Client Spotlight: Worldwide Steel Buildings
Employee Retention Creativity and Success
Creating strong employee relationships builds loyalty at Worldwide Steel Buildings
Everyone can agree that a great company culture can be a game-changer for an organization. Yet, so few are able to create that magic.
Is there some secret we’re all missing?
“It's not just one thing. It's lots of things,” says Worldwide Steel Buildings CEO Jeff Snell. “It starts with good pay. You have to pay your people, and you need to have great benefits. But past that, that's the tricky part.”
Snell knows the value of building a great company culture. Worldwide Steel Buildings has gained a reputation as a great place to work. That has resulted in low employee turnover and helped fuel impressive growth – from $7 million in sales in 2016 to $49 million last year.
Operating out of Peculiar, Missouri, Worldwide Steel Buildings is a premier manufacturer of pre-engineered steel building kits. The company serves individuals and small businesses across North America and around the world manufacturing kits for everything from backyard storage sheds to community sports arenas.
But perhaps the most impressive creation at Worldwide Steel Buildings is the culture that Snell and his leadership team have built. “There's a whole list of things we do for our employees because I just feel so strongly that a great team is so important to the success of our business.”
One of the first things Snell did was ask his employees if they’d prefer to switch to a four-day workweek. “I asked the guys if they wanted to switch to 4-10’s and they jumped all over it. It gives them a three-day weekend every week and they love it.” says Snell.
Snell also implemented an employee loan program. “It is a $1,500 loan to an employee – no questions asked – for whatever they need.” as Snell explains. “So, if your washing machine breaks down, you can go and request an employee loan for up to $1,500. You pay it back however you want. No interest or preset payments. It’s meant to help someone who has hit a little bump in the road.”
Where did the idea come from?
“It's just from talking to my employees and understanding that not everyone has six months’ worth of emergency savings. So, if a guy’s transmission goes out, he doesn’t have to resort to charging it on a high-interest credit card or taking out a title loan,” says Snell.
You would think that such a generous perk as this would be a risky proposition. But Snell swears by the idea, “I implemented this program at one of my very first companies 15 years ago and I've never been burnt. I've even had employees who quit and still owed me money and they always paid it back.”
The loan program underscores Snell’s belief in the value of building relationships, whether it’s with his employees or the partners he chooses to work with. It’s what attracted him to Country Club Bank.
“Before we were clients, every three or four months, the Country Club Bank folks would stop in. They didn't pressure me. They'd come in, drink a cup of coffee, and we'd visit and walk around. Then the time came when I was looking for something different than what I currently had – a more personal relationship with a bank. Not only did I move my business there, but I moved all my personal stuff, too. I'm a big fan.”
When asked about advice he’d give to others, Snell will tell you it comes down to two things. Attracting great talent and keeping them. Key to accomplishing both those is creating the relationships.
“We have a hundred employees. I walk around four times a day through a 50,000 square-foot manufacturing facility, talking to people and just seeing how people are doing,” says Snell. “My job is to surround myself with good people, give them the tools and stay out of their way. It's pretty simple when you say it, but it's hard to do and practice.”