Here's how some of the best companies to work for in Florida are attracting and retaining talent during the Great Resignation.
Wilson & Girgenti
No. 11 Midsized | Engineering | Tampa
When COVID-19 hit in 2020, Wilson & Girgenti decided not to lay off employees, despite the uncertainty. “To us, it was sink or swim,” says Joseph Girgenti, president. “As a result, we actually grew, and nobody lost their job. In fact, our employee count was 46% higher at the start of 2021 than it was at the start of 2020.”
The engineering and consulting firm has also made it a point to grow pay and perks. Nearly all staff received an “inflation raise” in January, completely separate from merit increases and bonuses, and the company implemented an incentive program this year that gives employees a portion of profits. Rewards and recognition are another priority — the company has an employee recognition program that awards points for dollars when demonstrating company values — and there’s an emphasis on making the workplace fun, with monthly pizza and movie nights, happy hours, sports game outings and other activities.
The 17-year-old company has also expanded its office space over the last two years to offer more amenities. It plans to add a golf simulator at one of its offices by the end of the year. “Work-life balance has become even more important, and meaningful amenities are no longer a perk — they’re almost a necessity,” Girgenti says. “Because employees expect to have the option to either work from home or from the office, homes have become more like offices and offices have become more like homes.”
Wilson & Girgenti also tries to differentiate itself by providing opportunities for employees to grow and move into leadership positions. “If anyone at our company wants a chance to be a leader, they don’t have to wait until someone retires to get that position. We’re always providing employees opportunities in some way so that they’re never stuck and they continue to enjoy their work,” GIrgenti says. “I like to compare our company to a tree. As the branches grow, the trunk gets taller and stronger. New branches are supported by old branches, and the tree continues to grow. Investing in our employees is vital to supporting our growth.”
No. 13 Small | Financial Services | Lake Mary
A Benefits Boost
Chris Hurn, founder and CEO of Fountainhead, a non-bank lender for small-to-mid-sized businesses, says there was “substantial turnover” in his industry late last year and early in 2022, but it has slowed down during the past few months. “We had about 12% of our team turnover from Q4 of 2021 through Q1 of 2022, but we quickly filled those positions and still have more people wanting to work for us than we currently have positions open,” Hurn says.
He says the company “retooled” some of its benefits last year to “demonstrate how valuable our people are to us,” both to enhance retention and attract hires. Those changes included increasing personal leave days — with more days for every additional year of tenure — and allowing team members to roll over their time or get an extra paycheck for unused leave. Fountainhead also increased its 401(k) match, boosted its training budget and gave out four-figure “vacation gift cards” to encourage employees to take time off to rest and relax.
The company also holds monthly “ask-me-anything” video calls and hosts occasional happy hours. Last year, the company held a large multi-day retreat at Disney, flying out-of-town employees and a guest to Orlando for the event.
He says employees’ expectations have changed in the post-COVID era — and they expect companies to be more flexible and accommodating.