All-Star Case Studies

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2021 Case Study - GUY Engineering

Location:
Tulsa, OK

2020 Revenues:
$5.1 million

Employees: 36

Critical Numbers™: Profit Before Taxes

GuyEngineering Logo 2021

Organization Background

GUY Engineering is a consulting firm with extensive experience in civil engineering and land surveying. Since 1987, GUY has been providing quality design work on hundreds of projects ranging from roadway and bridge designs to water distribution and sanitary sewer improvements throughout the state of Oklahoma.

Challenge

Educate the employee-owners in the company’s ESOP how to think and act like owners when it comes to running their business—including how to pay off the debt accrued from buying out the founder in 2014. The business has now gone through another ownership transition over the past year.

Solution

Implement weekly Huddles to update scoreboards with the help of their coach Ann Casstevens and assign ownership of every line item to an employee-owner who is responsible for learning about and tracking that line item for six months. Also conduct company-wide financial literacy training and encourage employee-owners to begin forecasting their numbers and think years ahead through the High-Involvement Planning™ (HIP) process.

Results 

The Great Game of Business® (GGOB) became a framework and a process to help the GUY team adapt to changes in the transportation industry, to explore ways to keep revenue high during challenging times, and to seek continuous improvement—while also earning regular bonuses, higher revenue, and lowering their debt. “The best part of GGOB is being transparent with our financials,” says Rebecca Alvarez, Principal Engineer and GUY’s new President. “Our employees really understand the business side of our company now and are better decision-makers. During our ownership transition, we were very open with how the 51% majority owner change would affect our financials and the types of new business we anticipated seeing. Instead of being a rumor-mill, it seemed it brought the company together as employees felt empowered to ask questions during this time of change.”


“The Great Game of Business has made a huge difference in our culture and employee engagement by being all inclusive for our game play, and the friendly competition that it creates for company goals. It really has shown me the great benefits of being in a company that trusts its employees and allows us the freedom to be with our families when needed and at work when needed. This last year has shown that we can be very diversified on who is working from home and who is in the office. I think that GGOB has taught us to be flexible and still make our goals work.”

~ Becky Pitts, Engineering Technician


Spotlight on the Pandemic

In 2020, GUY again faced an ownership transition, as Rebecca Alvarez, formerly Vice President of Business Development, purchased 51% of the firm and took on the role of president. Prior to the transition, management spent several Huddles reviewing the pros and cons of various transition options. This gave employees time to ask questions and understand the advantages of Rebecca becoming majority owner. GUY is now a woman-owned and Native American-owned small business, which is opening up new markets in 2021.

MiniGame™ Spotlight

The GUY team strives to hold two to three company-wide minigames each year. During 2020, with employees working from home for part of the year, the team chose to play a culture-based game designed to improve morale and keep everyone connected. Called “Connect Four GUY,” the game included weekly challenges such as sharing a favorite recipe or having a virtual coffee break. In the next year, GUY will also be rolling out “microgames,” department-level MiniGames, with the intent to help departments address issues or problems specific to their area.


“With GGOB, employees are very engaged in all aspects of the business. People are eager to ‘own’ Huddle lines and they take time to research so they can give the most accurate forecasting numbers. They are also excited by company growth and give suggestions for improvement. There is a culture of teamwork and acceptance.”

~ Stacey Schifferdecker, Communications Coordinator


What’s Next

Alvarez says that implementing GGOB isn’t just a short-term, one-and-done event. “It is a continual process, an evolution,” she says. “We are continually tweaking our Huddles, adjusting and simplifying our MiniGame process, and adding more training, all in an effort to get better and to keep employees engaged and excited.” The GUY team is also revisiting its approach to High-Involvement Planning™. In the past, they would focus just on the coming year. In 2021, they’re looking longer term—five and ten years out.  “Forecasting our revenues and expenses over the long-term will help us see the areas we need to focus on to improve,” says Alvarez.

 

“GGOB has given everyone a chance to understand the part they play in making our company successful. As we talk about the financials, strategies we undertake as a company, and individual efforts we can make as members of a team, it lets us take charge of what we want our company to be.”

~ Pete Ellis, Project Manager