Talmetrix is on a mission to recognize companies and leaders that achieve high performance through engaged cultures. We’re spotlighting companies where employees are proud to work and are doing great things, but their stories might not make headlines. Great cultures and employee engagement aren’t built on crazy perks, but in the way people work, the type of people hired and how people are aligned behind a common mission. These are the stories of engaged cultures.
HWC: Spotlight on an Engaged Culture
Ed has an enormous amount of pride and passion about his role at HWC. Since he became President of HWC in 2009, he has used his extensive experience in his leadership role to facilitate productive and engaging day-to-day operations. Ed continues to push his employee-driven team that cultivates and drives company culture. His efforts have helped HWC be recognized as a top company to work for by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce in 2016.
Describe your workplace. When you tell people about your life at work, what do you say?
We recently moved to the top floor of a new office building. Not only is the workspace larger to accommodate our growing company, but it also provides a beautiful view of downtown Indianapolis. The new office space is conducive to all types of collaboration, from small group discussion to media-heavy meetings and large scale brainstorming sessions. Employees spend a lot of time at the office, so it’s important to have a workplace that is both comfortable and functional.
What’s the best thing about your culture?
Our company culture is founded on trust, respect and balance. We’re very open and honest with our employees and that level of transparency helps create a positive culture. If someone is overwhelmed by a pending deadline, others would not hesitate to help. It oftentimes feels like more of a family unit than a company.
What are some of the ways you build engagement?
Despite being a private company, we’re open with our financials and strive to keep the employees informed. We hold an annual meeting where employees gather for a “state of the company” so they can understand the vision and direction of the company.
We work hard while recognizing the need for balance. Employees are encouraged to volunteer together in the community by serving lunch for the homeless and those in need. Additionally, we host social events regularly that help strengthen our team and culture.
What do you think the employees are most proud of?
We’re proud of the work we do and the partnerships we build with communities around the state. In 2015, we received two State Finalist Awards for engineering excellence from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Indiana in recognition of Seashore Waterpark in Lebanon and the Village Promenade in Muncie.
What impact does the culture/engagement have on the business?
Our people are critically important, and we take pride in investing in our employees to help them continue to learn and grow. We make an effort to ensure hard and soft skill training is available for employees. Employees work collaboratively and rely on in-house resources, which allows us to land more interesting and complex projects. In addition, we’ve maintained a low turnover rate, which allows the company to take on bigger projects that challenge our employees and help them succeed.
What work have you done to create your engaged culture?
Our management prides itself on being approachable and maintaining an “open door policy.” Staying consistent, following through and understanding the need for balance is crucial. We try to be flexible and understand the needs employees have outside of work, and that level of understanding has been beneficial in improving HWC’s workplace culture.
What advice do you have for others trying to build an engaged and productive workforce?
Building an engaged and productive workforce doesn’t happen overnight, but it starts with consistency and comes back to encouraging an environment of trust, respect and balance. If you ask for employee feedback, it’s important to listen when it is provided.
Is there anything you still want to accomplish?
Since 2009 we’ve grown from about 50 employees to 95, and we want to continue growing. We’re proud of the work we’ve done for Indiana communities, and we want to continue working on new and bigger projects that allow our employees to grow.
What’s your favorite day of the week? Why?
Everyone’s favorite day of the week is Friday! We’re a hardworking group of people that encourages a healthy balance between work and family life. Friday is a great opportunity to look at all we’ve accomplished in a week and plan ahead for what’s coming up the next week.
About HWC Engineering
HWC Engineering is a full service consulting engineering firm providing water, wastewater, stormwater, transportation and site engineering, as well as landscape architecture and planning, for both the public and private sectors.
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