Cherry Lake is honored to be ranked as one of the “2016 Best Places to Work in Central Florida” by the Orlando Business Journal. The ranking is based on results of an employee engagement survey administered by Quantum Market Research in May 2016. Over 150 Cherry Lake employees were surveyed with questions gauging everything from “feeling valued” and “team effectiveness” to “work engagement” and “trust in senior leaders.” The process is unique because it captures the voice of the employees, who ultimately determined the ranking of Cherry Lake on the list amongst Central Florida’s most progressive employers. Cherry Lake was listed as 12th Best Place To Work in Central Florida in the Large Company category (100-249 local employees).
“We aim to create a workplace that attracts and retains the best people, where work is exciting, energizing, and uplifting,” says Chloe Gentry, Director of Organizational Development, “By giving employees the freedom to take risks, make decisions and contribute in their own unique way to the company’s purpose, we pursue our goal of a work environment where employees can grow professionally and personally.“
Gain some insights into the Cherry Lake culture by checking out the Q&A Cherry Lake had with Orlando Business Journal regarding its nomination:
Top two reasons this is a great place to work:
1. Our world needs trees, today, tomorrow and for hundreds of years to come.
2. We provide a family atmosphere in a professional setting.
Funniest or most interesting piece of office decor on your walls or cubicles?
Our floor to ceiling, half white board, half cork board appreciation wall with magnets and fun sayings where employees can post photos, write words of encouragement, share letters of recommendation, etc. It starts fresh every week and is run by employees – you never know where they will take it from one week to the next.
Your company’s No. 1 employee perk?
Our 1,800 acre tree farm offers an office view unlike any other, plus the added bonus of highly oxygenated air!
Your firm’s newest perk?
Employees are now given the option of standing desks.
How does being a Best Place to Work affect your bottom line?
Engaged and happy employees are more productive, innovative and creative. They play an important role in the development of our brand: their passions, their values, their happiness shape our customer’s experience and loyalty. It also helps us recruit and retain employees — we have multiple 20+ tenureships, with 10-12 years being quite common.
Your most anticipated team-building activity?
Our annual Family Fiesta where employees and their families get together to climb trees, bang on drums, eat food, and play soccer – all in the name of having fun as one big family.
One thing you won’t tolerate in the workplace?
Being stagnant. We have a saying around here – if it isn’t broken, break it and make it better.
Your advice for a company looking to create a better workplace?
Be authentic and let the changes come from within the organization. Welcome people to be their whole selves to bring their personal and professional passions with them to work.
Is your company hiring? If so, how many new jobs this year?
Yes! We are expecting to hire about 35 more Cherry Lakers in 2016.
Key to selecting great employees who fit your culture?
We hire not just on technical skills but also on a culture fit and alignment of values. We’re vocal about our purpose and why our company exists beyond making a profit. We want to recruit employees who want to be part of the journey.
How does employee development relate to retention?
People want to make a contribution, grow and be purposeful. By developing employees, we help them achieve their potential. By giving employees the freedom to take risks, make decisions, and contribute in their own unique way to the company’s purpose, we recognize their intrinsic value and creativity as human beings. This creates an exciting and fulfilling work environment where employees can grow professionally and personally.
What most influences company culture?
We’re heavily influenced by the evolutionary purpose of the company beyond its product and service.
How important are rewards and recognition programs, and how do you measure ROI on them?
When it comes to employee rewards and recognition, the most powerful forms of appreciation are informal, spontaneous, sincere, and specific. By fostering a culture where employees are appreciated and recognized by both supervisors and peers we create many emotional connections throughout the course of the year. We have structured programs including company events like the Family Fiesta and the Employee Appreciation Breakfast, the annual CEO Value-Awards, and routine raffles and giveaways. These programs help to create the culture, but the greatest impact comes from the informal daily appreciation that the culture enables. As far as ROI, we don’t bother to measure it because the impact is so obvious. Engaged, happy employees create value that is 10X or more that of disengaged employees.
Cherry Lake is grateful to all the employees who helped nominate us and contributed their time completing the survey. It reinforces the company’s belief that employees are it’s greatest asset, and that together, they can make a difference in the world for generations to come.
The Orlando Business Journal: Central Florida’s Best Places to Work – Large Category
The Orlando Business Journal: 2016 Best Places to Work – Cherry Lake Tree Farm