Editor's Note: GRS Group is one of Inc.'s 2017 Best Workplaces, our annual recognition of companies creating employee-centered organizations.
Real estate services company and two-time Inc. 5000 honoree GRS Group knew from its inception in 2009 that it wanted to keep big corporation benefits for its small company employees. Using a philosophy that equally weighs family, career, health, and spirit, at GRS, Victor managed to do just that. Here's how.
--As told to Kaitlyn Wang
The benefits really are just the material result of the attitude of the company. We were determined to create a culture that would a) have little turnover and b) reward the employees for their productivity and their creativeness at our company. Having just come from a $4 billion company, one of the commitments that we made to our first 12 employees was that we were going to do everything we could to keep the benefits package equal or better than the one we had all just had. That was a big ask, especially for a startup with no revenue. But it paid off.
Today, we have about 50 employees and $20 million in revenue. Our philosophy hinges on four pillars in life: family, career, health, and spirit. We've built our benefits package around them.
With respect to spirit, we really spend a lot of time talking and promoting those four pillars. We have Thank-You Thursdays, where we just push that and participate with everyone in the company and give thanks. Wacky Wednesdays are a way to participate in off-beat contests and games that are company-wide. Employees post answers to themed questions based around events like Coachella or pop culture like superheroes on the company's internal social media site on Socialcast.
And we have what are called GRS bucks, which is currency inside of the organization. You can do a lot of different things to get those. As they accrue, you can cash them in for gift cards, movie passes, and wine. Every Friday we have a contest that awards GRS bucks based on the number of co-workers with whom you FaceTimed. Since we have a lot of remote employees, across a lot of time zones, the idea on Fridays is to get them to see each other face to face.
We have people who are responsible for maintaining these programs and keep them going and that way I know it becomes part of the culture and doesn't become a great idea that fades away after a while. We have think tanks and we have teams and we'll invite employees to participate in those. There's one specifically on culture and the people on that committee will rotate in and out over time. That allows them to participate and come up with things for other employees to contribute to the culture.
If you don't have a way to institutionalize an idea and make it part of your cultural fabric, it cannot sustain itself. The executive leadership or the corporate development group can come out with some great idea, but it's hard to make sure that it doesn't disappear. But if you link that idea to an activity that happens every single day, every week, and that's the theme for the day, it'll never go away.