What employees think

  • Article by: SARAH GORVIN , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 19, 2011 - 11:55 AM

Employees from the top 100 companies talk about their relationships with their companies.

Jawad Behsudi, 27 Direct Support Professional, Hammer Residencies, Inc.

Photo: Glen Stubbe, Star Tribune

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Jawad Behsudi, 27, Direct support professional, Hammer Residences Inc. (home care)

Tenure: 5 years

"The reason I've stayed with this company is the relationship I have with my co-workers and also my boss. I always feel welcome when I'm there. Even with the CEO of the company, I feel like he's very warm; he encourages creativity [from] whoever has new ideas.

"The atmosphere is very friendly. Even though we are at work, we feel very comfortable and if you make any mistakes, we're not blamed right away; we learn from each other. There's great communication if something goes wrong. I don't feel judged. It's a teamwork effort. I just love that."

Jodi Cruz, 40, Manager of corporate tech, Securian Financial Group Inc.

Tenure: 20 years

"We have wonderful support in terms of technology, internal services and training opportunities so you can develop your skills. Our CEO is a brilliant visionary, very strategic, and his philosophy and goals trickle down throughout the organization. The work that we do every day has a direct impact on the lives of others.

Securian is very involved with community outreach. Over the years, I've participated in the Multicultural Excellence Program through the St. Paul schools. There are opportunities to participate with Habitat for Humanity, the United Way. Those things give tremendous life balance. And there [are] different community groups. It's not uncommon over any given lunch hour for there to be a knitting club or a Bible study."

Dean Ellingson, 53, Supervisor of guest services, Minnesota Twins

Tenure: 18 years

"There's a common purpose for the fans and the staff. Everyone has a passion for baseball and a passion for the Twins in particular. Even though we're not buying a ticket, we're there for the same reason the fans are and that's really to enjoy the baseball environment and have a good time.

"I grew up watching the Twins. To enjoy them on the field and then to connect myself with the team in a way other than just watching them on the field is pretty fabulous. The Twins are an amazing organization regarding creating a sense of community in their staff. After a while, it's not about money anymore. It's about the environment and being around people that have in their nature the tendency to assist and help. It's an energizing place to be."

George Glover, Guest services, Minneapolis Marriott City Center

Tenure: 22 years

"For me, it's the people that I work with: from the back of the house to the front of the house, anyone from the dishwashers, front desk, restaurant people. I got a great general manager at the hotel [and] an awesome boss. That's what makes it great.

"My favorite part is that it changes every day. It's not just the customers, it's people on the street. Because we're located right next to the City Center, we've got people coming in and out of that building. Our property is considered a fun property; people are upbeat. I love it there. It's one of the best jobs I've had."

Erik Hinkie, 39, Chief information officer, Holmes Corp. (professional services)

Tenure: 17 years

"I've been with Holmes ever since I've been in college. And the reason for that is that I haven't had a single day in 17 years that I've been bored. There's always new things to be learned. There's always opportunities to grow, laterally in your position and certainly vertically as well. The opportunities are what make it dynamic and engaging and what keeps a lot of people around.

"I started in the company as a salesperson and then moved into an account management position and now am the chief information officer. I'm also involved in international business development because it's a personal interest of mine and the company allows me to learn and to move in [other] areas. That benefits me, keeps me intellectually engaged and, at the same time, benefits the company."

Jim Kerntz, 54, Project manager, Tiller Corp. (construction)

Tenure: 17 years

"Safety is No. 1 for the employees and the customers. That is what we strive for: that we do have a safe place to work at all times. Any problems that are brought up are addressed right away and taken care of. [Other places I've worked at were more concerned with] production and tonnage and getting the job done and just get crushing right away.

"This is a very employee-friendly company. I enjoy working here. I'm from up on the Iron Range; I'm a long ways from home, but I wouldn't consider working anyplace other than here. They try and improve everything every year to make it a better place to work. They have safety awards. They give an incentive to do a better job and a safer job.''

Kathy McPherson, 52, Caregiver, Right at Home

Tenure: 2 years

"The people you work with are fascinating: the elderly, disabled, people who are unable to do their own grocery shopping or cleaning. [I] run errands with them. For the most part, you are on your own, visiting your various clients throughout the day. There's such a variety and such an interesting set of clients. The work is so rewarding.

"My direct supervisor has been wonderful to work with. I've heard stories of other places maybe not being so great and not being there for their staff or scheduling problems, but we just don't run into that at all. In terms of interacting with people in the office, there's always somebody there who can answer a question if I need it. It's the support of the office staff that stands out the most. But everything stands out.''

Brandon Moser, 30, Programmer / analyst, Denali Marketing

Tenure: 1 year

"The management respects their employees. They treat everyone equally, from management down. We don't have departments. We have a very open environment; it's completely collaborative. It allows everyone to interact very easily and efficiently. We don't think of people as different things. Everyone just works together.

"There's always appreciation for jobs well done. There's a lot of recognition. It keeps people on a positive note. I don't know anybody that works here that doesn't like their job.''

Neal Oestreich, 47, Clinical research manager, VitreoRetinal Surgery

Tenure: 22 years

"It starts with the physicians and the administration. They have created a safe, respectful environment for us to work [in]. They've got a great benefits package: profit-sharing to bonuses to personal and vacation time, providing continuing education for all the certified staff and getting new employees that come into our office that are uncertified, providing certification for them.

"My favorite part is working with the physicians and then dealing with the patients. Patients actually come in and they quite often will need injections inside their eyes. [The physicians] have created a great environment that patients actually enjoy coming into our office and enjoy getting an injection inside their eyes, as funny as that sounds.''

Cheryl Olmscheid, 54, Loan Officer, Residential Mortgage Group

Tenure: 15 years

"It's a great place to work. It doesn't boil down to one specific thing; it's a combination of all of it that makes it feel so comfortable: the support that you get, the programs that we have, the management, the entire personnel. It's almost working for a family business, although no one here is related.

"Everyone just is willing to help you at any time with anything. They always provide great support in any venture that you're wanting to enter into.

"This is the type of business where you get calls and offers all the time [to work someplace else], and I just can't see myself working anywhere other than this.''

Scott Smith, 37, Realtor, Keller Williams Realty

Tenure: 7 years

"Keller Williams is really a training and consulting company. Not only from a professional growth standpoint, also on a personal growth standpoint. I've experienced a lot of opportunities [here], learning about becoming a better person and a better professional.

"The training, the people that we get to work side by side with, and the resources that are available are amazing. It's a blast. Everyone is positive. There's a lot of great energy around. Historically, real estate offices are very competitive. Keller Williams' culture is more about sharing.

"Keller Williams is the second-best business decision for me. The first was getting into real estate. The second was moving to Keller Williams.''

Jessica Stapf, 35, Advanced designer, Coles Salon

Tenure: 15 years

"After 15 years, you feel a part of something that is more than just a workplace. It's a place that you go to be surrounded by people that care about you and you get to care about other people. It's very family-oriented, meaning we're like a big family.

"They truly want you to be as successful as you can be. You're not just a number or just a person. It makes it a lot easier going to work every day and keeps it enjoyable.''

Murray Williams, 51, Store team leader, Target Corp.

Tenure: 22 years

"Target is really people-based. We spend a ton of time on people development and a lot of time in getting people into the right places based on their strengths. One of the things I really like about my job is I have a lot of autonomy to lead and inspire my team in ways that are unique. Not only do I have the autonomy to do [that], but I'm encouraged to do that. That's a cool thing.

"I feel appreciated every day. When I interviewed for the job, I interviewed with Jim, the district manager. It wasn't Mr. This Person or Mr. That Person. It was Jim. We're all the same, we just have different jobs. We're all encouraged to provide input. It's a real-young-listen-to-the-feedback-and-adjust kind of environment. It's pretty invigorating, actually. If I won the lottery today, I wouldn't quit.''

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