Catering Company Takes the Cake
Footers Catering named the winner in the annual roundup of Best Small Companies to Work For
Culture defines 2018's Best Small Companies to Work For in Colorado. These four companies – one winner and three finalists – employ anywhere between 40- and 99-person teams, and run the gamut from engineering to technology and human resources. Why are they so fantastic to work for – you might ask. Read on to find out.
The second-generation family-owned catering and event planning company is all about MIBE: “Make it better every day,” a key part of the company’s mission statement.
“Culture is about so much more than perks and benefits,” CEO Anthony Lambatos says. “For us, it’s a committed group of people doing awesome work together and being intentional about creating a great place to do that work. It definitely helps that we get to be part of some of the most special days in people’s lives, and our team takes tremendous pride in creating exceptional experiences for our clients and their guests because they understand how their individual work impacts the final product we deliver.”
The company, which caters more than 600 wedding, social celebrations, charitable galas and corporate events annually, creates multiple paths for advancement to help attract and retain the most talented people. To encourage growth, Footers allocates funds to all managers for continuing education. With support from Footers’ owners, managers have traveled out-of-state to shadow industry heroes; joined nonprofit boards; completed specialized certificate programs; and much more.
After a company survey revealed a desire among employees to travel more, the Footers Annual Vacation was born, with recent trips to Mexico and a California/Mexico cruise. After five years with Footers, managers receive an all-expenses-paid “learning journey” centered around a culinary experience and joined by CEO Lambatos and his wife, April.
“Listen to your employees,” Lambatos says. “Simply putting a ping-pong table in the break room doesn’t make you a great place to work — especially if no one in your office plays ping-pong. When you stop and ask your team for their opinions, you are also giving them an opportunity to contribute in a meaningful way and grow when you act on those suggestions.”
Bringing together the right ingredients of people, talent, culture and integrity is essential to Arvada-based Pie Consulting & Engineering’s recipe to provide global solutions in forensic engineering and building science for nearly 20 years.
The company says its people make it what it is, and it strives for balance. Employees work hard and play hard together, taking company-sponsored field trips to see the Colorado Rockies or building a house with Habitat for Humanity.
From team mud runs to rock climbing lessons, Pie team members genuinely enjoy each other’s company and sharing in personal accomplishments; two employees recently summited Mt. Kilimanjaro together.
“We recognize that our company is a living organism, and that people are the core of the company,” President and CEO Paul Duncan says, adding that people are honored at the monthly Town Hall meetings for their contributions. The company holds “Enjoy the Ride” events through the year and brings together staff from its offices in Minnesota, Texas and California to Colorado for its annual meeting and Christmas party so staff can put faces to names.
Hiring smart people and allowing them to be smart through directed autonomy underpins the culture at this people-focused technology services firm, which provides outsourced IT, project services, end user training and web and application development.
Greystone believes that team members succeed by being themselves, and it rewards self-awareness with trust and freedom.
“We work hard to infuse our core values of directed autonomy, psychological safety and candor into our daily lives, and every leader strives to build meaningful connections with their team,” CEO Peter Melby says. “Once team members see our leaders walking the talk and following through, trust is earned, and that goes a long way.”
The company strives to have a positive impact on the community and its employees by encouraging volunteerism and support for nonprofits. Employees can take advantage of the Volunteer Time Off (VTO) program whether individually or through group projects.
“Fun is also a big part of it,” Melby says. “Recently, we started doing conference room games each month where regions try to beat each other at trivia and bingo.”
Other opportunities to play in the workplace include bowling, kickball league, book club, game nights, foosball and staff happy hours. Greystone is committed to employee growth; its Growth at Greystone Catalog outlines a variety of paths to professional development, including company support for certifications, monthly training opportunities and technology lab access.
Everybody at land surveyor Ascent Geomatics knows that the acronym RATOW stands for “Relentlessly Accountable Team Oriented people who love to Win”— and they all know what that looks like, thanks to constant feedback and clear expectations.
“Employees desire more than the wage you are paying them: They want to be a part of something bigger,” CEO Steve Young says. “They want to be a part of something that’s successful, growing, innovative and fun. They want to be on a winning team. All our employees know where we plan to go and how we plan to get there, and it is impactful to show the results frequently as the vision becomes reality.”
Young believes it’s critical to create an environment where people feel like they have “a say” in what happens. A recent pizza-fueled interdepartmental brainstorm on retention strategies sparked ideas ranging from spot bonuses and weight loss challenges to an ice cream machine. After accomplishing nearly impossible deadlines, the Ascent team enjoys frequent Nerf gun wars, massages, monthly food trucks, company provided snacks in every breakroom, monthly happy hours and summer family picnics.