Business longevity is something not often talked about anymore in corporate circles because it seems like every second start-up is gone within a couple of years. So how do businesses like Behrends Group end up sticking around for so long? How do we achieve business longevity?
INVEST IN EMPLOYEES AND PUT THEM FIRST
The answer is simple and it’s longevity of a different kind. At Behrends Group, we have some of the longest standing employees in the industry. Their commitment, loyalty and expertise are what have made us a successful business and will carry us into the future no matter how the markets look. Way too much emphasis is placed on profit margins and growth these days and the “people factor” is left to fall by the wayside. As team members become as disposable as our pre-packaged, convenient world, something very valuable and important is lost in the mix: the people!
According to the oldest company in the world – Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan of Japan – the secret to business success and community growth is investing in people. They are a hot spring hotel and they have been in continuous business since 705 A.D. – an incredible 1300 years! To this day, the hotel has been run by 52 successive familial generations and has been staffed by generational families holding the same posts for almost as long! Their secret, which they will gladly reveal, is running the business in the spirit of service (not profit!), and as a way for workers to earn wages by which to live.
Putting people first is at the heart of what we do at Behrends Group. It is how the business has always been run and always will be run. Integrity of a company means how well the people who work there are treated. Understanding the integrity of a company is evident in its longest-standing employees, and those who are on their way to that title! The numbers at Behrends Group speak for themselves: Among the approximately 25 employees that make up our manufacturing team at any one time, Behrends employs 6 foundry employees with a combined experience totaling approximately 175 years. The finishing department includes 12 employees with a combined total of 90 years of experience. We also keep a team of 5 full-time designers with over 30 years of combined design experience. The expertise of these loyal, long-standing employees, alongside our dedication to keeping abreast of industry-relevant technological advances, are the reasons we can take on complicated and demanding projects confidently, and turn out consistently great results.
What are some of the reasons behind such an incredible display of loyalty to Behrends Group? The same leadership tenets used by business giants like Wells Fargo can be found put to use by medium-sized businesses like Behrends, and they include:
Valuing the contributions of your team members towards the success of the company. Every single long-standing employee at Behrends is an expert in their field. Singlehandedly, their contributions on a daily basis are the reason we can continue to grow and succeed at what we do.
Active listening to team member ideas and action taken to help improve and streamline activities based on their recommendations. They are the front line in production, sales and design! They know best!
Asking employees for help and advice whenever it is needed. Excessive pride has no place in real leadership positions. A willingness to learn from the people around you goes a very long way.
Celebrating success openly and loudly. At Behrends Group, we try our best to shamelessly celebrate our successes with our loyal team. As you will see from our list of incentives below, we seek to recognize hard work wherever and whenever it occurs.
Increase employee loyalty & Improve your work relationship by:
- Regular performance reviews that are reciprocal. We encourage team members to contribute ideas to make their position better and more effective for the whole Behrends system.
- We recognize length of service every five years! These awards are presented at our annual company picnic in the summer. With so many long-term staff, you can imagine how often we get to do these!
- We reward our staff with a holiday celebration every winter, as well as smaller celebrations for employee birthdays, employee appreciation days and whatever else we can enjoy as a team.
- We invest in our team members. If an employee can present why additional forms of learning will benefit their responsibilities at Behrends, we are happy to invest in educational courses and training for them.
- Client satisfaction comments are celebrated internally in the company every time they are received via email, social media or other means.
- Our life-work balance is very healthy with multiple potluck staff gathering throughout the year and random barbeques whenever we feel like getting together! Everyone loves food!
- An employee lunchroom display is on-hand to highlight the work of individual employees, noting their length of employment, responsibilities and achievements for everyone to celebrate.
- The health and safety of our employees is our priority and Behrends has a robust program for it that we invest in annually. We have even received a certification of safety recognition as one of the few signage companies to invest in both our employees’ safety at work and on the project jobsite.
- The health plan does not stop at work though. Behrends offers a thorough and generous health benefit plan to our employees that rivals those of much larger corporations.
- Behrends also has a savings program in the form of RRSPs that enable us to invest in our employees’ retirement future.
- Our investment in the most cutting edge technology and program systems is done with the intention of making our employees’ work easier and more efficient and making our final products the best they can be.