Last Monday, we announced the winners in our 9th annual Best Places to Work in Collections program. After a rigorous evaluation process managed by the independent firm Best Companies Group, 36 companies met the threshold to be named a “Best Place to Work in Collections” in 2016. Best Companies Group manages Best Places to Work programs in 24 states, 9 regions, and 14 industries, as well as 12 programs across Africa, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
The first-place winners are Williams & Fudge, Inc. from Rock Hill, SC, InvestiNet, LLC from Greenville, SC, and The Law Offices of Mitchell D. Bluhm & Associates from Milton, GA.
As part of their analysis, the Best Companies Group uses a stepwise linear regression to produce a list of Key Drivers using employee engagement as the dependent variable. The regression compares these workplace attributes to all questions asked in the Employee Engagement & Satisfaction Survey and communicates, on average which attributes have the greatest impact on overall engagement within the organizations named to the "Best Places to Work in Collections" 2016 list.
The analysis produced these Key Drivers, in order of importance:
- Feeling valued
- Having the confidence of leadership
- Enjoying one’s work
- Feeling like one has made progress each day
- Trusting that good work will lead to consideration for a promotion
- Feeling as though one is treated “like a person, not a number”
- Satisfaction with an organization’s benefits package
- Having fun at work
- Having trust in one’s supervisor
- Feeling like the job uses one's skills and abilities well
From a more anectodal perspective, all three of our first place winners (and many on the winners list in general) have several specific things in common. For instance:
- Approach to compensation: All three companies offer their employees generous compensation packages, though they have different ways of going about it. They all offer an average exempt salary between $68,000 and $88,000 and have various programs for earning bonuses, profit sharing, office giveaways or contests, and generally offering employees extra rewards for good performance when warranted. For instance, InvestiNet offers varying levels of profit sharing based on an individual’s level within the company, the Law Offices of Mitchell D. Bluhm & Associates offers 10% “complaintless” bonuses for collectors and an annual $10,000 giveaway, and Williams & Fudge offers a tiered pay structure that allows employees to earn commission from the total fees collected and potentially earn more than $100,000 annually. All three companies offer bonuses for referring new employees and match employee contributions to their retirement savings programs.
- Diversity: All three companies demonstrate a commitment to having a diverse workforce. All three companies employ more women than men, and several are striving towards equality in the makeup of their executive teams. Additionally, the companies are attempting to reach out into the communities where they’re located to further diversify their workforce, with representatives from Williams & Fudge commenting that such efforts are “key to the day-to-day operations and success of our organization.”
- Giving back: Besides reaching out into their communities to find great employees, these companies make sure to give back to their communities. All encourage charitable giving, but some go further than others. For instance, InvestiNet matches “all employee donations” to “all local and national charities.”
- Care for employees: The winners all invest in the health of their employees in interesting ways, in addition to providing more traditional healthcare plans. Several of the firms offer discounted gym memberships for all employees. The Law Offices of Mitchell D. Bluhm & Associates offers company-sponsored participation in the Tough Mudder series of obstacle races. At Williams & Fudge, you’ll find employees using treadmill workstations, standing workstations, sitting on exercise balls at their desks, or receiving a delivery of fruit to their desk on “Fresh Fruit Friday.”
- Commitment to fun: Additionally, all three winning companies like to take time to have fun. Several of the offices offer recreational activities around the office – some of the ways our winners do this is through keeping tables for games like pool and shuffleboard available, having TVs available to watch during lunch or a break, and by throwing office-wide parties throughout the year. In general, all of the winners seem to prioritize a good work-life balance for their employees.
For 2017, the Best Places to Work in Collections program will become Best Call Centers to Work for
The program will celebrate excellence among call center work environments in care, collections, and outsourcing. In addition to collection firms, creditor and business process outsourcing (BPO) companies will be eligible to participate.
Best Places to Work winners use their award as an important recruiting tool. Plus, winning sends a great message to clients and potential clients about the strength of your operations. Even those who don't come out on top have can receive extremely valuable information -- candid feedback from employees, and a road map for improvement.
Winners in the 2017 program will be recognized during an awards dinner at the next insideARM First Party Summit, in May 2017.
Click here to let us know you are interested in participating. We will make sure you are aware when registration opens (about a month from now).