18 Nov Access Sciences Ranked in Houston’s Best Places to Work for 2020
“Access Sciences is always looking for ways to enhance our culture and workplace into one of the top, employee-owned companies; not just in Houston, but rather across the United States. The feedback we received from our employees will assist in identifying our focus areas for the near-term and we will invite employees to join a focus group to bring ideas and solutions to the table.” – Sondra H. Ludwick, Vice President of Corporate Services
Energage’s workplace survey not only designated Access Sciences as one of the best small companies to work for in Houston, but it also revealed our company culture’s strengths and future areas of focus.
According to our employees, Access Sciences excels at having clued-in leaders and employees, expressing appreciation, encompassing strong core values, and exhibiting inter-departmental cooperation.
The company now has four areas of focus, which were determined by employees’ wants and needs expressed in the survey: (1) Training and growth, (2) Benefits, (3) Efforts to grow the company culture, and (4) Effective two-way communication.
Our Corporate Services Team has already made moves to improve in these areas, acting on our core value of Stewardship: Behaving as employee owners to grow the long-term value of our company and the health of our employee communities.
TRAINING AND GROWTH
Access Sciences recently purchased an online license to give each employee access to thousands of training courses for their own professional development. The Corporate Services Team, along with the Professional Services Team, have also begun to develop, or enhance existing, training plans for various positions throughout the company.
The Corporate Services Team rolled out a benefits survey to all employees, gaining feedback on our current programs as well as other benefit programs that may interest them. As a direct result of the received feedback, Access Sciences changed one of its healthcare plans to decrease the required annual deductible.
An established and unique part of Access Sciences’ benefits package is its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Employees have a stake in the company’s well-being, so we behave as employee-owners, continuously striving to grow the long-term value of Access Sciences.
Additionally, employees are given 16 hours of paid volunteer time per year. One of the company’s core values is operating with a service mindset, which includes being good corporate citizens to the communities we’re a part of. And it’s important that we not only do so as a company by contributing to the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation and Girls Who Code, but that we also give employees time to contribute to the nonprofits that matter the most to them personally.
GROWING THE COMPANY CULTURE
Access Sciences’ departments rolled out several internal initiatives to reinforce, strengthen, and grow our company culture – an important feat, especially in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Executive Team launched an internal leadership blog, housed in the company’s employee portal site. There, our leaders share performance updates, strategy, answers to questions, as well as fun, more personal videos like their own work-from-home set-ups.
The Professional Services Team launched their own internal initiative, “Let’s Connect,” which is meant to share our project work and successes in a fun way. The Project Edition of Let’s Connect is a one-pager that’s sent to the entire company, each focusing on one of our projects, the people involved, and timelines.
The Interview Edition of Let’s Connect is a video, highlighting different team members’ skills, interests, and stories. Everyone on the Professional Services Team is involved as it’s meant to help team members across the company get to know each other and learn new things about current projects.
Lastly, the Corporate Services Team rolled out online communities within Access Sciences’ Employee Portal to connect with co-workers on a more personal level. One of these communities is called “The Pawsitive Pet Project” where employees share pictures of their new, work-from-home colleagues (a.k.a. their pets).
EFFECTIVE TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION
Not only did those internal initiatives help foster and grow our company culture, but it also served to improve two-way communication by further cultivating a sense of community and connectedness in the midst of the pandemic.
Ever since working from home became the norm, Access Sciences’ leadership team encouraged turning on the video camera during conference calls and meetings. This small habit came to be an important part of our culture as there was a growing sense of camaraderie and community with each Microsoft Teams meeting.
Throughout the pandemic, Microsoft Teams has given us the ability to make quick video calls and meet face-to-face, rather than relying on sending emails back and forth.
Every other week, all Access Sciences employees from across the U.S. are invited to a 15-minute company-wide tag-up, which is a meeting where the leadership team provides important company information and all employees can share their own updates with the rest of the company. That same sense of camaraderie and community can be seen in these meetings as people cheer each other on in the chat when good news is shared.
“It really feels like a family once you work in a group for a bit. We work hard and play hard.” – Access Sciences Employee
“Access Sciences is a company that truly believes in their mission and that crosses over to its employees. The morale is very high as Access Sciences celebrates successes, small and large. If there is a roadblock, employees work together to solve it.” – Access Sciences Employee
Access Sciences is proud to be a 2020 Top Workplace, and we’re even prouder that our employees’ positive experiences were the reason we received that award. We look forward to continuously improving our company culture to meet the needs and wants of our employees.