ATLANTA — Creating a positive work atmosphere for its employees has earned Ackerman Security Systems a spot on Atlanta Business Chronicle’s 2012 “Best Places to Work” in the metro Atlanta area.
Ackerman Security ranked eighth on this year’s list. The program is administered in conjunction with market research firm Quantum Workplace. Companies nominate themselves for the program, after which employees are asked to complete an anonymous survey to assess their feelings about their jobs and work environment. There were 650 companies nominated for the 2012 awards program. More than 27,000 employees participated in the survey.
This isn’t a first time Ackerman Security has won a place on the list; rather, the firm originally took home the title in 2009. This time around, the company is just as thrilled to have made the rankings because it shows that employees still enjoy where they work, Ackerman Security President Jim Callahan tells SSI.
“Currently, we have 275 employees at two locations,” he says. “The results [of the survey] were based solely on the voices of those employees.”
Founded in 1967, Ackerman Security serves the greater Atlanta and Washington, D.C., metro areas, provide security products, services and monitoring for its residential and commercial clientele. Operating its own UL-Listed, Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) Five Diamond certified monitoring center, the firm also serves chain account clients in 48 states.
For Callahan, the first step to creating an encouraging work environment begins at hiring. Company executives conduct an in-depth interview process to select individuals who are willing to stay with Ackerman Security for the long haul. Then, when the new employee begins work, senior branch managers conduct new-hire orientations every 30 to 45 days to get to know workers, as well as instill in them company values and goals.
To ensure that all staff members are fully equipped to perform their job tasks, each new employee undergoes job-specific training. Ackerman also cross trains all employees, providing enhanced education that allows staff to act and mitigate tricky situations before they intensify, without having to wait on upper management. Additionally, new employees receive reviews at 30, 60 and 90 days.
“While many employees change companies every few years for various reasons, Ackerman’s success is directly attributed to attracting and retaining high-caliber employees throughout the company in all departments,” Callahan says. “People stay because of the support and professional development we invest in each and every employee. That includes training, skills development, personal recognition, benefits and compensation.”
Another way the company boosts morale is through recognition programs to show that Ackerman appreciates all of its employees’ hard work. For example, through its C.A.R.E. (Client Attrition Reduction Effort) Awards, the firm recognizes a staff member’s efforts to pre-empt a client from cancellation. The E.A.R. (Employee Appreciation and Recognition) Awards showcases an employee’s ability to go above and beyond to provide excellent service to customers.
“Recognizing achievement in the workplace is key to developing a dedicated workforce,” Callahan says.
With the goal of creating a family-type environment, Ackerman also hosts company-wide functions for its employees, including breakfasts and grill-outs at the office, as well as vendor-provided events.
“We strive to promote a family attitude, which contributes to the positive employee retention rate achieved in all departments,” Callahan explains. “That ultimately results in continuity and a higher level of service for customers. Satisfied employees do a better job because they take pride in the quality of their work.”
Ashley Willis is associate editor for SECURITY SALES & INTEGRATION magazine. She can be reached at (310) 533-2419.