Codiak San Herrell

Solid Surface Designs

Tim Wilkins, Installation Department,  Employee of the Month

Tim Wilkins, Installation Department,  Employee of the Month, and a sample monthly newsletter.

sample monthly newsletter.

Companies everywhere have their struggles: the bottom line, safety, deadlines, morale, and last but not least, employee retention.

The stone and countertop industry and companies within it feel an impact from high turnover rates. If you have been with a company for an adequate amount of time and think back to how many employees, for better or worse, have come and gone through the doors of the company you work for, there’s a good chance you will be overwhelmed or even unable to recall every single individual who graced you with their presence. Personally, I cannot help but wonder why employee retention is such a factor when I feel that the company I work for is such a pleasant and fair place to work.

Maybe retention has become a problem because fewer people than usual are willing to come home dirty. Is it possible this is true even more so for the up-and-coming generations of workers? Or is it because there is such a surplus of other potential job opportunities in today’s economy that workers use one job as a stepping stone until they find what they think is a better job?

Poor employee retention poses several issues, including wasting a ton of precious time on employees who are not interested in long-term employment. Just imagine a company that is fully staffed with trained, hard-working employees who have a success-driven vision for the company, clock in every day with pride and thankfulness to be part of the team, employees who also see themselves long-term or even retiring with your company.  But instead, because of our retention epidemic, we are faced with the tiring time-consuming hiring process, the paperwork, the training and all the other factors involved in the coming and going of employees. Oftentimes we are baffled by this predicament, and instead of dwelling over it, we attempt to find solutions to retain a happy and consistent work force.

At Solid Surface Designs in Billings, Missouri, we are doing a program called Employee of the Month. This classic tactic for morale and retention consists of taking a vote from all employees on who they believe should be Employee of the Month. The employees are also asked to give an explanation as to why they voted for that employee.  Team leaders are exempt from the nomination. So, once a month after all votes have been cast, typically shortly after everyone arrives at work in the morning, before installers depart for the day, we get all the employees and supervisors together in a group and announce who got the most nominations. The person with the most votes receives a cash reward. We also announce how many votes they received that month and what their fellow employees had to say about them. At the end of the day, the Employee of the Month also gets recognition on our social media platform and gets their picture posted until the next Employee of the Month is determined.

This is beneficial because it gives employees a voice in the company. Employees also realize they are getting occasionally evaluated by their supervisors and by their fellow employees. We have found that this dynamic increased overall productivity. Employees also get an inclusive, company-wide event to look forward to. The event can become a productive casual topic amongst employees and hopefully snowballs to an increase in employee retention.     

With Employee of the Month strategy in motion, Solid Surface Designs also does a quarterly “Meet Our Team” newsletter that gets posted in various places around the shop and offices. 

The newsletter is just a single, one-sided, black-and-white piece of paper that features a certain department being showcased.

It talks about current happenings, new equipment, and some details about a few employees from the selected department. 

The newsletter also provides a “New Hire” section to introduce any new team members. We encourage our already-active employees to stop and welcome our new staff. We also have an employee anniversaries section for each quarter, along with a birthday section for employees. 

While we are on the topic of birthdays, Solid Surface Designs is no stranger to the infamous “Happy Birthday” song, usually organized and instigated by me. Word will get around the company on the day of our birthday girl or boy, and we organize the “Happy Birthday” song with as many employees as possible, reaching up to 20 or more employees and friends. We have witnessed all sorts of reactions from embarrassed to the extent of running and hiding or just sitting there and taking the birthday song assault like a champ. Of course, after the song we all laugh and set back to work. It has been an ongoing tradition for three years now. Not even the CEO is safe. I think I can speak for the company by saying that it is a highlight of working for a company that has a tight-knit, family-like vibe. 

I am truly grateful for falling into the stone industry by chance, with zero knowledge of product and experience with the product prior to my first day on the job. I learned, adapted, and now consider it my home away from home with my second family. We have our ups and downs, our hardships, but we have each other and I am forever grateful. This one is for you, Solid Surface Design! Let’s go, team!

Codiak San Herrell is a native of Aurora, Missouri. He is Warehouse Supervisor with Solid Surface Designs, where he serves on their safety and LEAN committee. Codiak is CPR / AED certified and currently working on other certifications.