By: Stephanie Berkowitz, President & CEO at Northern Virginia Family Service
What does it take to rank among the best companies to work for in the area? Over the years, we’ve seen the implementation of thoughtful policies regarding work-life balance, thriving cultures with robust talent pipelines, and communities where giving back is a priority. We asked Rich Cable of Knight Point Systems (KPS) — a CARE Award winner that has also been recognized by the Washington Business Journal, Washingtonianmagazine and The Washington Post as a top workplace — to elaborate on some of KPS’ key features as a best place to work.
How did the founders of KPS develop/identify KPS’ value system?
When Bob [Eisiminger] and the other founders of KPS decided to take on the risk and challenge of starting a business, they knew they needed to establish some core values that would essentially be the foundation on which KPS would be built.
Excellent communication, knowledgeable, self-managed and having faith in themselves were all traits the founders shared. These traits, along with Bob Eisiminger’s military experience, led to the development of KPS’ core values, the 4Cs:
Candor – Open communication in an open and honest environment
Competence – Highly trained employees looking to build personal and professional growth
Commitment – To employees and customers. To excellence in everything we do
Confidence – Ability to complete the mission
What positive results have you seen from creating a company culture that places families first?
One of the primary reasons KPS was started was to ensure families come first. When the founders decided to take the leap and become business owners, many of them were in the early stages of starting their own families. They wanted to ensure they controlled their flexibility so that they were always around to provide family support and experience all the joys of parenthood. We believe that if we take care of our employees and customers, the bottom line will take care of itself.
We believe that if we take care of our employees and customers, the bottom line will take care of itself.
Describe the impact of integrating employees’ work and life on talent attraction and retention.
In today’s workplace, especially with growing technology, keeping one’s career separate from [his or her] personal life would be virtually impossible. If someone’s career and personal life are going to become intertwined, there needs to be a harmony and balance between the two.
At KPS, we give our employees significant flexibility so they can manage both their professional and personal obligations. Some of the options available are telework, flexible schedules and condensed work weeks. When employees know they have some autonomy and are trusted to get the job done, they become more satisfied with their employment. This leads to increased production, loyalty and a positive attitude.
Describe your education programs and how they are used to support your work-life philosophy and healthy organization objectives.
In the IT industry, if you are not on the forefront of new technology, you will get passed by.
Employees have access to a training budget that has no cap! An individual training plan is maintained for each employee, and employees are encouraged to learn a new skill or obtain a new certification every year. It is very rare for a training request to be denied.
In addition to the training program, KPS employees have access to an improved tuition reimbursement benefit. KPS reimburses employees 50 cents on the dollar up to $5,250 per year for tuition and other qualified expenses. Over 40 percent of our workforce takes advantage of these wonderful benefits.
Philanthropy provides resources to people and organizations that need it, it’s great for our brand, and it builds a spirit of comradery and pride amongst employees.
What positive results have you seen from creating a culture of generosity (i.e., a culture that gives back and supports the community)?
Helping others and supporting the community is good for everyone. Philanthropy provides resources to people and organizations that need it, it’s great for our brand, and it builds a spirit of comradery and pride amongst employees. Plus, it just makes you feel good!
Although there is no one way to replicate a great company, we’ve noticed a discernible trend among great places to work.
- Employers embed company values into the culture and mission.
- Employers acknowledge that work and life are intrinsically blended, but strive to keep a healthy balance between the two.
- Employers invest in professional and personal growth.
Employers believe in giving back to build a better community. According to Gallup’s 2016 Q12® Meta-Analysis, companies scoring in the top half on employee engagement nearly double their odds of success and those in the 99th percentile have four times the success rate of those at the first percentile. The difference between top-quartile and bottom-quartile companies was 21 percent in profitability and 59 percent in turnover (low-turnover).One looking to make a case for change at their company need look no further than the data presented. There is a clear connection between these attributes, deepening employee engagement and improving profitability. Figuring out how that will look and work for your company will be as unique as what you develop.