When it comes to workplace perks, some southeastern Wisconsin employees are seeing more paid time off (PTO) and taking the day off on their birthday, as well as enjoying extensive benefits packages. It's no wonder — with a historically low state unemployment rate, employers are finding creative ways to attract and retain talent.
“In a tight labor market, a workplace environment can make or break a candidate’s decision,” said Anne Jabusch, assistant marketing manager at QPS Employment Group in Brookfield.
To ensure employees are satisfied in their workplace, QPS executives go on “listening tours,” visiting every QPS branch in the company’s five states. Senior human resources manager Nikki Nelson said listening is how the staffing firm improves the employees' experience.
“We all are connected, and we need to care for each other,” Nelson said. “We try to do that here at QPS.”
PyraMax Bank's Monica Baker agrees, noting that a good workplace environment is a necessity in a competitive market.
Baker, chief brand officer at the bank, credits PyraMax's employee retention success to its benefits package and friendly office atmosphere. Baker has worked at PyraMax for 24 years and said that long of a tenure is quite common.
Baker said she often tells interviewees: “I want this to be your last interview. I want this to be the place where you retire.”
Video and live events production firm Plum Media also prides itself on its workplace culture. The company will be moving into a new location 1418 W. St. Paul Ave. in Milwaukee because it's outgrown its current site.
Owner Rich Schmig said it’s the large number of clients and variety of work that attracts employees, and the friendly, collaborative work environment makes them stay.
Employees have been involved in planning their new office building every step of the way.
“The building is not just for me; it’s for all for us,” Schmig said. “We all have to work in it.”
A third of the staff is on a committee that is a part of the planning process. There also is a team that goes out and shoots video of the construction process.
“They get to be in the middle of everything,” Schmig said.
Once a month the staff sets aside a day for what they call “food for thought.” During the get-together they share interesting video content and discuss it. This initiative was pitched by an employee and is now a monthly tradition.
Plum is a Best Place to Work because each employee brings something to the table, Schmig said.
“If I ran everything, I knew we wouldn’t be everything we are,” Schmig said. “Like in any good work environment, we’re all friends. We’re like a second family.”
Family values are also important at J. F. Ahern Co. The family-owned mechanical contracting company, based in Fond du Lac, was founded in 1880 and today has 1,500 employees in 12 locations throughout the Midwest.
The company's benefits extend to every employee, as well as their families and the community, said human resources specialist Kelsea Raskiewicz.
“We boast great benefits like a larger corporation, but we still hold near and dear to our heart the family values from when we started,” Raskiewicz said.