The Baton Rouge Business Report ranked GeoEngineers as the best large company to work for in Baton Rouge. The magazine highlights GeoEngineers’ employee wellness program, performance recognition, emphasis on safety, a relaxed and creative office culture, broad stock ownership, profit-sharing, management style, and the freedom given to every employee to grow and excel.
GeoEngineers improved its ranking on Business Report’s list from third in the large company category last year, to first place. A group of staff from the Baton Rouge office attended an award breakfast Wednesday morning to receive the award.
Workplace culture and leadership styles are highlighted in a feature article on GeoEngineers appearing in this month’s issue of Business Report. Baton Rouge employees have immediate access to and mentoring relationships with company leaders, and regularly seek guidance on professional growth and personal matters, and even spend time together casually in social environments.
GeoEngineers’ Board Chairman David Sauls, a Baton Rouge employee, admits that the approach is a bit unconventional, especially for an organization of engineers and scientists. But, he says, this type of leadership is grounded in a desire to grow genuine relationships with people, both within the company and without.
“We didn’t go to a seminar to learn this,” Sauls says. “We somehow grew up this way.”
Recently selected CEO Mike Hutchinson models this unique cultural approach with sayings like “be vulnerable,” “embrace empathy,” and “check your title at the door.”
“We’re not a commodity-based firm where we’re trying to see how many Ford cars we can get off the assembly line,” Hutchinson says. “By focusing on our culture and who we are, strategies will emerge.”
This culture is reflected in company policies including the Rock Solid health program, which promotes whole-body wellness through a number of staff initiatives throughout the year. Staff development comes through GeoUniversity, an online portal that hosts educational and training videos designed to keep staff learning and mastering their technical skills. These programs and more help attract and retain staff, but culture is more than HR programs.
“Culture is something that most people have trouble explaining. It is knowing that we are encouraged to provide innovative ideas,” says Marketing Coordinator Kylee Lewis. “It is managers who will literally jump up and down in the hallways to celebrate our hard work. Instead of defining my position and telling me what to do, [our leaders] help me develop my strengths and give me the opportunities to succeed.”
The annual Best Places to Work in Baton Rouge ranking relies on employee surveys conducted by the Best Companies Group, an independent national firm. Eligible companies were ranked based on employee feedback in eight areas: leadership and planning, corporate culture and communications, role satisfaction, work environment, relationship with supervisor, training and development resources, pay and benefits, and overall engagement.