Did you know there’s a way to increase employee effectiveness and client satisfaction at the same time? The answer is waiting for you inside this inspiring, true story.
The story begins with Brad Eisenmann, President of Aspen Group, an integrated design, build, and furnish firm exclusively for churches, based in Frankfort, Illinois. Aspen has an extensive portfolio of design, build, and furnish projects for churches across the Midwest and in the Southeast.
“For a long time, we had a lot of camaraderie and cohesion in our culture but never knew why. The BCWI Employee Engagement Survey revealed where we were strong: inspirational leadership, strategy, and outstanding talent,” says Brad. “But we also had work to do around employee benefits and communication.”
What did Aspen Group do to advance their culture from Critical Moment to within arm’s reach of Flourishing?
I want you to view your company through the lens of Aspen Group’s four essentials:
1. Know your PURPOSE
“Determining and maximizing our client’s potential ministry impact is what drives our company. To achieve this, we employ a highly collaborative, cross-functional approach that integrates, from the start, every phase of every project—from determining the client’s needs, envisioning the new space, to fleshing out and building the dream.”
2. Honor your PRIORITIES
“We measure our company’s overall success in this order: employees, clients, financial results. We keep rigorous scorecards for each:
- The Employee Engagement Survey for employee satisfaction and engagement
- Client interview satisfaction for churches we serve
- P&L statements and other financials for stewarding our resources
“Our people are the bedrock of our company. Our future depends upon our committed, talented, and inspired teammates, and that’s why we make serving our staff our first priority. This ‘employee first’ mindset drives us to pursue the very best people in the industry so that we can serve your church with the highest degree of professionalism and excellence.”
3. Follow your values PATH
“Our five core values arise out of who we are and want to be as a company—and a culture:”
Love one another
Treat employees, partners, and clients, as we like to be treated.
Find the Win-Win
Develop shared goals, tirelessly seek the win for all involved.
Do what’s right
Honor every commitment; live biblical values.
Seek innovative solutions, learn all we can, grow from our mistakes.
Demonstrate a spirit of mercy, grace, and generosity in every relationship.
Feedback is a gift. Without it, you’re flying blind.”
4. Work your PROCESS
Aspen Group continues to sharpen the effective, innovative tools it’s using to improve its extremely healthy culture. Approaches and strategies like:
- Internal communications have improved through regular one-on-ones between staff and supervisor, quarterly development discussions (a new upgrade of the old annual performance review).
- Inviting and capturing more immediate, real-time feedback throughout projects is fostering greater employee engagement and client satisfaction at the same time. As Brad says, “Feedback is a gift. Without it, you’re flying blind.”
- “Skip Level” meetings, in which the supervisor is taken out of the equation, allow employees to speak candidly and know their opinions and perspectives matter. This kind of ongoing transparency has deepened trust throughout Aspen’s culture.
- Hiring a human resource director for the first time echoes the fact that Aspen Group is really a people business. Says Brad “We’re making our company the best place to work by recruiting, attracting and retaining outstanding talent and by clearly defining role clarity and accountability; You can’t have accountability without role clarity.”
For Aspen Group, every day is checkered flag and a pit stop–the chance to celebrate and the need to update, communicate and improve. Brad Eisenmann captures this continuous commitment in these honest, authentic lines:
Commit to building a great culture.
Seek feedback regularly.
Work on the issues.
Repeat as often as necessary.
“Culture is like rocket fuel that helps you set out to do the things you want to achieve. It’s really all about how you treat your employees, partners and clients. When you focus on your employees first, the desired business results will follow.”
It’s Your Turn!
Where, in Aspen Group’s story, did you find yourself saying:
- “Yes, I resonate . . .”
- “Oh, how I wish . . .”
- “Keep going, tell me more . . .”
“What Home-centered Education Can Teach Us About a Flourishing Culture”
Robert Bortins, CEO
The Employee Engagement Survey
Click here to learn more!