Recently, XPLANE has received some notable recognition. We were awarded the When Work Works award which highlights our efforts in creating an effective workplace for our employees. We are thankful to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) for the award, but more so to our employees for saying such amazing things about us. We have been really fortunate to add this recognition to the list of workplace awards from Oregon Business Magazine, Great Place to Work, Fortune Magazine and others. 

Awards are more than a plaque for the wall or a shiny new trophy, it’s validation directly from our own employees that they’re happy and believe that XPLANE is a great place to work. We have consistently ranked high in our employee engagement surveys (4.5+ on a 5-point scale) and have a below average turnover rate. “In consulting, where our greatest assets are our people, tenure and turnover rates are leading measurements for business success,” XPLANE CEO Aric Wood says. “Through our commitment to becoming a great place to work, we’ve tripled average tenure and cut our turnover rate by 80% relative to peers. Being good is also good for business.”

Through our commitment to becoming a great place to work, we’ve tripled average tenure and cut our turnover rate by 80% relative to peers. Being good is also good for business.”

Aric Wood, CEO, XPLANE

All this recognition has us thinking: What’s our big award-winning secret?

Many of my HR peers think that XPLANE employees are so happy because they take ping-pong breaks and snack on company provided M&Ms all day. Though some of our office perks are pretty great, that’s not the full story. What’s really our big secret? Putting our people first.

Here are three simple things we do at XPLANE that not only put our company culture first but have also earned us brag-worthy awards and transformed our employees into happy, engaged, and proud XPLANE promoters.

Trust your people to do their best work, wherever and whenever they choose

Our XPLANErs spend a tremendous amount of time racking up air miles, spending back-to-back days in sessions, and working late nights away from their families. Because of those sacrifices, we take our employee’s work-life needs seriously.  We work to ensure all of our employees know that their personal time is as important to us as their time with clients. We believe in giving employees the freedom to choose where they can get their best work done, whether it’s working from home, the coffee shop, or a hammock when the mood hits. In addition, we trust our XPLANErs to take as much time off as needed to recharge their batteries so they can continue to ‘WOW!’ our clients. When you treat your employees like adults and trust that they’ll do their best work, meet deadlines, and go above and beyond to meet client’s needs, we’ve found that they show up, put in 110%, and get the job done.

Recognize that “employee” is not the first label people wear

Your employees aren’t just employees. Your company is full of parents, spouses, dog owners, volunteers, yoga enthusiasts, or any combination of labels. That’s why at XPLANE, we try our best to recognize milestones and accomplishments that are not just work-related. Buying a house? Let’s send a gift card to help with some of the fixer upper projects. Having a baby? Let’s throw an adorable shower! Had a client session during your wedding anniversary? Then pick the place and dinner’s on us!

If personal stress bleeds into professional stress, look for ways to help

Not being able to care for a sick relative? Not hearing the right diagnosis for a health condition? Worrying how to make ends meet are all real problems that can consume someone and not only detract from their work, but their happiness and health. Helping employees meet their most basic needs on Maslow’s hierarchy ensures that they, and you, can focus on those extras that really make life rewarding. When employers provide a fair and competitive wage, time off, and amazing health benefits it’s providing the stability that a great culture can rest on.

We are thrilled to be part of a growing chorus of voices from companies around the country that tout the importance of creating a great and effective work environment. We believe strongly that by doing so, we are a better and more profitable company and we are a better and more kinder community member.  Do you have tips or tricks you would like to share with us?  Or ways we can help you push to improve?

Shelves full of cool trophies and badges on a website can get you noticed, but it is the work you do to earn the designation of “great” that truly matters to employees.