason anyone should ever leave our company unless they retire,” Noble said. There’s always a new opportunity or more responsibility for those interested in pursuing it. Checking in with employees is a priority for most employers. True Homes conducts an annual associate satisfaction survey. “Our owners read every comment,” said Lyncel Earley, senior HR manager. “If there’s something bothering one associate and it shows up on other surveys – so there seems to be a consensus – they’re going to take action.” A number of employers recognize that employees

15Q

want and need frequent feedback. They’re moving away from the perfunctory once-a-year performance review to providing regular, ongoing feedback. Skookum is moving to a Continuous Performance Management Plan, said Mark Flowers, senior vice president of People Operations. “We used to do 360degree performance reviews twice a year,” he said. “But we discovered people had a hard time recalling what one of their teammates was doing five-and-a-half months ago. If we want to help people get a little better each day, we need to give them feedback more often than once or twice a year. For us, a shorter feedback cycle is working well.”

Thanks to our gr eat employe es!

thank you Drury team members, for your dedication & commitment to our guests and each other.

President & CEO

T

he Gateway Surgery Center is an innovative outpatient surgical facility that has been serving the greater Concord - Kannapolis area for ten years. Our staff is comprised of healthcare professionals with extensive surgical experience. Our state-of-the-art facility combines high quality technology with warm, personalized care. We are a multi-specialty ambulatory center providing surgical care in the following areas:

ENT | GASTROENTEROLOGY | GENERAL SURGERY GYNECOLOGY | OPHTHALMOLOGY | ORTHOPEDICS PAIN MANAGEMENT | PLASTIC/COSMETIC PODIATRY | UROLOGY

Our team members love it here and so would you!

Apply Online at DruryCareers.com

1025 NorthEast Gateway Court, NE Concord, NC 28025 • (704) 920-7020

Visit our website to explore current openings for healthcare professionals www.gatewayasc.com


16Q

.....................................................................THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

SUNDAY OCTOBER 20 2019

The Adaptive Health team celebrates being awarded GNC's 2019 Top Product of the Year for Nugenix.

Beyond salary

For most workers, it’s about more than a paycheck. Top employers offer an array of benefits – from the essential (healthcare!) to the small perks By Page Leggett CORRESPONDENT

A

ccording to the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) 2019 Benefits report, “… employee benefits offerings tend to evolve over time rather than seeing abrupt year-over-year changes.” Healthcare insurance is

among the most important – and costly – benefits an employer can offer. “According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, average family health insurance premiums have increased twice as fast as workers’ earnings and three times as fast as inflation since 2008,” according to the SHRM report. “In addition to fueling a

shift to health insurance plans which shift more responsibility to employees, such as high-deductible health plans, employers’ decision-making on total benefits packages is often dominated by health insurance.” Perks can come in all sizes, though – from the hefty (the amount companies spend to cover em-

ployees’ health insurance) to the nifty (stand-up desk) to the no-cost (part-time telecommuting). Sometimes, company perks have four wheels. At Vannoy Construction, project managers and superintendents get a company vehicle. The entire fleet numbers more than 200 automobiles. Company credit cards come with the message to use them responsibly. “We want to be nimble and quick, and we give our people the tools to do that,” EVP Bill Blank said.

Adaptive Health’s (No. 12, Small Companies) provides employees a wide range of benefits to encourage both personal and professional well-being. Financial wellness education encourages good personal financial decision making, and a $500 annual vacation reimbursement (wow!) encourages a positive work/life balance. In addition to a paid time off (PTO) plan, Adaptive Health employees get an “extra holiday” in every month that doesn’t already have a company holiday. It adds up to 16 holidays per

year. Charles Schwab’s (No. 9, Small Companies) benefits include automatic enrollment in the company’s 401(k) plan including company matching contributions, an annual bonus plan with quarterly payouts, an employee stock purchase plan, a matching gifts program for charitable contributions and discounts on some products and services. Besides the medical, dental and vision plans you’d expect, Schwab offers a sabbatical program for eligible employees after five years of service.


SUNDAY OCTOBER 20 2019

THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER .....................................................................

17Q

Join Our Caring Team Looking for exceptional people To work with exceptional people

Panda Express is honored to be recognized as one of the

Top Workplaces in

Charlotte To learn more about the Panda family, visit us at www.pandacareers.com

Direct Support Professional/Personal Care Assistant FT, PT, Weekend Relief – 1st, 2nd, 3rd Shifts

Working with Individuals with Intellectual Developmental Disabilities Assist with activities of daily living (bath & meal times) Participate in activities: education, recreation, creative arts Required: High School Diploma, minimum age/18, Basic Computer Skills

Apply at Holy Angels 6600 Wilkinson Blvd., Belmont, NC 28012 or online www.HolyAngelsNC.org/careers

Need to add staff?

We’ve got local talent at your fingertips Find the right candidate at the right time. We’ve added new online recruitment services that will get your ad the best visibility with local candidates.

Use a one-stop hiring solution. No matter what positions you need to fill, we can make sure your message is seen by qualified job seekers.

When you need to hire, turn to a trusted local source. Get started today at jobs.charlotteobserver.com


18Q

.....................................................................THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER

SUNDAY OCTOBER 20 2019

How is technology changing your workplace culture?

By Doug Claffey ENERGAGE

T

echnology is influencing the culture of your workplace. The question is, will it create intended positive results or sidetrack the organization’s mission? Powerful tools are giving leaders deeper understanding of their organization’s culture and work dynamics. They also provide a way to get ahead of issues that could handicap success. We see this as an

emerging field of “culture technology,” a multidisciplinary, science-based approach to improve workplace culture. It seeks to help everyone — from senior leaders to rookie employees — collaborate to build an intentional and purposeful culture. We have seen Top Workplaces solicit feedback and drive meaningful dialogue with employees in a way that builds trust and makes employees feel heard. For example, companies are using short pulse questions in between annual surveys to track progress throughout the year. Others have set up anonymous channels where employees can provide feedback in a safe way. One medical records dig-

itization company used anonymous employee feedback to address barriers to growth. Over the last four years, it expanded from 400 to over 1000 employees without losing sight of its culture. Leaders of Top Workplaces know culture is the foundation of success, and they know how to use technology to create a better work environment. The challenge is looking past the obvious role of technology — efficiency and speed – and understanding how to engage the human spirit. The new confluence of disciplines has the potential to substantially improve the key relationships that make up our work experience, from a person’s relationship with

their work, their manager, colleagues — and the organization itself. This requires going beyond traditional internal communications efforts such as town halls, executive videocasts, or instant messaging group chats. Rather, it involves setting up communication channels employees can use to collaborate, build community, recognize one another, and provide candid feedback without fear of repercussion or exposure. In the big picture, we know technology is a huge point of discussion and debate, from privacy issues to security issues. Still, too many of us are slaves to our email and instant messaging channels. We're getting a higher

Special Awards These special award recipients were chosen based on standout scores for employee responses to specific survey statements. Leadership, Large company: Kevin Brungardt, RoundPoint Mortgage Servicing Corporation Leadership, Midsize company: Mark Boyce and Dan Horner, True Homes LLC

Leadership, Small company: Brandon Adcock, Adaptive Health Direction: Compass Group North America Managers: Synchrony New Ideas: Skookum Doers: Gateway Ambulatory Surgery Center Meaningfulness: Securly, Inc. Values: Hoopaugh Grading

Clued in Senior Management: Morris-Jenkins Heating, Air and Plumbing Communication: CR Manufacturing LLC Appreciation: Wharton-Smith, Inc. Work/Life Flexibility: CliftonLarsonAllen LLP Training: Atrium Health Benefits: Providence Day School Source: Energage

quality of life in the micro instant, but in the broader sense, it’s not clear what we’re getting accomplished, certainly in terms of work. The amount of time we spend communicating and the amount of time we spend working influences productivity, which is not demonstrably going up. Developing quality channels of communication in the workplace focuses on aligning and connecting. Culture technology can provide a level of insight into your culture and shape how to make it better. When done right, technology brings people together. And that’s important, because alignment is a key pillar for any highperforming organization. But when done wrong, technology polarizes people. So, how do you use technology for good in the workplace? Start with an

approach that celebrates the positive aspects of your culture, and build real connections based on trust and appreciation. Constructively channel negative emotions that inevitably arise, and educate senior leaders to accept and act on the feedback. If we are intentional about how technology impacts our culture, we can create more productive workplaces, truly aligned teams, stronger connections, a better coaching environment, better effectiveness. Think about how technology is going to impact your culture. Focus on a Top Workplace culture as an outcome. That’s the best use of technology, and it drives better business results. Doug Claffey is founder of Energage, a culture technology firm that specializes in employee engagement and workplace improvement research.


SUNDAY OCTOBER 20 2019

THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER .....................................................................

How the Top Workplaces are determined By BOB HELBIG ENERGAGE

H

ow does a company make the Top Workplaces list? By inspiring employees. “Top Workplaces put the employee at the center of things, and focus on creating the right environment to unleash potential and inspire performance,” said Doug Claffey, founder of Energage, The Observer’s research partner for Top Workplaces. This is the fifth year The

Observer has partnered with Philadelphia-based Energage to determine the Charlotte area’s Top Workplaces. The results are based solely on a scientific employee survey process. Starting in March, The Observer welcomed anyone to nominate companies as Top Workplaces. Energage also reached out to companies. In all, 1,029 employers in the Charlotte metro area were invited to take part in the process. Any employer was eligible, as long as it had at least 35

employees in the region. Employers could be public, private, nonprofit, or governmental. There is no cost to enter the Top Workplaces program. For this year, 90 employers agreed to take the survey. Combined, they employ 57,936 people in the region. Of those employees who received questionnaires, 11,454 responded, either on paper or online. For this year’s winners list, 60 employers earned recognition as Top Workplaces based on the employee

COME JOIN US!

Aldersgate Retirement Community

feedback. The employee engagement survey of 24 questions gathers responses regarding issues relating to workplace culture: A Alignment – where the company is headed, its values, cooperation A Connection – employees feel appreciated, their work is meaningful A Effectiveness – doing things efficiently and well, sharing different viewpoints, encouraging new ideas A My Manager – cares

about concerns, helps employees develop A Engagement – motivation, retention and recruiting A Leadership – confidence in company leaders A The Basics – pay, benefits, flexibility, training, expectations Employees consistently rate issues of “Connection” and “Alignment” most important to them, while statements related to pay and benefits rate less important. Employers are ranked among groups of similar size to most accurately compare results. Within those size groupings, companies are ranked, and those that score high enough are recognized as

19Q

Top Workplaces. Energage also determines special award winners based on standout scores on specific survey topics. If you wonder why a particular company is not on the list, it might be because it chose not to participate in the survey, or because it did not score well enough in the survey process. Sometimes, Energage disqualifies employers based on questionable results detected through statistical tests it runs to ensure organizations are accurately administering the survey. To participate in the 2020 program, just go to charlotteobserver.com/nominate.


2019

Having better health means you can live a better life. It’s what we all want for ourselves, our families and our community. At Atrium Health, that’s what drives us every day. We’re always pursuing a higher bar, a higher standard, to find better ways to care for you – so that we can all enjoy a better life.

Proud to be named one of The Charlotte Observer Top Work Places 2019

Profile for Special Sections

Top Workplaces 2019  

Where the Charlotte region loves to work

Top Workplaces 2019  

Where the Charlotte region loves to work

Advertisement