AccuTrans New Orleans Top Workplaces 2017

AccuTrans was voted one of the best workplaces in the Greater New Orleans area. For over twenty years, AccuTrans has worked along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and it’s adjoining rivers as Tankermen and Quality Assurance Technicians. (Photo by Brett Duke, | The Times-Picayune)

How Past New Orleans Top Workplaces Show Appreciation for Employees

Every year for the past three years, | The Times-Picayune has partnered with Energage to identify and celebrate the best workplaces in New Orleans.

These companies go above and beyond to make their employees feel appreciated. Leaders at Top Workplaces understand that employees spend a significant portion of their daily life at work, and endeavor to make it special.

Here are a few ways that past winners of New Orleans Top Workplaces have brightened up the workday for their employees:

By providing workplace wellness

At Laitram, LLC, company leadership became aware of an increase in healthcare costs from employees. Rather than reduce benefits, Laitram established an on-site medical clinic. The clinic helps employees manage their health, including potentially chronic illnesses. Laitram also added a fitness center.

“We try to provide our employees with the resources to be healthy because, I think we all recognize that if we’re more healthy, we’re more productive and hopefully are going to be happier individuals,” Laitram human resources director Franck LaBiche said. The resources Laitram provides, LaBiche says, correlates to its work culture successes, such as its 50 percent employee referral rate for new hires.

Laitram New Orleans Top Workplace 2017

Laitram is a vibrant, forward-thinking company with an intense commitment to innovation, integrity, and continuous improvement throughout its four operating divisions – Laitram Machinery, Intralox, Lapeyre Stair and Laitram Machine Shop, located on Laitram Lane in Harahan, La. Thursday, May 11, 2017. (Photo by David Grunfeld, | The Times-Picayune)

With extras like Happy Birthday serenades and fishing trips

Each employee at Kenner-based company AccuTrans gets a special surprise on their birthday: a serenade of Happy Birthday from company president and CEO, Gary Osorno. He also is known to distribute tickets to New Orleans Saints games, recognize employee anniversaries, and regularly seeks feedback and new ideas from staff at all levels of the company.

Leadership at AccuTrans recognizes that many of the employees spend the majority of their time in the field, and the extra recognition fosters a sense of community. An office outfitted with a marine training center, billiards room, and relaxation room provides a great home base for AccuTrans workers. Company outings that encourage family involvement, such as fishing trips, laser tag and crawfish boils, let employees know the company cares not just about its workers, but about their families, too.

“Gary treats everybody here like part of his family,” said James Hannah, 56, a tankerman at AccuTrans for 16 years. “It’s the most positive, family-oriented workplace you’ll ever see.”

AccuTrans New Orleans Top Workplaces 2017

AccuTrans employee, Chris Carter, right, talks with Gary Osorno, President & CEO of AccuTrans, in Kenner on Wednesday, April 25, 2015. AccuTrans was voted one of the best workplaces in the Greater New Orleans area. For over twenty years, AccuTrans has worked along the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and it’s adjoining rivers as Tankermen and Quality Assurance Technicians. (Photo by Brett Duke, | The Times-Picayune)

With opportunities for personal and professional growth

At regional assisted living services company Schonberg Care, the core of its focus is caring for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and cognitive impairment, This focus on memory care makes them unique in their industry, and it requires special knowledge and skills for the caregivers employed. Leaders at Schonberg Care have made it a point to ensure all of their caregivers are particularly equipped to care for these patient populations, providing memory care training for each employee.

The company also funds continuing education for staff on new research about Alzheimer’s, creativity in long-term care, and other relevant areas of training. Additionally, Schonberg Care supports and encourages its workers to pursue higher education, with potential for growth in the company.

For caregiver-based business Home Instead Senior Care, continuing education and job training is also a significant focus in employee development. But the company also spends time targeting personal development, with regular gatherings that focus on employee needs such as yoga classes or bringing in personal stylists to discuss self-image.

“I wanted a family atmosphere, professional yet relaxed, quality of care being at the center,” owner Lisa Rabito said.

By offering favorable compensation in competitive fields

The restaurant industry is known for a troublesome turnover rate, with The National Restaurant Association reporting a turnover rate of more than 70 percent in 2016. Its competitive atmosphere can create extra turnover costs for employers and instability among workers.

Leadership at Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts, one of the largest restaurant groups in New Orleans, mitigates this problem by providing better wages to retain its employees. But retention isn’t the lone reason the group provides its nearly 1,000 employees with highly competitive pay.

Creole Cuisine recognizes that many among its staff are concerned with how to pay their bills. “When you take some of those anxieties away, people think better,” Zeid Ammari, COO, said. “They’re relaxed. They perform better, no doubt.”

For all of these past New Orleans Top Workplaces winners, the key to employee appreciation is pinpointing what their employees want, as well as providing what they need, to feel supported. Going the extra mile isn’t just a cliché for leaders of these companies; it’s a standard. That’s why many of our New Orleans Top Workplaces nominees continue to appear as winners.

Does your company go the extra mile to appreciate and support its employees? Click here to nominate your company for 2018 New Orleans Top Workplaces.