Among the Best Places to Work in Wichita | Greteman Group Q&A

Among the Best Places to Work in Wichita

Five hundred people celebrated 40 area companies recently at the Wichita Business Journal’s 2017 Best Places to Work in Wichita competition. Greteman Group was a finalist. Winners were selected through employee survey responses. You can read about the event and view the video here.

Sonia Greteman walked to the stage to “Call Me,” by Blondie. The first 15 seconds are wicked disco chick rock, so it speaks to our wicked female-empowered agency. It’s cool, sophisticated and fun. And it has a call to action. Call me.

The WBJ’s tab ran a portion of a Q&A provided by each company. Here’s Greteman Group’s in full:

Besides normal pay and benefits what other types of rewards are used to recognize employees?
We reward our people with competitive pay, raises, opportunities to advance, and annual performance bonuses. We’ve tried many recognition tactics over our 28-year history. We give shout outs at our weekly all-agency swarm meetings and celebrate individual and team contributions on our extremely active social channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram). Giving our team members speaking and community participation opportunities, such as free Tallgrass passes, and chances to work on meaningful pro bono projects are a few ways we shine the spotlight on our team. We abandoned any sort of employee-of-the-week institutional program long ago. Annual performance bonuses are the primary way we reward and recognize employees’ contributions. They have worked best by far and our team really appreciates them.

What is your company’s most popular perk?
Our wellness program consistently ranks number one in team member surveys. Lunchtime aerobics and after-hours yoga provide lotion through motion. Daily Meds offer 10-minute afternoon-break meditations. Try-It Fridays introduce us to new foods. Friday Dog Days connect us with our better four-legged selves. A lactation room supports young mothers. Garden parties, Day of the Dead shrines/luncheons, and holiday soirees celebrate the seasons. Mental health, work-life balance, opportunities for bonding and solicitation are as much a part of our wellness program as helping people lower their cholesterol or kick the smoking habit.

As a small business for 28 years, we’ve seen how careers and lives can be wrecked by chronic illness, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression and more. This year, we celebrated 10 years of working with the Wichita YMCA’s corporate wellness team, and it’s making a difference. Our pocketbooks certainly feel more fit. Our health insurance premiums went down 15%, which is almost unheard of. That makes us want to kick up our heels.

Trainers come to our office at noon twice a week and lead us through muscle-building, heart-strengthening, stress-relieving exercises. And once a year, the Y’s wellness pros conduct comprehensive, individual onsite wellness assessments with anyone on our team who opts in. They say measure what matters. And what matters more than your health? Participation in our recent assessment came in at 65%, above the YMCA’s 60% corporate-wellness program average. An online portal lets team members compare their year-over-year changes and serves as a trusted resource for information and recommendations to reduce specific health risks.

Our team members appreciate the lower insurance premiums and feel good about seeing overall improvements in their health. Collectively, we ranked 78 out of a possible 100 points, which gets us a doing-well designation. Two more points and we’d be in the excellent category. You now know one of our goals for 2018.

When it comes to solutions, one size does not fit all. In addition to our noontime aerobics, we offer Wednesday-evening yoga classes and we have an exercise area with an elliptical machine, balance balls, small trampoline, small weights, even hula hoops.

We’ve offered monthly challenges to mix things up, even winning the YMCA’s Eight a Day Water Challenge some years back. It’s time to renew our efforts. To help our agency rise to that coveted excellent ranking, we’re launching some fun new initiatives.

  • Meditation Mondays 10-minute afternoon mindfulness break
  • Try-It Fridays twice a month showcasing different healthy foods and activities

We have a pocket park nearby and whenever possible, we’re encouraging team members to take their meetings outside and on the go. We think better when we’re moving. Walk and talk, baby. And breathe deep. It feels good.

We encourage team members to work reasonable hours and live a well-balanced life. We try to inspire healthy eating (no pop or junk food in our agency cupboard or Try-It Fridays foods), giving back to the community and working for good. When we’re contributing, we’re happier – and healthier.

We created a smoking cessation incentive and two (out of five) heavy smokers quit. We offer annual onsite flu clinics. We coordinate everything for the convenience of our staff. We try to make wellness hasslefree. The Y’s online portal lets team members compare their year-over-year changes.

What would others be surprised to know about your firm?
In the early ’90s, we designed one of the region’s first websites. It only had a few pages. There was little text. The navigation was so subtle finding your way around became a game. It had no SEO because Google didn’t exist. Nor did Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube. You accessed the site through painfully-slow, dial-up modems. We persevered and evolved. Today, every project we touch is digital or has a digital component. We haven’t just changed with the times. We’ve been the change. That includes responsive design, search-engine optimization, data-driven marketing, email campaigns and social-media management. We dive into analytics to see how well everything’s performing – and adjust as needed. Those first years passed in a business-generating, round-the-clock, always-thinking blur. We set a fast pace. Dashing around the office (and world), obsessing over big ideas and small details. We’re calmer now – thanks to noontime aerobics and after-hours yoga – but the zeal remains.

What information do you share with employees? And how do you share it?
We share our prospect list verbally and in a presentation deck at weekly all-agency meetings. Our team knows what opportunities might be on our radar. Our new-business team reviews financials together at monthly meetings. We keep an eye on revenue and projections. At our annual retreat, we share company financials with the full team and discuss them – how they align with our goals and what our plans are moving forward. We work to create a sense of ownership in our results – how each team member plays a vital role.

What employee training opportunities does your company pay for or subsidize?
The agency offers on-the job, no-cost training through our monthly Creative Juice Bars, weekly all-agency swarms, quarterly Lunch and Learns (sometimes with outside professionals), regular post-project debriefs and more. We support team members by paying for agency-approved professional conferences and memberships – AIGA, AdFed, AMA, PRSA, WPC, Wichita Media, Bell Buckle, Bureau of Digital Design, etc. Team members are given worktime to contribute to community and professional boards and committee memberships. We learn by doing and from working alongside other leaders.

What health insurance coverage does your company provide?
We offer health and dental insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield, short- and long-term disability, and SAR/SEP employer-matching retirement contributions. We offer a cafeteria plan, which lets team members draw from a non-taxed health fund. Equally important, we offer a robust wellness program to help team members stay healthy. This includes onsite flu shots, onsite YMCA wellness assessments and more.

When employees talk about your company, what do they brag about?
They’re proud of the work we do, the clients we serve, the longstanding relationships we build, our reputation and our support of worthy causes and organizations. Giving makes us heart happy. Our philanthropic dedication is seen through donated and volunteer services to nonprofits that has included Tallgrass Film Festival’s DOX inaugural Spotlight sponsorship, ArtAID, Rainbows United’s Fashion Passion, Big Brothers & Sisters of Sedgwick County, Final Friday, Spay Neuter Kansas, Exploration Place, Kansas Humane Society’s Woofstock, Wichita Area Council of Girl Scouts, Communities in Schools, Wichita Grand Opera, Fisch Haus, Pals Animal Rescue, Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots, Kansas Aviation Museum, Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland, Inter-Faith Ministries Operation Holiday, Sedgwick County Zoo, Wichita Radio Reading Service, Roots & Shoots/Boys & Girls Club, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Angel Flight America, Voice for a Viable Future, Wichita Aviation Festival, Women’s Sexual Assault Center, Habitat for Humanity, Youth Entrepreneurs of Kansas, Literary Resources, CityArts, Kansas Food Bank, Westar’s Project Deserve and more.

What are your best employee recruiting strategies?
Word-of-mouth and personal connections work best. Having team members reach out through face-to-face interactions or via phone, email or social media work better than any ad on Indeed.com or CareerBuilder.com. We also have success posting our positions through professional organizations such as AdFed, PRSA and AMA.

What makes your company the best place to work?
Our firm is true to who we are, which makes us the best place to work. We hire lifelong learners who find joy in their work. People with unique skills that, when combined, make us a powerhouse. When you hear, “I work at Greteman Group,” it packs a punch. Our values drive us and help us go home at the end of the day fulfilled and knowing we made a positive impact. (Listens loudly, Has your back, Takes no shortcuts, Shows grit and gusto, Imagines better ways, Gets results.)

How do you help employees reach a healthy work/life balance?
It starts at the top. President and Creative Director Sonia Greteman leads by example. She doesn’t work round the clock and doesn’t expect her team to either. Management encourages team members to lead rich, well-rounded lives – using their vacation time, tapping into PTO for a day of Tallgrass viewing (or whatever), taking advantage of flex time, valuing friend and family time, and more.

When it comes to hiring or retaining employees, what is the most important lesson you have learned?
The fit has to be right for both the agency and the team member. We’re a unique place and are not a good fit for people who just want to coast, goof off, or think good enough is good enough.

How do you promote diversity and inclusion within your company?
Our diversity – with Boomers, Millennials and Gen Xers all represented – adds to our firm’s energy, relevance and resourcefulness. Team members (and clients) can tap into the counsel of sage, seasoned veterans and the dynamism of up-and-coming 20-somethings making their mark. We welcome and respect differences in ethnicity, gender orientation, backgrounds and socioeconomic status.

How do you ensure that all employees are aligned with the company’s goals?
We develop goals together during our annual retreat and break them down to the individual level. Team member reviews include goal setting that is talked through with the supervisor. Each goal fits under the umbrella of a larger agency goal. Our five-member Traction team recently revised and updated our vision, mission and values. These were presented to the full agency verbally for input and buy in – and can be found on our recently launched website.

Aside from the BPTW competition, how do you measure employee engagement?
We issue a weekly Happiness Survey to all employees to monitor our team’s feelings about workload, support and more. We consistently receive high marks (4.65 out of 5). Supervisors are alerted if someone logs a low score, so the supervisor can address any issues quickly. Our management team reviews the results weekly. An even better reflection of team engagement and satisfaction would be our low turnover and staff longevity. People stay because they’re respected, enjoy the creative environment and beautiful workspaces, receive good compensation and benefits, and know they are heard.

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