From mentoring programs and meditation rooms to condensed work weeks and leadership training, top companies in Flint & Genesee are prioritizing the employee experience in 2023. And — for 10 of these employers — it’s earned them a spot in a new recognition program from the Flint & Genesee Group.
“The goal of the Top 10 Employers program is to shine a spotlight on employers leading the way in workplace culture, to explore what it means to be a top employer in 2023, and, most importantly, to boost the perception of Flint & Genesee as a great place to work,” said Tim Herman, CEO of the Flint & Genesee Group.
This spring, just over 40 businesses submitted applications that were reviewed and scored by an external committee comprised of human resources and leadership consultants. The selected honorees, in alphabetical order, are:
Recognizing top employers and their successful practices helps economic developers and recruiters make the case for why Genesee County is a great place for people to build their careers.
“Creating engaging workplaces that attract and retain top talent in Genesee County is not only good for our individual organizations, it’s also the right thing to do for our employees and the community at large,” said Todd Wisely, Mott Children’s Health Center president and CEO.
Crystal Black, owner of Customer Service Clinic in Flint participated in the Top 10 Employers’ review committee and was pleased to see companies share their innovative workplace initiatives for employees.
“I’m excited any time we’re talking about who I consider the No. 1 customer in any industry, and that is the employee,” Black said.
Jim Murdock of Murdock Leadership Development also volunteered for the review committee and said he was impressed by the range of applicants and their commitment to professional development; diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives; and engagement.
“These companies are not only talking about these things, they’re actually practicing what they preach,” Murdock said. “It’s obvious to me that there are lots of people doing lots of good things in this town.”
In the case of Flint & Genesee’s Top 10 Employers, these local businesses and organizations leverage a variety of creative and unique tactics to create a positive workplace culture; foster employee engagement; and offer growth opportunities, flexibility, and work-life balance for their employees. In doing so, they serve as a guide for others looking to create a positive employee experience.
Companies that prioritize employee engagement are more likely to have better retention rates, increased productivity, and long-term success, according to human resource experts.
One of the best ways to engage employees is by listening, according to several Top 10 Employers. Offering employees the opportunity to communicate how they feel about their workplace fosters a collaborative environment that can boost productivity.
In 2019, Financial Plus Credit Union (FPCU) participated in a survey designed to find the best credit union to work for. While the longtime Flint credit union didn’t make the list, the survey helped them glean useful employee feedback on improving communication and allowing all voices to be heard.
Since then, FPCU opted to implement a range of solutions including monthly one-on-one meetings for employees and managers, an internal employee survey to rate departments, 360-degree performance reviews, and an internal podcast that communicates new roles, job openings, new initiatives, and employee spotlights.
In 2021, FPCU earned a spot on the nationwide list of Best Credit Unions to Work For.
When it comes to recognition and rewards, Hurley Medical Center and Hurley Children’s Hospital for years have shown how much they value their staff with awards, gifts, and recognition for their Employee of the Month. Nearly every time, the Employee of the Month would credit their success to the team they worked with every day.
So, instead of honoring one person a month, Hurley now celebrates entire teams each quarter with its new Team of the Season program, complete with photo shoots, interviews, and plenty of recognition.
Likewise, General Motors Flint Assembly has been building a culture of recognition for both salaried and hourly employees. An internal team, for instance, recently launched a “thank you” card initiative in the plant, as well as a program to send formal recognition letters home to employees when exceptional acts occur.
INCLUSIVE & SUPPORTIVE WORKPLACES
Each of Flint & Genesee’s Top 10 Employers is making strides to build a supportive workplace in its own way. Several employers are prioritizing DEI efforts through employee resource groups, also known as ERGs; intentional hiring efforts; and DEI-focused committees, trainings, and listening sessions.
At McLaren Flint, for example, a physician who is passionate about addressing social determinants of health and improving health disparities among patient populations formed a DEI committee in 2019. To educate and increase awareness of various cultural observances and health disparities among employees, articles in McLaren Flint’s weekly employee newsletter and monthly flyers are also featured and displayed in hallways along employee entrances.
Many leading local companies are also embracing flexible solutions and schedules.
Along with a 35-hour work week, the Crim Fitness Foundation offers a flexible telecommuting policy allowing employees to arrange with their supervisors to work remotely on an as-needed or recurring basis.
At Mott Children’s Health Center, their entire team opted years ago to shorten lunch hours so they could enjoy a compressed work week with a 1:30 p.m. close every Friday. Other amenities include weekly yoga classes, monthly chair massages, and meditation and workout rooms.
“As a healthcare organization, our business is taking care of people,” Wisely said. “Our focus on culture, perks, and programs creates a fun, engaging workplace for us all, which in turn creates an environment where our employees can focus on providing excellent care to our patients and their families.”
It is these kinds of offerings that can differentiate one employer from the next, especially among today’s workforce. In fact, a 2022 Gallup poll showed younger employees have different workplace expectations than their more senior coworkers. Younger workers’ desire for work-life balance and personal well-being is almost as strong as their desire for an increase in pay or benefits, according to the poll.
ADVANCEMENT & CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
The opportunity for advancement is also an important factor in creating an engaging workplace, according to experts.
Mott Community College (MCC) is committed to maximizing employee performance, offering a menu of advancement opportunities to faculty, staff, and administrators across the institution.
“We want our employees — every single one of them — to be equipped with the professional development, the training, and the support they need to grow and succeed,” said Dale Weighill, MCC associate vice president for institutional advancement.
The college offers several initiatives supporting employee growth and leadership. Among them is the Together We Lead @ MCC program, hosted by President Dr. Beverly Walker-Griffea, which helps participants identify their leadership identity, understand what it means to be a leader, and engage in critical leadership thinking. The college also offers Leadership Effectiveness Coaching, retreats, and online training for its employees, supervisors, and managers.
At ROWE, they focus on tailoring professional development opportunities to the individual needs and desires of their employees. For some, that may be pursuing other internal opportunities within the firm. For others, it might be looking at leadership opportunities.
Promoting from within has been critical to the firm’s success, they say.
Employee growth is also an important component of a positive workplace culture at Insight Health Group. There, company leaders have implemented several initiatives and programs to support employees’ growth and help them reach their full potential.
The health group also encourages a mentorship-style relationship between employees and leadership. Employees aspiring to enhance their leadership skills are connected with experienced leaders within the organization to gain guidance, insights, and support to navigate their career paths.
Lewis & Knopf also strives to cultivate its team. Team members have the chance to work with a range of clients in a variety of industries and learn about all elements of accounting, tax, audit, and business consulting services as they work on client engagements from beginning to end.
Their mentoring program provides support for everyday life at an accounting firm, as well as continuous professional development meetings with assigned partners and managers.
“Lewis & Knopf offers room for growth, they set realistic and consistent work expectations, and once you’re ready, there is always something more challenging to take on,” said Brittan Sepanak, manager.
Further details about each Top 10 Employer can be found on the following pages, which provide a quick overview of who they are and what makes them a great place to work.
According to Herman, while the honorees vary in size and scope, they have one thing in common: They all play an important role in making the region a great place to live
“This really shows that organizations of all kinds have the power to create a positive workplace culture and an outstanding community,” Herman said.