By: Scott Nishimura1
What’s it take to build a strong company culture and keep a grip on it during heady times? We interviewed the 25 CEOs or top local executives of the 2018 Best Companies to Work For in Fort Worth class about culture and what it takes to maintain it.
Not surprisingly, themes such as trust and empowerment, family, integrity, respect and fun came up over and over again in our interviews. Employers among our 25 Best put the interests of their employees first among stakeholders, believing a happy staff drives great service to customers. Our CEOs speak of looking for recruiting “51 percenters,” employees who have half emotional skills and half technical ones relevant to the job. Not that developing and maintaining a productive culture is easy.
At Satori Capital, a private equity firm and our small/medium company winner, founders Randy Eisenman and Sunny Vanderbeck started meeting four years before they launched the company to determine if their values aligned.
“We started really creating the foundation then,” Eisenman says. Eisenman and Vanderbeck sought to find a balance and ultimately founded the company on the principles of “Conscious Capitalism,” the belief that all stakeholders benefit when a company looks after everyone’s interests and seeks to imbue others including client companies in those values. “We believe there’s no tradeoff in being a great place to work and being a great business, and, in fact, there’s synergy between the two,” Eisenman says.
Satori, which won the small company category in our contest two years ago, has put numerous pieces into place over the years to support its employees, about 30 today. “The caliber of the person who works here is such that they can work anywhere,” Eisenman says. “We want to make them feel as special as they are.”
This year’s large company winner, Legacy Mutual, is on top of this ranking for the second year in a row. Legacy maintains a mix of family flexibility, teamwork and strong incentives to compete in the volatile home mortgage lending arena.
“This year, the industry as a whole has slowed down a little bit,” he said. “Within the last six to eight months, we’ve moved from a pretty hard seller’s market to more of a neutral or buyer’s market. We’ve gone from 45 days of inventory to almost four months of inventory.”
This is the third year of Fort Worth Inc.’s 25 Best Companies to Work For in Fort Worth issue. It’s independently judged by the Best Companies Group, which assesses applicants for the contest in two segments. The first is an examination of company practices in everything from benefits, to diversity in recruitment and hiring; employee reviews; training, education and career development; leadership development and succession planning; communication and encouragement of employee feedback; employee recognition; and family-friendliness and work-life balance. The second is the result of confidential surveys by the Best Companies Group of each applicant’s employees on their views.
Best Companies ranked the 25 finalists and declared winners in the small- and medium-sized employers category, ranked by 249 employees or fewer, and the large company category. The magazine unveiled the finalists and winners at a luncheon Nov. 15 at The 4 Eleven in Fort Worth, an event supported by Premier Sponsor Frank Kent Cadillac and Gold Sponsor Valliance Bank.
Several of the companies are making repeat appearances from the prior two years of our contest, a testament to the work they’re doing to maintain their cultures.
“You work very hard,” Randy Meinen, the CEO of Qualbe Marketing, a digital marketing agency based in Haltom City and a repeater among our 25 Best Companies, says. “You don’t want to add the burden of making the workplace not a fun environment.” Employers have to work hard to get the highest levels from employees, he says. “The part that’s beyond normal is always going to be voluntary. If you have trust in your organization, things go real fast. A lot of companies leave a trail of bodies behind.”
By: Scott Nishimura1
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