How Local Companies Are Showing Employees They Care



Value and Validation

Behind every successful company is a suite of dedicated and talented employees. To inspire team members to perform at a high level, companies first and foremost need to respect their employees and show them that they recognize their hard work. In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, employees who feel their superiors treat them with respect are 63% more satisfied with their jobs, and e-commerce company Zoro reports that 72% of professionals say that having more work benefits would increase their job satisfaction. Even if you understand the importance of showing your employees they’re valued, that doesn’t mean executing that is a walk in the park. Read on for what some local companies are doing to motivate – and ultimately retain –  their workforce.

Sue Collins (Above)

Executive Vice President/Chief People & Communications Officer, Tennessee Valley Authority 

We know that when our employees feel appreciated, they are significantly more likely to be motivated to do their very best, and when we create an environment where employees feel valued, we see improved productivity, more innovation, and higher levels of engagement. Feeling valued starts with being included, and we emphasize inclusion by welcoming each person’s individuality. We also care about every other aspect of an employee’s experience – from recruitment, onboarding, and personal growth to development and retirement. By creating an extraordinary employee experience and supporting the holistic well-being of our employees in both their professional careers and personal lives, we are empowering our employees to succeed each day.



T. W. Francescon at Southern Champion TrayT. W. Francescon Jr.

Corporate Director of HR, Southern Champion Tray (SCT)

We strive to foster a workplace where each of our 800 team members can grow, develop, and be fulfilled professionally and personally. At SCT, promotions are earned based on job performance and how well individuals live out our culture, demonstrated by SCT’s values (trustworthy, servant-hearted, relational, and resourceful). In addition, we offer Dave Ramsey’s SmartDollar financial program, FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember marriage conferences, confidential counseling through Shepherd’s Care, and mentoring and leadership programs. We are humbled when our co-workers say we care about them and their families as people and not just a number on paper. From a business standpoint, valuing our co-workers is good business, but more importantly, it’s the right thing to do and part of our mission to serve customers, value people, and glorify God.

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Jody Nix at Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation

Jody Nix

Administrative Director & Chief HR Officer, Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation

Strong compensation and benefits programs are the foundation of caring for our associates. At Siskin Hospital, we offer a share plan that provides a cash payment around Thanksgiving if the company meets certain financial metrics, and we also offer family meals that can be purchased weekly to assist with work-life balance. We provide an assortment of voluntary benefit programs, such as pet insurance, and most recently, we developed the CEO Values Award, which is a $1,000 cash award and trophy provided to an associate on a quarterly basis. This has set a tone within our organization that we recognize associates who bring value each and every day and make this hospital the best that it can be. If we don’t show them value, then someone else will. 



Sarah Stokes at 3H group

Sarah Stokes

Director of HR & Training, 3H Group, Inc.

It is pivotal to the success of a company to celebrate your employees. Meaningful acts, no matter small or large, can deeply resonate with your staff. At 3H Group, each employee receives both a birthday and workplace anniversary card signed by the corporate staff each year, and both hotel and corporate staff gather monthly for lunch or breakfast paid for by the company. Corporate staff gathers outside of the office once a quarter for team-building outings such as dinner, ball games, and even axe throwing. We also believe that cross-training our associates is one of the best ways we can add value to their professional growth. We try to promote from within for our leadership and management positions, and managers will work with employees through coaching and counseling so that when the next position is open, they will be ready to apply and succeed.  

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Sheryl Jenkins at EPB

Sheryl Jenkins

HR Department’s Director of Employee Services, EPB

Now more than ever, it’s essential for employers to offer comprehensive benefits and competitive compensation. At EPB, we are committed to offering that, and we strive to foster inclusion by providing opportunities for employees to come together. We offer events that allow employees to bring their families, and lunch-and-learns and wellness initiatives provide both personal and professional enrichment opportunities. Our employees care about growth and development, and in addition to more traditional offerings, we provide employees with opportunities to grow and learn in their position or one to which they aspire. Courses like Dale Carnegie offer the chance for employees to gain confidence and build relationships and is just one example of available offerings. Learning is an essential part of our culture, and seeing employees realize the achievement of their goals is inspiring.  



Janelle O'Neil at Skuid

Janelle O’Neil 

VP of People & Culture, Skuid

Employees are your differentiator, your lifeblood, the most important piece of your company. By valuing them, you are valuing your product and your customers. At Skuid, we have really been prioritizing mental and physical health over the last year. We did this by adding extra holidays – making sure we had plenty of three-day weekends when employees could disconnect. We do have unlimited PTO but noticed people weren’t taking as much time off, so the extra holidays help make sure people get the rest they need. We’ve also been sending monthly packages to employees to let them know we appreciate them, and we host events such as weekly fitness and yoga classes and virtual Thirsty Thursdays. We are focusing on creating policies and processes that set us up for scale while still remaining agile and a place where employees can feel that they can affect change.



Lori Fulmer at Covenant Logistics

Lori Fulmer

Corporate VP of HR, Covenant Logistics

As a leader, one of our most important jobs is to identify the next generation of leadership at our organization and reward them. We have several attributes that we look for in employees to determine the right time for promotion. Aside from that, we conduct semi-annual team member satisfaction surveys and give employees paid volunteer time off. We also host an annual driver appreciation week with special prizes and awards and have several flexible work options that allow team members to have more work-life balance. We recognize team members who go the extra mile with our Extra Mile Spotlight, which is circulated on TVs throughout the office and our intranet site. We always aim to provide a casual and welcoming work environment, and we operate under our core value, which are empathy, servanthood, and virtue.

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Ben Staples at Kenco

Ben Staples

Director of HR, Kenco

In today’s world, solid compensation and benefits have become table stakes. They can help in attracting talent but generally will not be the best way to retain it. At Kenco, we feel that the biggest differentiator we have is our culture of inclusivity. We recently launched three Employee Resource Groups (Multicultural, Women’s, and Military Veterans’) focusing on fostering a positive and diverse workforce. Another one of our areas of focus is learning and development. We utilize web-based training, succession planning, and leadership training, including a four-week Leadership Development Program for our high-potential employees. We also require many of our associates to create an Individual Development Plan (IDP) to help provide a well-thought-out plan for professional development. Company events and incentives are also used to encourage, care for, and engage our associates. Besides just being the right thing to do, showing employees that you value them can improve engagement, productivity, morale, and overall retention.



Joanie Love at Bellhops

Joanie Love

Director of People, Bellhop

At Bellhop, our philosophy is, “We got you.” We have strong links between pay and performance because we believe people should be paid fairly for what they bring to the company, and we also want our team members to feel supported when life happens. For that, we offer paid parental and medical leaves, and we focus on morale with things such as paintball, cookouts, field days at Miller Park, and corn hole tournaments. The structure of Bellhop also allows our team members to grow their careers quickly. People can move between departments and roles and gain skills much more quickly than they might in another setting. We’ve created a Slack channel for shoutouts where team members can recognize one another, and our leadership team has a really great open-door policy. We also save space in every All Hands meeting to answer questions that people can submit anonymously. We frequently find that people who feel appreciated and valued have more to give to others, especially their co-workers and customers.

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