99 Problems But A Beach Ain’t One

That may be a line from the employees at PPR Talent Management Group. With offices located on the beach (and I mean directly on the beach) in Jacksonville Beach, FL, many of the people who work at PPR can look out their office windows and tell you whether it is high or low tide, how many surfers are enjoying the waves, and if the fishing is good. They can also let you know that some people should never, ever wear a bikini and others would be great additions to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

This is not to say that employees at PPR don’t work hard for their customers, because they really do. We simply choose to have fun at the same time. PPR has been recognized as one of the best small companies to work for in America by the Great Places to Work Institute for the past nine years and hoping for that recognition again in 2013. To earn that designation, a company has to meet some pretty high standards—seeking and recognizing employee contributions, thanking people in fun and meaningful ways, and, most importantly, valuing each person for who he/she is. The beach is just an added bonus.

When employees were asked to describe PPR, the most frequently used word was “fun”. Now I don’t know about you, but I have had lots of jobs and there are none that I would even remotely come close to describing as “fun”. Not true at PPR. We have chili cook-off’s, costume parties, Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas celebrations, and even sand castle building contests on, yes, you guessed it, the beach.

We even designate a month as “Employee Appreciation Month”. Yes, I said a whole month—not just a day or even a week—a whole, entire month. During the month we have contests like “The Amazing Race” where employees are divided into teams and have to follow clues that take the teams all over the beaches area. One part of the race required two team members to swim in the surf around some buoys—another advantage of having the ocean so close.

We also have work-out sessions along the boardwalk next to the beach and can even run on the sand for lunchtime or afternoon work exercise. Focusing on health is a big thing at PPR. Exercise classes and massages are offered onsite. Over half the company participates in some form of formal exercise program.

But, lest you think that PPR only focuses on itself—nothing could be farther from the truth. PPR believes in giving back to the community. We have company-sponsored charities and have raised $15,000 to $20,000 each of the past two years for “our” charities. The charities are actually chosen by employees. Plus, employees participate in other community organizations as well.

What we have learned at PPR is that culture is an all important way of creating employee engagement. All the studies done on businesses show that engaged employees are the most productive, best customer-focused, and greatest employees to have. They work harder, strive constantly to find solutions to problems, and really want to provide great employment experiences for both clients/customers and themselves. Culture is all about providing a fabulous place to spend your working life and we do it as good as anyone around.

So…while, everyone certainly has problems as part of daily living, PPR employees can truly say, “99 problems, but a beach certainly ain’t one.” We have a great one right outside our door.

4