Top-notch companies share messages reflecting what they expect and then reward generously.
Employees of Keller Williams Realty and Columbus Radio Group happily march to the beat of their respective company's drum, or in Columbus Radio Group's case, cadence.
“We do this positive incantation,” says President and GM of Columbus Radio Group Chris Forgy. “Some people think this is really goofy but it is a way—subliminally—to get people to believe what it is you want them to believe about themselves and about the organization.”
And it isn't actually hard to get behind a company that offers a day off every month a revenue budget is reached, days off dubbed affectionately ‘Forgy Days' by Sunny 95 radio personality Dino Tripodis.
“For the first several years after we started (Forgy Days), everybody on the staff got 12 free days of vacation,” Forgy says. “Prior to that, the station wasn't hitting budgets ... the people weren't happy. They really had no north compass at all, so it was my job when I came in to first create a vision of galvanization and working together, and then having a tactical plan to implement.” In addition to the sought-after Forgy Day, the company offers a variety of other incentives for employees, including a monthly award for individual performance, something Forgy considers of core importance.
“There are some people who are like, ‘Everything has to be equal.' No, it doesn't have to be equal, it just has to be fair. In our organization, performance is the key,” Forgy says.
“I believe people want to know where they stand at all times. They may not like what you say, but they certainly appreciate your honesty ... If you don't have clear expectations, you cannot accomplish the goal you want to accomplish,” he says.
At Keller Williams Greater Columbus Realty, performance rewards also play a big role in keeping employees in line with company goals, which they seem happy to adhere to and spread.
“We do (our awards ceremony) in the spring every year,” says Dala Bishop, team leader of Keller Williams Greater Columbus Realty and president of its city-wide Associate Leadership Council. “We award our agents based on their performance, production … But we also look at culture. We awarded a Cultural Icon ... for people who go above and beyond to spread the culture,” she adds.
Much like Columbus Radio Group, Keller Williams also has a monthly incentive in place to encourage hard work—also a generous one. “At the end of every month, after we pay all of our bills—the money that's left over as profit—instead of that just going to our owners, our owners share almost 50 percent of that back with our agents who helped the company grow. Not only does that benefit them monetarily, but that helps your culture, too.” And both companies' expectations on quality employee performance seem to resonate with employees.
“Those who don't perform don't tend to last all that long. People come into our building and say, ‘I can feel the energy when I walk in here,' because everyone is glad to be here and came here with a goal in mind,” says Forgy.
Chloe Teasley is the editorial assistant.