Welcome to the third annual Top Workplaces issue, brought to you by the Philadelphia-based employee research and consulting firm Energage, Greenville Business Magazine
, Columbia Business Monthly
, and Charleston Business Magazine
. This year, our Large Company category features five winners, while our Small Company category features 25 winners, 10 more than in 2018. The Top 3 winners in each of the above categories are also spotlighted. Beyond that, we are pleased to announce our Special Awards winners, a wide-ranging catch-all covering such categories as Managers, Doers, Clued-in Management, and Work/Life Flexibility.
Large Company No. 1:
Sector: Home Healthcare and Hospice Services
S.C. Employees: 399
Top Executive: Charyl Schroeder, CEO
By Vincent Harris
Photo by Amy Randall Photography
This is the third consecutive year that Interim Healthcare of Greenville is making an appearance on the Top Large Workplace list, and for the third consecutive year, they’ve topped that list. That’s a strong indication that Interim, a locally owned hospice and home healthcare agency, hasn’t rested on past positive feedback from their employees—they’ve kept working to make things better.
For example, when Interim began taking surveys internally a couple of years ago, they found that some of their employees didn’t feel there was enough communication between themselves and the top management. That was key, because most of Interim’s staff works off-site as providers of in-home health care. So they worked hard to improve and expand their lines of communication.
“Our clinical management team deserves most of the credit for keeping in touch with our field staff,” says Interim Healthcare HR Director Crystal Adams. “We keep them updated on events and other pertinent information through text, chat, social media, and calls.”
This past year, Adams says the focus has been on employee engagement.
“Engaging the office staff is the easy part. We have onsite potluck lunches, a secret Guess Who game that we play on Fridays to get to know our staff better, decorating contests, etc. Most of our clinical employees are not just co-workers, they are also friends outside of work. Many will meet up after work and on weekends for events and activities,” Adams says. “But the majority of our workforce almost never steps foot into the office. They start and end their day in the field. So engaging our field staff requires a little more creativity.”
Interim came up with a few fun activities for the field staff to take part in, like a company-wide March Madness tournament and fantasy football leagues, but the main thrust of their efforts was to encourage feedback and employee contributions to the company’s policy decisions.
“Our employees often come to us with great ideas for improving processes and efficiencies on the job,” Adams says, “and we are more than willing to consider their suggestions and implement them if they make sense.”
Adams says that Interim’s Top Workplaces showing means that their formal and informal attempts at engagement are working. “The award tells us that we’re on the right track as far as creating a culture that shows our employees that they are more than just employees—they’re members of the Interim family,” she says.
And given that most of Interim’s new employee hires come from their current employees’ word-of-mouth, the company has good reason to stay on top of the list.
Adams says, “That speaks volumes. That means our employees want their friends to come work here and be a part of our great organization.”
Large Company No. 2: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices C. Dan Joyner Realtors
Sector: Real Estate Brokerage
S.C. Employees: 473
Top Executive: Danny Joyner, president and CEO
By Vincent Harris
Photo by Amy Randall Photography
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices C. Dan Joyner Realtors CEO Danny Joyner has been in his position since 2010, when he took over for his father. And he’s tried to continue to foster the same feeling of family among his employees that his father did. Which is why it means so much to him that those employees have put C. Dan Joyner Realtors on the 2019 Top Workplaces list.
“The fact that this award is the result of our employees’ sentiments and feedback is what makes this such a treasured accomplishment,” Joyner says of making the Top Workplaces list. “My father founded C. Dan Joyner Realtors in 1964 as a family business, and he would be immensely proud to know that his commitment to doing what is right and valuing our work family is still just as strong 54-plus years later.”
Joyner says that the key to keeping his employees happy is in his personal engagement with them — not an easy task, given the number of offices he has to cover.
“We work hard to maintain a pulse on our organization, not just once a year, but continually,” Joyner says. “With 10 locations, it’s important for me and David Crigler (the company’s COO and EVP) to get out and talk to our employees and agents about what’s happening in their offices and communities.”
And a cookie-cutter approach to communication and response doesn’t work with C. Dan Joyner Realtors, because every location is different.
“We cover the entire Upstate, so there are some differences in what our agents and clients are seeing in their respective markets,” Joyner says. “So we hold town hall meetings and open forums frequently at each location. Those types of meetings help us collaborate to share best practices and solutions. It also enables us to identify where we, as a company, can enhance our offerings to our agents to make their work more efficient and effective for their clients.”
Like many of the other businesses on the Top Workplaces list, Joyner says that his company has an open-door policy when it comes to employees providing feedback to their superiors.
“Engaging employees requires giving them the opportunity to speak out, listening to that feedback, and then developing a collaborative plan,” he says. “When our employees and agents feel fulfilled and valued, they take tremendous care of our clients. We work best when we work together.”
And, Joyner adds, in an increasingly technology-heavy marketplace, there’s something to be said for the human touch.
“We can automate many aspects of transactions these days, but there is one thing that will never be automated: Authentic relationships with people who care about each other,” he says. “Our commitment to our agents’ success is unparalleled.”
Large Company No. 3: CACI
Location: North Charleston
S.C. Employees: 275
Top Executive: Ken Asbury
By Vincent Harris
CACI, an information technology company that services many branches of the federal government including the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the nation’s intelligence apparatus, is no stranger to the Top Workplaces list in other parts of the country. So far, the multinational corporation has been on the Large Company list in Oklahoma City, Baltimore, Memphis, Washington, D.C., San Diego, and Tampa. But for the first time, their North Charleston location has put them on the South Carolina Top Workplaces list, and it’s a point of pride for the company’s chief human resources officer, Angie Casper.
“Top Workplace recognition validates our success in making CACI an exciting and enjoyable work environment where employees can grow their careers,” she says. “In South Carolina, our employees take pride in their support for the Air Force Central Command’s Network Operations and Security Center and the Defense Health Agency for Navy Warfare Information Center-related programs, among other important customers in the region. They know their contributions advance critical communications in support of America’s military men and women.”
Casper says that with a staff of more than 21,000 employees worldwide, it’s crucial that CACI is responsive to those employees’ needs.
“When employees recently told us they wanted more flexibility on how they use their sick and vacation time, we moved to a paid-time-off system,” she says. “We also recently enhanced our 401(k) and employee awards programs based on employee suggestions. Along with career growth opportunities, training and education programs, and competitive benefits, CACI is committed to providing a great employee experience.”
CACI recruits their pool of employees largely from our nation’s military veterans as well as experienced industry professionals, and Casper says that being on any Top Workplace list serves as a powerful tool for attracting in-demand people for their available positions.
“Top Workplace recognition is a great way to show job candidates that CACI is an outstanding place for them to contribute to inventive teams and support important customer missions that help make our country safer and help the government run more efficiently,” she says. “This recognition tells job candidates that CACI fosters entrepreneurship and sustains a vibrant corporate culture of character and innovation.”
But she’s quick to add that it’s not just attractive to potential employees. “It also shows customers that their programs are being supported with talented and dedicated professionals who are customer-focused and enjoy their work,” she says.
Small Company No. 1: Creative Builders Inc.
Sector: Construction, Commercial, and Multi-family
S.C. Employees: 60
Top Executive: William McCauley III, President
By Emily Pietras
Creative Builders, a general contractor founded in 1971 by William H. “Billy” McCauley II, has laid the foundation for many of the latest mixed-use buildings, multifamily units, and restaurants in the Greenville area. Local projects in the firm’s vast portfolio include South Ridge, Ellison on Broad, 155 East Riverplace, Terrace at Riverplace, Parkside at Verdae, Saskatoon Lodge, Moe’s BBQ, Liability Brewing Co., and Bacon Bros. Public House.
Much of Creative Builders’ success lies in the implementation of its core values, says director of human resources Candy Gibbons. Those include all-in teamwork, building lasting relationships, creating extraordinary projects, and developing successful people and a sustainable company.
“We instill and implement these values in our daily practices, from our communication to building and preserving our relationships with one another, our clients, and the community,” Gibbons says. “We practice this through ethical practices, our faith, work ethics, and commitment to one another.”
And that commitment is mutual between employer and employee. At a time when job-hopping is becoming more common, Creative Builders has created a culture where employees remain engaged in their roles and want to stay at the firm long term. The average tenure of an employee at Creative Builders exceeds 15 years.
The key to this impressive rate of employee retention is hiring the right people, Gibbons says.
“At Creative, we take our time in the hiring process to ensure that the people we bring on board will be a fit for our team and our core values,” she says. “We feel that by having done so, everyone who joins our team knows that they are more than just a number. They are family. When you treat people the way you want to be treated, the positive impact can be significant.”
Part of treating employees well means acknowledging the value of their work, and Creative Builders regularly celebrates and recognizes employees’ accomplishments.
“This can be shared through a company email blast, to announcing at our quarterly company meetings or annual company events,” Gibbons says. “We also announce the recipients of the annual Billy McCauley Excellence Award. This award is given to individuals within the company, recognizing them for their outstanding efforts, unselfish commitment, and unwavering support throughout the year. What makes this award so special is the recipients are nominated by their peers.”
Small Company No. 2: S.C. Whitmore School
Sector: Public Charter School
S.C. Employees: 36
Top Executive: John Loveday, Principal
By Emily Pietras
Photo ©2019 Brian Dressler / dresslerphoto.com
It’s no exaggeration to say that SC Whitmore School is unlike any other in South Carolina. Founded by a parent in 2011, the statewide online public charter school has an extended school year that runs through mid-July and serves any full-time high school student under the age of 21 who resides in South Carolina.
“Our school essentially serves both ends of the spectrum,” says principal John Loveday, with those ends being students who are at risk of dropping out and those who want to either finish high school early or pursue a dual-enrollment track.
But SCWS, which is headquartered in Columbia, isn’t only a viable alternative to the conventional brick-and-mortar high school for students. Teaching in a virtual setting, rather than in a classroom, is often a welcome change for educators at SCWS.
“Sadly, a lot of times in a traditional school setting, all the other stuff takes so much of your day—the other duties, the paperwork, lunch duty, bus duty, breaking up fights, discipline,” Loveday says. “All these things prohibit you from focusing on what you’re good at and what you’re trained to do, which is, be a teacher, not be a counselor or a psychiatrist or a pastor or a nurse.”
Since Loveday became principal of SCWS in 2015, the school has exceeded a 95 percent or better teacher retention rate each year at a time when South Carolina teachers are increasingly leaving the profession.
Flexible schedules are a significant draw for teachers. And in addition to state benefits, SCWS offers six weeks of paid maternity, paternity, or adoption leave and a private 401(k) that matches employee investment.
“When people come here, they very rarely leave,” Loveday says. “We do those things just to be creative and think outside the box but also just to show that we’re a culture that supports our employees.”
All employees at SCWS, from administrative staff to teachers, subscribe to the Kaizen model, Loveday says. The philosophy encourages constant evaluation of the school’s policies, processes, and teaching methods.
“We are constantly trying to fight against the status quo and to fight against complacency,” Loveday says.
“We know something like what we do is still very new, and I think we are currently writing the book on how to do what we do,” he adds. “And so we’re very in tune to try to get better and to be data-driven and to make sure that when we make changes or when we implement something that it is based on data and that it is going to make a positive difference.”
Small Company No. 3: Think Up Consulting
Sector: Business, Organizational Consulting
S.C. Employees: 37
Top Executive: Ron Doney, President
By Emily Pietras
Collaboration is vital to the creative process at Think Up Consulting, a firm that delivers “tailor-made solutions” for businesses and brands to connect with their targeted audiences and produce desired results.
To encourage constant communication and teamwork, Think Up’s leadership team has developed “different forums that force us to get together, talk, think, and collaborate,” says president and founder Ron Doney.
For example, once a month, employees participate in The Scramble, an early-morning meeting that resembles the format of a book club.
“We might read an article or something that’s thought-provoking or something that somebody’s heard or seen,” Doney says. “And everybody pre-reads it, and then we come together and we talk about it, dissect it, and talk about how we bring it into what we do.”
Another similar program, Noonivate, is an all-company lunch meeting that occurs every other month.
“We bring in people from the outside to talk with us about different topics or share something,” Doney says. “We’ve done everything from bringing in the sheriff’s office to some of our clients to hear what they’re doing.”
Think Up’s 10 core values—among them continuous improvement, a passionate pursuit of excellence, diversity of thought and skill, and integrity that can withstand transparency—are the backbone of the company’s strong work culture, says solutions engineer Colleen LaHaise.
“Those core values define who we are and how we behave,” she says. “I think each of us live those daily.”
Communicating the value of employees’ work is prioritized at Think Up, and team members are often commended for their efforts during weekly WU @ TU—What’s Up at Think Up—meetings.
“That’s where we have the opportunity to really recognize each other,” LaHaise says. “It can be for a number of things. Perhaps it’s work that we completed on a project. Maybe it’s something on an international initiative. Or it’s living and demonstrating those core values. We have what we call ‘value caps,’ so each value we have is represented by a logo, and we pass those out to each other. So it’s a great forum for recognition but also instilling those core values.”
And because team members are often working on different projects for Think Up’s clients, which include Marriott International, BMW, Prisma Health, Fluor, and Michelin, leadership makes sure to set aside time for employees to share what they’re working on.
“We take time to do a project showcase and highlight the examples of project work that we are doing,” LaHaise says. “It’s also time to highlight lessons learned in that timeframe. It’s a great platform for us to share any client comments and feedback.”
Listed below are the five large company winners and the 25 small company winners, along with their ownership, sector, and headquarters:
1. Interim Healthcare of the Upstate; Private; Home Healthcare and
Hospice Services; Greenville, S.C.
2. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices C. Dan Joyner, REALTORS; Private; Real
Estate Brokerage; Greenville, S.C.
3. CACI; Public; Defense; Arlington, Va.
4. City of Florence; Government; Local Government; Florence, S.C.
5. Hubbell Lighting; Public; Lighting manufacturer; Greenville, S.C.
1. Creative Builders, Inc.; Private; Construction Commercial and Multi
Family; Greenville, S.C.
2. South Carolina Whitmore School; Public; SC Public Charter School; Columbia,
3. Think Up Consulting; Partnership; Business Organizational
Consulting; Greenville, S.C.
4. Northwestern Mutual; Cooperative/Mutual; Financial Advisors; Milwaukee,
5. Pinnacle Financial Partners; Public; Commercial Bank; Nashville, Tenn.
6. InvestiNet, LLC; Private; Collections & Debt Settlement; Greenville,
7. Jeff Cook Real Estate; Public; Agents / Brokers; North Charleston, S.C.
8. Transworld, Inc. Electrical Contractors; Private; Electrical; Charleston,
9. SVN | BlackStream Commercial, LLC; Private; Investment Sales and
Development; Greenville, S.C.
10. JEAR Logistics, LLC; Private; Third-party logistics; Mount Pleasant;
11. Brandon Advertising, Inc.; Private; Marketing and Branding; Charleston,
12. Panda Restaurant Group; Private; Restaurant; Rosemead, Calif.
13. Total Quality Logistics; Private; Third-Party Logistics; Cincinnati,
14. Bunnell Lammons Engineering, Inc.; Private; Engineering; Greenville,
15. Quality Business Solutions, Inc.; Private; Professional Employer
Organization (PEO); Travelers Rest, S.C.
16. Bonitz; Public; Construction – Other; Concord, N.C.
17. 6AM City, LLC; Private; Digital Media; Greenville, S.C.
18. Keymark, Inc.; Private; Enterprise Content Management Software; Greenville,
19. GOS; Private; Business Supplies; Greer, S.C.
20. ACL Airshop, LLC; Private; Cargo Control Product Manufacturing; Easley,
21. Green Cloud Technologies; Private; Cloud Service Provider; Greenville,
22. Anderson Insurance Associates, LLC; Private; General Insurance; Charleston,
23. Graybar Electric Company, Inc.; Private; Electrical Distribution; St.
24. HomeTeam Pest Defense; Public; Pest Control; Dallas, Texas
25. ECPI University; Private; College / University; Virginia Beach, Va.