The great resignation, the big quit, and – my new favorite – quitagion. These newly created buzzwords all describe the mass exodus of workers in 2021, totaling more than 47 million Americans who voluntarily left their jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. COVID-19 has forever changed the workforce, and companies need to evolve to be successful in what is now an employee’s market. Some of the reasons people quit include compensation, feeling unvalued, and flexibility/work-life balance. How is PK Electrical, Inc., addressing these areas to attract and retain employees?
PK Electrical's leadership recognizes the importance of a small firm culture and a strong, united team. Every year we have a company retreat to work on team building and engagement. It is important to the firm leadership to bring together our Reno, Nevada, and Denver, Colorado offices. In February of 2022, we teamed with Zweig Group to strategically plan our next five years. This year was different than past years as it was more serious. We weren’t passing coworkers through a hoop without touching the sides, no singing kumbaya (just kidding, we never did that), or sailing the Caribbean. Instead, we focused on areas of strategic improvement and development while still having fun. We created detailed action plans that included growth, people, clients, and operations. Some of the takeaways included:
Compensation package. As part of the employee survey, we were asked what was most important to us and what we wanted – and then they gave it to us! Who does that? If you ask 35 employees what they want, you’re going to get 35 different answers. Management incorporated our responses by developing a total benefits package based on longevity with the company. Some of the awesome but not unheard-of new benefits include a 401(K) employer match up to 6 percent, increased profit sharing based on years of employment, and gym memberships. You know some of those crazy benefits that some well-known tech giants have? We have those now too! Personal trip allowances, pet insurance, childcare reimbursement, spa treatments, charitable contributions to a charity of your choice, college savings contributions for your kids.
As a small company, PK Electrical is competing on the same level as some of the largest and most sought-after employers. The greatest differentiating advantage for working for a small firm is that you truly feel heard and valued.
Valuing employees. PK Electrical was recognized again in 2023 as one of the top 10 small (10 to 49 employees) firms to work for that is based on voluntary and anonymous employee input. This indicates that the employees think this is the best place to work! Together we are creating a strategic plan and rewriting our company mission, vision, and values. It’s not just the firm owners or upper management; we’re all shaping the future of PK Electrical. If that doesn’t say that the leadership values employee input, then I don’t know what does.
Leadership is doing a lot to be competitive and to create an environment where people truly enjoy coming to work. This includes salary adjustments based on current market analysis and expanded holiday pay as well as little things, like new office furniture. For example, the Herman Miller Aeron Chair, which is a pioneer of office chairs due to its innovation and comfort, is on permanent display in the Museum of Modern Art – and in the offices at PK Electrical. Back in 2020 when COVID came knocking and we shut our doors, I took that chair with me while I worked from home. PK also offers sit-to-stand desks because sitting is the new smoking! Providing the opportunity to decrease time sitting is a small change that can have huge benefits on the physical and mental well-being of employees in the long run.
- Flexibility and work-life balance. The pandemic forced us to work from home and changed how we work. I remember the beginning of quarantine, when I had to FaceTime a coworker’s wife because he wasn’t on social media, and I needed to see his screen to troubleshoot software issues created from setting up remote access. We quickly adopted new technology and remote conferencing capabilities, which means today we can be more flexible. It is acknowledged throughout our culture that everyone has a set of commitments, families, friends, and hobbies outside of the workplace. Staff can set their schedule to complement their lives outside of the office.
While we witnessed both workplace and employee expectations change because of the pandemic, PK Electrical has made every effort to keep up with market demand while maintaining the culture we have worked 27 years to
Savina Gonzalez is a production manager at PK Electrical. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
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