Over the next few months, we’ll take an inside look at how the NSCA 2017 Excellence in Business award winners have adapted to the constantly changing industry. The story of Unified AV Systems Inc. (UAVS) is third on the list. For its innovative ways of improving staff satisfaction and participation, UAVS was named an NSCA 2017 Excellence in Business award winner in the Employee Engagement category.
A rarity in the systems integration world, UAVS took a leap last year to become 100% employee owned as part of the Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP). Research and surveys will tell you that employee-owned businesses results in happier, more engaged employees; this holds true for UAVS and its 140+ staff members as well.
As regular Business & Leadership Conference attendees, UAVS staff and management were inspired to take on a number of activities to improve employee engagement and the company’s future direction after hearing from speakers like Edgar Papke and engaging in conversations about best practices.
One of the key improvements made by UAVS was the launch of a formal employee engagement survey. Since its creation, the survey has had a 95% participation rate. The survey results helped management pinpoint ways to improve employee satisfaction and engagement based on what staff members tell them.
Several management advisory teams were formed to discuss key topics identified in the survey. Meetings were held with employees so they could offer valuable input and recommendations on:
- Specific actions to resolve company weaknesses
- New vision, mission, and values statements
- Communications tools to help all employees understand and appreciate employee ownership
- Strategic planning and tactics for the future
“As improvements are needed or challenges arise, employee taskforces are created to develop solutions,” says Scott Wood, senior vice president of technical services at UAVS. “These groups present all perspectives because they include people from each division. This team approach drives employee engagement and, at the same time, allows us to develop the best possible solutions for our clients.”
To keep employees informed, UAVS implemented several new initiatives.
Regular internal communications – monthly newsletters, meetings to review financial performance and company metrics, concise email updates from management, etc. – keep all employees up to date on company news and developments.
A new online suggestion box gives each employee a voice by providing a place where they can share ideas about processes and procedures. Internal communications platforms, such as SharePoint and Yammer, are also used to connect and share information with employees.
Awarding Most Valuable Performers
UAVS also discovered a creative way to recognize its most valuable staff performers (MVPs). Through the formation of a President’s Club, annual MVP winners are awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to a sunny destination.
The MVP members of the President’s Club also take part in three strategic discussions so they can provide leadership with feedback on ways to improve company operations.
Engagement Gets Results
Because UAVS management and senior leadership show a great willingness to recognize, reward, and engage employees at all levels, the staff appreciates the company’s future potential and helps steer operations to achieve that potential – they know they will benefit through stock ownership and profit-sharing plans.
Keeping employees are engaged and informed helps UAVS move forward intentionally, making decisions based on data and employee feedback with a goal of shaping the company culture that each staff member has helped defined over the last year.
Check back soon, as we continue to reveal how the 2017 NSCA Excellence in Business award winners made business changes to adapt to the constantly changing industry. You’ll also read stories from: