Creating a great place to work

Many companies say they want to be recognized and respected as a great place to work. Far fewer live up to that lofty standard, for many different reasons. It’s easy to say, but hard to do.
What do some of those great employers have in common? If you think, “A good pay and benefits package,” you’re only scratching the surface. Great employers also actively listen to their employees and ask for feedback, then respond appropriately. They invest in them. They leverage their workforce’s years of been-there-done-that experience into processes that best serve customers – and drive profits.

At J.M. Keckler, Inc., we seek to empower our 24 mostly sales-and service-based employees and make them proud of where they have chosen to work. Since 1973, we have created a culture and environment in which our employees can thrive through ongoing training, new opportunities and challenges, and fair compensation and benefits – all while working for the premier supplier of cutting-edge medical equipment sales, service and technology solutions in the acute care Industry in Northern California and Nevada.

We are proud that the average employee has been with Keckler for more than 10 years. We believe their experience and industry knowledge sets our company apart from the competition.
During the pandemic, our employees were considered “essential workers” and have logged thousands of hours repairing and maintaining the vital life-saving equipment found in nearly every hospital in Northern California. When the virus touched us, we covered for team members until they were better. Most importantly, while other businesses struggled to maintain staffing, not a single Keckler employee was laid off.
“The No. 1 strength of our JMK team is the way we respond to time-sensitive, complicated and adverse business situations,” said CEO Mike Keckler. “COVID -19 has presented our greatest challenge ever. The way our team has responded, to a person, is the greatest example we can cite of dedication and commitment in our half-century of business.”

Do you recognize yourself in us?

While recruiting, hiring, and retaining people who embrace and carry out our customer-centric philosophy is the foundation of Keckler’s success, we also aspire to do business with like-minded organizations who share our principals and devotion to sound, ethical business practices and treating employees right. We believe our support of such companies helps create a virtuous circle of honesty, integrity and respect. And this is our commitment to and foundation for wanting to create and maintain a great place to work.
Success is not guaranteed. Even a business with a nearly 50-year track record like Keckler must continually adapt and find the resolve to essentially embark on a renewal mission. That’s one reason that over the past few months, our management team and employees have begun a fresh dialog about what it means to be a great place to work given the company’s operating history and current reality.

This blog – and those that follow – is intended to share our narrative as we take a proactive and perhaps predictive approach to maintaining a positive, supportive work environment. Future blogs will touch on the impact that it’s having on our employees, customers, suppliers and even lenders.

Don’t miss this moment of change

It is our belief that we are at a unique time in history; perhaps, by many measures, an inflection point for transformative change not seen in decades. There are many important factors at play:
  • The impact of technology
  • The evolving concepts of work, compensation and education
  • The balance between careers and family or leisure time
  • The prevalence of legal drugs and alcohol use
  • Even the way society views serious mental and physical health issues
All these factors as they are today and as they will shift into the future will have a dramatic impact on every operating business. And the shifts explained by our human nature are likely to proceed at a pace never seen in our global sphere of business.
COVID is not the source of these changes; rather, the pandemic has undeniably cast a bright light on workplace shifts already unfolding and perhaps bursting at the seams. Though we are just one small company in Central California, we believe our experience and the examples we set in collaborating with our employees to create a great place to work can inform – and possibly even inspire — other businesses to make even better choices in their own workplace cultures.
Not convinced? Here’s one more tangible reason why any business owner should want to create a “great place to work” environment. According to multiple national surveys by human resource experts, the average open position takes about seven weeks to fill and has a financial impact of $5,000 to $25,000 because of recruiting and lost productivity. Higher-level positions costs soar even higher within an organization. Constant turnover at all levels of the company, exhaustive recruitment and continuous training is bad for the soul of any business.