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Springfield, MO

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Bill Dunton, president
Bill Dunton, president

2010 Choice Employers, 5 to 24 Employees No. 1: Dunton & Associates

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All but two of the 24 employees at accounting firm Dunton & Associates LLC work full time.

There is no waiting period to participate in profit sharing or the company’s retirement plan. The company pays 100 percent of full-time employees’ health insurance premiums for a zero-deductible plan. The firm also pays for dental and life insurance. More than 90 percent of the employees use the tuition-reimbursement program for job-related study, and a mentoring program is available. Other benefits are health club membership discounts, walking and weight loss programs, and payment of professional membership dues. Weekly lunch-and-learn sessions, complete with “crow time” for sharing celebrations and accomplishments, help keep employees focused and informed.

President Bill Dunton answers SBJ’s questions:

How would you describe your company culture?
(As) one that recognizes people as our most valuable asset. (Our culture) promotes treating people with honesty and respect and effectively communicating with them while seeking to provide value. That culture is driven by a clearly defined mission statement and core values that were developed with the help of our employees. … The visible result of our culture is superior service to our clients and a great working environment for our staff.

When employees ask for raises, what factors do you weigh?
Dunton & Associates LLC has clearly defined goals for each employee as well as many forms of evaluation that are considered. Measurement tools used include annual performance reviews, 360-degree evaluations completed by all employees, including management, to evaluate all employees in relation to the firm’s mission and values and 90-day game plans that help employees track progress toward personal and professional goals. Requests for raises are unusual … as we consistently give annual raises.
How does your company support professional development?
(We cover) all continuing education course fees and related expenses (and) offer tuition reimbursement for career-related college coursework. In addition, we have hired a training and learning professional with an earned doctorate to hold weekly lunch-and-learn sessions on a variety of topics to encourage both personal and professional development of our staff. In addition, the firm pays for professional designations and dues of employees.

Beyond financial compensation, what benefits are most important to your staff?
A great work environment that is family-friendly and provides flexibility and opportunity for growth. …Through our investment in technology and our commitment to a paperless environment, employees can work from any location with Internet access as easily as if they were in the office. Employees set their own schedules to include family activities as well as other important life events, while still maintaining a professional career.

What makes your company a family-friendly employer?
Health, dental and vision insurance coverage for dependents is available through the firm. The involvement of families in many events outside of the office creates a family-friendly atmosphere. During “crow time,” employees are encouraged to share accomplishments and important events for family members as well as themselves.

Just for Fun
If there were no limitations – budget or otherwise – what benefit would you begin offering employees tomorrow?
An annual firm retreat in Hawaii. In addition, we would purchase an island and work there often so we could take full advantage of our flexibility and investment in technology. To show appreciation, we would offer firm Ferraris to our employees.
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