How One Company Builds a Team Culture

Washington's Greenfield Services does all it can to make employees feel like they're part of a team

How One Company Builds a Team Culture

Greenfield Services owner Jacob Sabin says he truly believes in the concept of "team" for his company. “I figure that if I do everything I can to take care of my employees, they’ll do everything they can do to take care of our customers. After that, hopefully the money follows," he says.

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Before Jacob Sabin started his own company, Greenfield Services in Puyallup, Washington, he’d never heard the term “corporate culture.” But he picked up on the concept pretty quickly, and it’s made a big difference for his young company, established in 2013.

By promoting a team atmosphere and going the extra yard for employees, Sabin has developed a loyal base of employees, which leads to minimal turnover, increased productivity, and a high level of customer service. He preaches teamwork all the time; it even receives prominent mention on the home page of the company’s website and the domain name of the company’s email address is “goteamgreenfield.”

It all started by asking another business owner a simple question.

“I noticed that a local trucking company always keeps its good drivers for a long time, so I asked the owner what he does to achieve such low turnover,” Sabin says. “He told me you always have to put your employees high on the priority list. It can’t be all take — you’ve got to give some, too. You have to build a culture where everyone feels like they’re on a team, working together. It’s not ‘him’ and ‘me,’ it’s ‘us.’ I know it sounds kind of cliche, but it’s true. We try really hard to work as a team and take care of each other.”

What does that mean in real life? As an example, Sabin points out that he’s pulled shifts for up to 36 hours so an employee could attend an important family event. He also cites an instance where supervisor Nick Watkins filled in on a job when another employee had a last-minute family emergency.

“We had to leave the yard at 3 the next morning, and Nick showed up at 2:30 to work as a laborer on the vac truck, even though that’s not what he normally does,” Sabin says. “He made it happen.”

Sabin says he does other things to engender employee loyalty, such as pay competitive wages and give raises as often as possible.

“There’s a lot of things we can’t do for people because we’re a small company, but there are also lots of things we can do.”

For example, buying parts for an employee with a broken car and having the company mechanic perform the repair. Or letting employees borrow company vehicles and other equipment when needed.

“I’m blessed with a really cool opportunity to create an environment that’s positive and uplifting for employees,” Sabin says. “I spend more time at work than I spend with my wife and kids, so I want to make it enjoyable and hire people upon whom I can depend. I figure that if I do everything I can to take care of my employees, they’ll do everything they can do to take care of our customers. After that, hopefully the money follows.”

Check out this full profile about Greenfield Services that was featured in Cleaner magazine in 2017.


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