Thursday, February 23, 2006

Reasons Why

The trip to Memphis had an unexpected up side, namely, reminding me why I enjoy working for a small, closely-held company.

The trip was an executive branch visit, I had just hopped on because I.T. had something it needed to take care of at the branch. The purpose of the visits, for the executives, is twofold. First, it allows them to talk to all of the managers and get a sense of how things are going at the branch. Second, it gives them a chance to talk to all of the employees and keep them apprised of the situation.

This second goal is achieved by a presentation held during a catered lunch (usually BBQ, we're in the south here). The mental image of the Chairman of the Board and the CEO giving a PowerPoint presentation to 30 mechanics and parts guys while they munch on ribs is kind of funny to me, sometimes. The presentation discusses how the company is doing financially, what the forecasters are predicting for the next year, and how the company is doing on the strategic plan.

Having seen this presentation each month for the last 10 months (I tag along on a lot of these visits, it beats driving to the branches), I was expecting to be bored by it. However, many changes have been made which I found interesting.

First, the presentation has grown even more specific in terms of strategic planning and forecasting. They make sure that everyone at least has an idea of what the company is trying to accomplish, and how they're going to do it. This is nice, especially after reading articles about companies who keep their plans secret, even from their employees.

Second, there was an expanded segment on health care, retirement planning, and career extension. It really made me feel good about my employer, listening to the CEO talk to a bunch of mechanics about the company's 401(k) match, which is an even match of all contributions of up to 5% of an employee's wage. (Comparatively, the average for Fortune 500 companies is half of contribution up to 6%, or up to 3% on the part of the employer) Our CEO stood there and almost begged the people who aren't participating (roughly 70% of our employees participate) to join up and start planning for retirement. I really feel good about working for people who genuinely care for their employees as much as they care for the business.

My part of the trip was semi-succesfull. I took care of what I had originally planned to do, but we were supposed to do a network upgrade that QWest hadn't been ready for the night before, but they still weren't ready. C'est la vie.
posted by S.C. @ 8:43 AM |

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