January 16, 2018

Florida's Best Companies to Work For

Holding on to Good Employees

Among all family-friendly policies, flexibility is the most important.

Cynthia Barnett | 8/1/2009

“I come in. I stay very focused. I do what I need to do, and I get my list checked off every day,” says Melissa Brannon on how she manages to be the top-producing employee at Hire Methods while working only 32 hours a week from home. “My children take precedent, and they give me that much more of a reason to work as hard as I can for this company that’s allowed me so much flexibility.” [Photo: Kelly LaDuke]

The top-producing employee at Hire Methods (No. 13 Small) recruiting agency in Jacksonville doesn’t come in the earliest, stay the latest or sit hunched over her laptop all day.

In fact, Melissa Brannon spends more time with her daughters, Payton, 5, and Paige, 2, than she does at the office.

After Payton was born, the “major factor” in Brannon’s decision to take her position at Hire Methods was a flexible work schedule. She works 32 hours a week, “pretty much whenever it’s convenient for her life,” says company co-owner Clint Drawdy, “and she is our top earner.”

Such flexibility is still the exception rather than the rule, however. “Most companies in my field don’t consider you a good recruiter unless you work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,” says Brannon. But of all the family-friendly policies and perks companies can offer, flexibility is the most important, say managers and employees at Florida’s best places to work.

At CH2M HILL (No. 10 Large), a global engineering firm with 26,000 employees, improvements in online timekeeping practices have greatly increased the use of flextime, which allows flexible starting and stopping times during the regular workweek. CH2M HILL, whose Florida headquarters is in Orlando, also offers compressed workweeks that can be scheduled as four, 10-hour days each week or eight, nine-hour days and one eight-hour day every two weeks, as well as telecommuting for some employees who work all or part of their scheduled hours away from the office.

Telecommuting work arrangements also help firms keep productive employees who have to move because of a spouse’s job or other issue, says Ben Doerr Jr., managing partner at Gainesville-based James Moore & Co. CPA firm (No. 32 Midsized). Several accountants who left Gainesville years ago still work full-time for the company thanks to investments in technology that make it an entirely virtual office whose products are available to its accountants and their clients via remote access.

With more than 70% of America’s children being raised by two working parents or a single working parent, “flexibility and freedom is one of the most important things you can give employees who are parents,” says David Miller, CEO of Brightway Insurance in Jacksonville (No. 7 Small). “The school play or the children’s doctor appointments shouldn’t become a source of stress.”

The payoff for Miller? “We don’t lose people,” he says. “And it’s a whole lot easier when you’re growing a business to not have to replace good people.”

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