July’s annual SSI Best of the Best Issue includes 2014 Installer of the Year (Small Company) Runner-Up Low Voltage Contractors (LVC). A leading reason LVC was recognized for excellence was due to its people engaged and also gives back to the community. Here, President & CEO Bob Hoertsch lends more insight into what makes LVC a people place. Be sure to check out my other LVC blog in which Hoertsch addresses the company’s strategic business planning and marketing initiatives.
What does your company do to keep its employees motivated and fulfilled?
Bob Hoertsch: The first and most important thing we do is to acknowledge that our employees are the most important part of our business. We do it publically and boldly. Every employee at LVC knows that they are the reason we have a growing company with an outstanding reputation. As for organized efforts we have a couple. LVC has a monthly employee newsletter called The Current Connection. It is a consistent way to communicate success stories from the office and the field, acknowledge contributions, share success stories and celebrate milestones. LVC also has quarterly breakfast meetings that serve as rallying points and times to communicate vision to the company as a whole. Each meeting features updates on sales and new business developments, recognition of special accomplishments, celebration of service anniversaries, and speeches on special topics ranging from safety to maintaining customer relationships to updates in code. While our executives are always featured speakers, we also get to hear from technicians and others about different company initiatives or focus topics. These meetings help to cultivate a team spirit and foster a desire for growth both individually and corporately.
We have annual events that have longstanding tradition and are looked forward to by employees and their families. Those events include a company golf outing, taking in a St. Paul Saints game, and the annual winter party. There is some talk about adding a paintball outing back in too – but still just talk at this point. In addition to these planned annual events there is no shortage of impromptu gatherings or celebrations throughout the year. Ironically, they usually involve food! We have a few potlucks throughout the year and some pregame tailgating parties to celebrate whoever the local team is in the playoffs or game of consequence. This year our Vikings events revolved around a dismal season and a team that was in grave need of support, while the Wild was a much happier cause for celebration! Some of the other ways are probably far less tangible and far more impactful. While not gratuitous, there is always time taken to say “thank you” or to recognize the accomplishments of individuals in our group. This, I’m sure, goes further than any party that can be thrown. Gratitude is balanced with openness – both for opinions and feedback. Also of importance is that when making decisions the viewpoints and opinions of multiple people are solicited and considered.
In what ways does your company contribute to the communities it serves?
Hoertsch: Our largest event every year is a cash fundraiser which is used to purchase toys and supplies to be donated to the Minneapolis Ronald McDonald house. Each year a campaign is conducted by LVC employees to raise cash. Employees donate what they are able. That money is then used to purchase gifts for patients and families at the Minneapolis Ronald McDonald House. On average, the LVC community raises around $2,000- $3,000 including a company donation match. In addition to the generous employees at LVC, a local Kohl’s department store extends a discount on the entire purchase and allows us to immediately use Kohl’s cash earned, making our dollars stretch further.
In 2013, some fun things happened on our shopping trip that are worth sharing. Our group had separated and we were debating whether to start checking out or wait for everyone to reassemble. We opted to wait and let a woman in line ahead of us. When her transaction was complete an announcement came on over the store speakers – she was that store’s shopper of the day and her entire purchase was free! Making the story better is that she had debated on a second item and had decided to go ahead, even though it was going to strain her budget. And then it was our turn. Imagine having a fixed budget and trying to figure out how many items in what combination to try and get close to our budget without going over. So we started with our best guess knowing we were going to have to adjust toward the end – either put back some items or go running back into the store to add items. Imagine our surprise when we came to the end of both carts and ended up having only two small items left over! As if they had not already been generous enough, Kohl’s threw in those last two items without charging us for them.
In addition to our organized effort around the holidays, throughout the years LVC employees have participated in local charity events as active members of local associations and organizations. Other fundraising and/or charity events we have participated in over the last year include preparing meals with a locally found organization called “Feed My Starving Children” and a Humane Society Walk for Animals. LVC also contributes to the Boy Scouts of America and numerous wounded warrior and veteran organizations.