Best Places To Work competition is on
By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY - Employers and business leaders from Indian River County gathered at Riverside Theatre last week to hear how they can improve their workplace culture.
The Indian River County Best Places to Work program by Workforce Solutions held a networking breakfast and guest speaker on May 24.
Mayda Sotomayor-Kirk, CEO of Vero Beach-based Seald Sweet International, encouraged her peers to be the example of what they want from their employees.
"I worked alongside them, and I wouldn't ask them to do anything I wouldn't do," Ms. Sotomayor-Kirk said of how she helped transition the produce company from a nonprofit citrus co-op to a private, for-profit entity.
She cited her parents, political refugees from Cuba, as the ones who built a strong work ethic within her, an ethic that has taken her from an invoice-stuffer to the CEO of an international business.
"Never give up and never be afraid of failure or hard work," Ms. Sotomayor-Kirk said.
Best Places to Work is a national program developed to provide a confidential forum for local employers to participate in an evaluation of various local workplace best practices and programs, according to a press release.
Participating in the program is free for all Indian River County employers.
The standards are useful for employers to compare themselves to other area businesses of similar size, but the best use for the data collected during the process is in the human resources department, said Gerry Hoeffner, president of Personnel Dynamics Consulting Group, who developed the company evaluation tool used in the program.
The application process includes a questionnaire employers fill out with 37 different measurements of business practices. Employers answer questions about orientation, employee benefits, profit sharing, retirement programs, turnover rate, growth, training and promotions.
The answers are weighted by a computer program and the top best places to work are chosen, Mr. Hoeffner said.
Applications are due Aug. 3 and an awards luncheon will be held on Oct. 11.
Setting high standards creates an environment where every business is striving to be the best they can be, which is good for the company, the clients and the competition, Mr. Hoeffner said.
Data gathered from the application can show a business where they are doing well, and where they can improve, he said.
"It's not about perfection, it is about progression," Mr. Hoeffner said.
Melody Ipolito of Kmetz, Nuttall, Elwell, Graham, a bookkeeping, accounting and tax preparation company in Vero Beach, submitted an application last year for her company and was one of four companies highlighted in the awards ceremony.
One of the items the winners receive is a banner to display on their place of business, announcing their accolade to clients and prospective clients, Ms. Ipolito said.
Having the banner proclaiming your business as the best is excellent marketing and makes a difference in who chooses to work with the company and who seeks to employ her company, she said.
Their office is located beachside and their banner has been battered by the weather, making it difficult to be seen, but that's not going to stop anything, she said.
"We're getting a new sign," Ms. Ipolito said, drawing laughs and applause from the crowd.
For more information about the program, visit www.yourworkforcesolutions.com/employers/irbptw.