What happens when company culture is a top priority and fun and a family atmosphere are just as emphasized as performance? It creates a vested interest in success, Avail Technologies says.
“We believe this is not just a place to work, but a place to grow, learn, live and explore,” says Mike Shuey, Customer Support Process Controller. “Avail believes in promoting a fun, enjoyable workplace.”
In 2021, Avail was listed in 100 Best Places to Work in PA, a ranking that studies company benefits and practices and then surveys every employee to gauge engagement and satisfaction.
Shuey says Avail is employee-owned. “And that means that everyone has a stake in the performance of our company and the direction we go. We work hard, and we play hard.”
He’s not kidding about playing hard. Two committees — the Fun Enjoyable Workplace Crew (FEW Crew) and the Availians Celebrating ESOP Committee (ACE Squadron) — plan events like picnics and virtual pinewood derby car races for the team.
He says that a strong work culture and personal ownership has an effect on their bottom line. “This past year, our focus was on where we could find savings and make improvements. Folks working with vendors looked for savings there. People working with carriers negotiated savings. Everyone took ownership to boost profitability.”
“Everyone has an ownership mentality,” he says. “There’s buy-in.” He says that a local business leader recently stopped by to tour the facility and said, “You can tell that Avail is a different kind of company just by meeting its people.”
Shuey says that their company has worked hard to “stay as connected as possible” during the pandemic, meeting frequently over Microsoft Teams and continuing their mission to celebrate accomplishments and have fun. “We held virtual events like bingo, and also had a lot of company meetings where the team could talk stuff out,” he says. As they begin to meet in person, they’ve recently celebrated fellow employees for becoming fully-vested in the employee-owned company.
Shuey says that if he could give advice to a company just starting out, he’d tell them that it all comes down to focus. “Stay customer focused and employee focused,” he says. “You won’t stay in business unless your customers are happy, but you need to remember that your employees are your customers too. Recognize good work and acknowledge that they are making a difference. Being focused on those two goals will impact everything.”