Standouts Among Small-Medium Employers

Alabama Credit Union

From Tuscaloosa and with offices and ATMs throughout the top half of the state, ACU’s mission is clear. “Our objective is to enhance the financial futures of our member-owners through customized financial products and advice, ” says company Marketing Manager Kelley J. Porter. “Our goals are accomplished by delivering exceptional personal service through knowledgeable employees.”

But the Alabama Credit Union doesn’t just train knowledgeable employees; it develops talents, every Wednesday morning. “Wednesday morning sessions are our training development times, ” notes Porter. “It includes dedicated classes and discussion for employees to hone skills and take advantage of career opportunities.” ACU has doubled its workforce in five years. As the company grows, so do job advancement opportunities.

Other innovations include high performance teams. Employees – minus senior management – are assigned important tasks, not busy work, and charged with delivering recommendations for action.

Company news, policy updates and goals are communicated weekly through a newsletter and staff-produced video, viewed by all employees.  ACU’s benefit package typically draws the highest ratings on internal employee surveys. — EB

Premiere Bank of the South

True to its name, Premiere Bank of the South premiered two new offices within the past year. They now have nine, adhering to the company’s 1987 startup purpose: “To provide the finest products and outstanding service to all those in the community.”

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To make it happen, the Cullman-based financial center believes quality service derives from quality employees. They bank on it.

“We run a cordial atmosphere here, ” notes Executive Vice President Rusty Payne. “We are bankers who share camaraderie in a safe, comfortable work environment.” Payne adds that Premiere Bank encourages new ideas and when employees share them, management listens.

As for worker advancement: “We are continuing to grow, ” Payne says, citing the two recent expansions. “With growth comes opportunity. If you work for us and you can do the job, want it and there’s an opening, it’s yours.”

Premiere Bank emphasizes continuous on-the-job training. The company underscores cross-training over multiple job positions. Intense training and a demand for excellence are mixed with a family atmosphere, even applied to business meetings. “We keep communications open to all employees, ” says Payne. “Meetings are casual and as much as possible, enjoyable.” — EB

Hartmann, Blackmon & Kilgore PC

For the past two years, Hartmann, Blackmon & Kilgore PC has been selected as one of the best companies to work for in Alabama. According to Dennis Sherrin, doing the survey helps give management fresh ideas on how to improve.

“We love the survey, ” Sherrin says. “It gives us so much feedback.”

The CPA and consulting firm has four offices in southwest Alabama with 48 employees. Clients are all over the United States and Caribbean. Senior partner Xavier Hartman credits the staff with the success of the firm. One person can’t do it all so each member plays an important part. Leadership makes a point to be genuine with the staff and rise to the challenges that are presented.

Formed in 1990, Hartmann, Blackmon & Kilgore has been working to develop the personnel to be the next generation of leaders. The company culture rests on giving great service to clients and treating staff with respect. Part of the training for staff is to develop skills outside of the technical, including participation in P3 Leadership Academy.

“We care, ” Sherrin says. “We can’t do what we do without our people. We’ve put together a great staff.” — LS

JamisonMoneyFarmer PC

In a happy irony, employees of one of the state’s largest accounting firms are more than a number.

Carl C. Jamison founded the company in 1920. Upon Jamison’s death, the company was passed to son, William. Today, based in Tuscaloosa with a 90-member team, the full-service accounting, tax and consulting service is the largest accounting firm in West Alabama.

Family-style traditions continue. “It is a good family to be in, ” says Managing Shareholder Bryan Chandler. “If you’re in a good family, you’re halfway home.”

Each worker is assigned a mentor, who encourages, advises and counsels as needed. “We aggressively seek employee feedback and input, ” adds Chandler. “Our people work long hours during tax season and we appreciate it.”

In addition to excellent benefits, JMF offers appreciated company perks like a professionally staffed Saturday daycare during tax season.

Employee communication is vital, and Chandler notes that a company is nothing without good employees who are well informed and take ownership of company issues. JMF seeks the best and treats them as such.

As for advancement, company policy is straightforward — if you can do the job, you’ve got it. Continuous learning programs such as webinars, in-house coaching and internal and external training are available to all employees. “We don’t just promise a work-life balance, ” Chandler says. “We deliver it.” — EB

Dunn Building Co.

Founded in 1878 and now in its fifth generation of ownership, Dunn Companies is one of the oldest in the country. Dunn Building Co. is one of seven individual companies operating under Dunn Companies.

According to Dunn Building Co. President Andrew Edwards, Dunn got into general building in the 1940s during the war. Services include design-build and general contracting in Alabama and the contiguous states. Approximately 130 employees enjoy the unique advantages of working for a small company owned by a larger one. Customers and employees know each other, and capital is available for various projects.

Ten years ago, Dunn Building Co. decided to offer benefits to field employees, including paid holidays and vacation in addition to insurance.

“This was an unusual move for the construction industry, ” Edwards says. “Those values have paid off.”

Now, in addition to health insurance, vacation and holiday pay, Dunn Building Co. shares the cost of work shirts for employees. They also host two company-wide annual events, a family day in the spring and a holiday luncheon. The holiday luncheon includes the announcement of safety awards, service awards and the Dunn Core Values award.

When someone goes to work for Dunn, they know they have a good, safe place to work and earn a living to support their families, Edwards says. — LS

MetLife Relay Team

The MetLife team readies for the Relay for Life.

MetLife Financial Group of the South

More than 70 million clients around the world use MetLife to help with their financial futures, and MetLife Financial Group of the South is happy to serve more than 40, 000 of those households here in Alabama. The 65 professionals in the Alabama office provide personalized financial strategies to families and businesses.

While helping people plan for the future, MetLife employees enjoy flex time schedules, benefits including medical, dental and prescription, and multiple retirement packages. MetLife matches up to 4 percent of the employees’ 401k contributions, and pension plans are also offered.  In addition to competitive compensation, employees receive reimbursement for tuition and training for career development. Top performances are also rewarded throughout the firm.

An internal site allows employees to find out about open positions within the company. Employees are encouraged to attend conferences and training and apply for jobs to move up within the company.

“Employees have the opportunity to pursue and achieve goals in their professional development through our local training program, ” says Marketing Director Susan Miller. “All this provides a superior workplace environment.” — LS

text by Emmett Burnett and Laura Stakelum

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