Whatever It Takes
We're a call-center company; ours is an industry known for low morale and high attrition.
Jobs are being offshored. Each employee may take 80 or 90 phone calls a day. The job could get tedious if we let it. Instead we work like hell to transform this stressful environment into an over-the-top fun workplace. Employees don't always love the work. But they sure love coming to work.
We like to entertain employees, but we've found it's more fun when they entertain one another. When Pirates of the Caribbean was released, for example, we held a pirates versus ninjas contest, and everyone dressed up and decorated their workspaces. We once staged a murder mystery on the call-center floor; teams spent eight weeks solving it. It's important to have traditions, events people get revved up for. There's a talent show every August; employees sing or play an instrument or just try to get a laugh. The point is consistency. Employees should always expect fun just around the corner.
We have more than 300 employees, so fun is also a way for folks to know me. I'm always out there at events, mixing it up, taking myself down a peg. We have our own version of March Madness, where my COO and I take on all comers in basketball. We produce a video for the holiday party that gives folks a chance to laugh at me. I've roller-skated in a matador outfit and been a short-order cook and danced with the stars. If it helps morale I'll leave my dignity at the door.
We win a lot of best-place-to-work awards. That sets the bar high. People always tell me what a special place this is to work. Hearing that is what's fun for me.
Paul Spiegelman is CEO of the Beryl Companies, a $25 million business, based in Bedford, Texas, that connects callers to hospitals and other health care organizations.