Company: LECMPA, Southfield, MI USA
Nomination Category: Employer of the Year - Non-Profit or Government Organizations
Employer of the Year Essay:
The sole business of the non-profit, member-owned LECMPA is indemnifying its members for wage loss due to discipline. It’s nearly impossible to work at most union transportation jobs without violating work rules and, when that happens, employees immediately lose their wages even during an investigation. This can devastate workers and their families. LECMPA employees know this, so they evaluate individual claims very quickly, based on deep industry knowledge and respect for the urgency needed. The workforce is dedicated to this mission.
The LECMPA’s benefits package is much richer than expected given its small size (11 employees). It offers all core/basic benefits plus extras typically offered only by large organizations. Employees are not expected to pay any out-of-pocket expenses other than co-pays. Any deductibles are reimbursed through an HSA bonus.
The LECMPA treats employees as family and, as a result, employees are highly engaged. All employees participate in critical business planning and decision-making through daily communication and regular all-hands meetings.
The company recently developed new Guiding Principles (attached) and introduced them to its workforce and members in March 2017. Employees all had input into the principles which are designed to further an even more open, frank and honest workplace and business.
LECMPA employees are encouraged to participate actively in education and networking events in order to stay on top of new industry developments. Training and educational courses are reimbursed after successful completion. The company also helps people obtain professional licensing and other continuing education.
Communication, recognition and teamwork are critical components of the LECMPA culture. When the company leaders want to announce something to the workforce, they invite employees to the public area of the workplace for a quick “stand-up meeting,” an announcement and discussion session with active Q&A. When there is a need to memoralize something in writing (such as a policy change, industry news, or similar item), employees utilize the company’s central “sticky board.”
The company supports diversity, embracing not only a formal EEO philosophy but a broader culture that encourages and fosters openness toward employees and members of various backgrounds.
The company offers many programs that support work-life balance, and it’s always considering new options. Today, employees can choose to work a variety of schedules based on individual needs. Flextime is available to all, and utilized by more than 25% of the workforce. A large percentage of employees also work a compressed work week, where they have every other Friday off after working small amounts of extra time the other nine days of a two-week period; this is used especially during the summer so employees can enjoy additional hours of daylight. Others choose to work half days on Fridays by, again, working small amounts of extra time the other days during a given time period. Compressed work-week schedules can be used anytime except the last six weeks of the calendar year. Employees have “office buddies” who coordinate coverage to ensure all functions are always manned. Workforce flexibility is paramount at LECMPA, and this has contributed to the high retention rates and very long tenures of the workforce.
Volunteering and community support activities are encouraged. The LECMPA contributes annually to union-sponsored safety and education initiatives, as well as fundraisers for members and families in need. Several LECMPA employees, including the president, are involved in adopting rescue dogs. The president has been active for many years with the Detroit Historical Society (DHS), currently serving her second term on its Board of Trustees. She gets great satisfaction in supporting Detroit’s rebirth.
The workforce metrics speak volumes about worker satisfaction: with an average tenure of 20 years and virtually zero absenteeism, the LECMPA is a clearly a place where employees love to work and don’t want to leave!
Employer of the Year Summary
1. Developed and introduced Guiding Principles to the workforce. These principles supplement the company’s mission and drive how the company treats its members and each other.
2. Received industry recognition and several awards for its culture, including being named one of SE Michigan’s 101 Best & Brightest Employers for the third year in a row.
3. Provided flextime, which is used by more than a quarter of the workforce.
4. Allowed compressed work-week schedules – so employees can enjoy longer weekends by shifting Friday hours to earlier weekdays.
5. Achieved an average claims turnaround time of 3 days.
6. Provided zero wait times on the customer service call line during business hours.
7. Provided new lower-cost benefits packages to both of its major risk groups.
8. Provided health care coverage that did not require employees to pay any out-of-pocket expenses other than co-pays.
9. Achieved and maintained average tenure of 20 years.