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Charles Hill, President
Charles Hill, President

2011 Choice Employers, 5 to 24 Employees No. 1: GHN Architects/Engineers

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GHN Architects/Engineers employs nine full-time and eight part-time employees. Traditional benefits include a 401(k) plan, paid time off and 100 percent company-paid health insurance premiums for full-time staff. The company also pays a portion of health insurance premiums for dependents. Telecommuting is available for some employees. In addition to tuition reimbursement and several hours of formal employee training each year, GHN also has an employee mentoring program and lunch-and-learn continuing education opportunities. Communication is facilitated in regular staff meetings, and other benefits include flexible scheduling. Employees also are encouraged to participate in community organizations.

How does your company foster employee loyalty?
“We recognize that most of our needs as team members are similar and strive to meet them on multiple levels. This begins with flexibility for work schedules and providing all the right resources needed to accomplish the tasks at hand. … We encourage professional growth and cultivate an environment of trust, giving people the independence they need to focus on their careers.”

Tell us about your firm’s team-building activities or events.
“We organize our workload during weekly meetings and highlight any special needs each project may have. In time, this has allowed us to cross-train our work force as an added benefit. … We regularly have lunches together, recognize professional milestones such as licensure and anniversaries, offer a fall canoe trip and celebrate the holidays with a giant party, including all the kids.”
 
How does your business support work-life balance for employees?
“We recognize that work supports life, and that team members are better positioned for success at work when their career is in balance with needs at home. We strive to carefully manage project schedules to nearly eliminate the need for overtime work caused by deadlines. We also rely on customized work schedules, compensatory time and other benefit time to allow our professionals to meet their commitments at home.”

Has the economy made it difficult to award raises? How are employee efforts rewarded?
“While we are blessed to be conducting business as usual, we have begun a deliberate initiative to highlight the areas in which each person makes a valued difference, celebrating how their contributions fit into the big picture. In our firm’s culture, team members seem to appreciate extra autonomy and decision-making power as much as anything.”
 
What makes your company’s benefits offering stand out in the market?
“Our goal is to be the best place to practice architecture and engineering, which goes far beyond offering insurance or investment benefits. We want to offer an environment where team members feel genuinely free to pursue the practice they love because all the bases are covered.”
 
How does your company support employees’ desires to give back to the community?
“We specifically encourage participation in community organizations and make time to review and celebrate such contributions during our staff meetings. ... For a few key initiatives, the company provides financial support for programs that we care most about.”

Click here for the full 2011 Choice Employers.
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