What You Should Know
In an economy where civil engineering firms are fighting for top talent, Cherokee Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) has some impressive bragging rights. More than half of its 42 employees have been there for at least six years, and a third have been around for more than a decade. What keeps people at CEI, a minority-owned business with a diverse headcount, is its welcoming environment, ample training and safe, friendly atmosphere. People also feel good about how CEI gives to the community through food drives, tree planting and philanthropic donations. Communication can sometimes be a challenge and "fun" isn't employees' top descriptor of the work -- but the majority of staff praise the work-life balance, community impact and ethics of the firm. “I have worked for 15 years for this company,” one employee says. “I feel secure since the management always makes the right decisions. By doing so, they are able to keep their employees working.”
WHAT THEY DO
CEI is a privately held company that provides engineering and construction services to large private clients and local, state and federal governments.
||US Headquarters: Miami Lakes, Florida
|US Sites: 2
||Major Locations: Miami Lakes
|US Employees: 42
||US revenues: $12.5 million
|Industry: Construction & Real Estate
How much responsibility would I have? What kind of support is there for professional development?
Great Rated! conducted an anonymous survey of randomly selected employees to assess the quality of the workplace challenges the company provides. At CEI, 73 percent of employees report the company often or almost always provides needed training, fair promotions and personally challenging work. Another 11 percent report the company sometimes provides these opportunities, for a combined positive rating from 84 percent of employees in the Great Challenges category.
CEI employees provide turnkey engineering and construction services to their clients. The company has approximately 42 employees in the United States, where they operate two locations.
Most employees (83 percent) say they carry a lot of responsibility in the organization, and the majority (86 percent) also say that managers trust them to carry out these responsibilities without micromanaging them. For most employees (79 percent), their work at CEI is more than just a job: it provides special meaning.
At CEI, 79 percent of employees feel they receive the training and development they need to further their careers.
Supporting Employee Development
- College Tuition Reimbursement: $5,250
- Average annual training for part-time hourly employees: 24 hours
- Average annual training for full-time salaried employees: 40 hours
- Aside from CEI's training program, supervisors meet with their employees to discuss an individual career track so they can achieve their goals. They also assign mentors to help guide the employees along their career paths.
We have many long-term employees. Employees have many opportunities to be successful due to management's loyalty to its employees and the diverse nature of its work.
What would my colleagues be like? How do people have fun? How formal a workplace is it?
At CEI, 67 percent of employees say they often or almost always enjoy their colleagues and find their workplace to be fun and cooperative. Another 15 percent sometimes benefits from these qualities, for a combined positive rating from 82 percent of employees in the Great Atmosphere category.
CEI operates two locations in Florida. Employees work in the office, in the field and have the option to telecommute if necessary.
Fun and Celebrations
- CEI celebrates all holidays in the office so employees have a chance to interact with each other outside of the workday. The company also frequently posts employee milestones and personal news on CEI's intranet.
Caring and Support
- When employees need to make changes at work due to life events, CEI helps them on a case-by-case basis, with the goal of creating a favorable outcome for the employee. The company also allows staff to telecommute and adjust their work schedules if necessary.
People celebrate special events around here.
There is great company culture and special events are recognized. You definitely feel welcomed when you begin your position. Everyone works as a team to meet goals.
What kind of perks and benefits are part of the employment package? What is the work-life balance like? Does the company appreciate hard work?
At CEI, 65 percent of employees often or almost always find the company compensates them fairly, provides special and unique benefits, supports their work-life balance and shows genuine appreciation for their contributions. Another 18 percent reports they sometimes receive these benefits as well, for a combined positive rating from 83 percent of employees in the Great Rewards category.
Some of our benefits are vacation days, sick days, short-term and long-term disability, life insurance and health insurance.
COMPENSATION BY THE NUMBERS
401(k) match of employee's salary, up to 4% of an employee's contribution
Company-paid health coverage for employees
Company-paid health coverage for dependents
PERKS TO MAKE LIFE EASIER
- Free beverages during the day
- Free breakfast foods on a regular, daily basis
WORK-LIFE BALANCE BY THE NUMBERS
Holidays & vacation days after one year of employment
Job protected leave maternity provided above and beyond FMLA
WORK-LIFE BALANCE PROGRAMS
- Flexible schedule (5% use it)
I am able to take time off from work when I think it's necessary.
People are encouraged to balance their work life and their personal life.
As long as you have arrangements to make up the time, they will work with you.
HEALTH INSURANCE COVERS
- Dental care
- Prescription drug subsidy
- Vision care
- Mental health care
ONSITE HEALTH BENEFITS
- Subsidized offsite gym memberships
What inspires employees' company spirit here? Do people stand by their teams' work? What impact do people have outside the organization?
At CEI, 72 percent of employees report that they often or almost always carry meaningful responsibilities within the organization and are proud of their accomplishments, community impact and the company's reputation in the world. Another 16 percent report that they sometimes experience this pride as well, for a combined positive rating from 88 percent of employees in the Great Pride category.
Founded in 1999, CEI's vision is to be a regional firm that can respond to the needs of local clients while offering all the services of larger firms at the best value. In 2012, the company was named one of Hispanic Business Magazine's 500 largest Hispanic-owned businesses.
I'm proud to tell others I work here.
Supporting the Community
- Paid time to volunteer per employee per year: 8 hours
- Philanthropic donations in the last year: $13,866
- CEI participates in three or four company-wide community events each year, tracking everyone's involvement to award them points that go toward their year-end bonuses. CEI also has a corporate recycling program and recognizes employees who have gone out of their way to stay green.
I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.
Their outreach to help the community and support the events south Florida has every year is unique and unusual.
How easy is it to talk with managers and get the information I need? Will managers listen to my input?
At CEI, 70 percent of employees say they often or almost always experience a free and transparent exchange of ideas and information within the organization. Another 11 percent sometimes has this experience as well, for a combined positive rating from 81 percent of employees in the Great Communication category.
Employees paint a picture of accessible leaders at CEI. A majority (75 percent) of employees say management is approachable, easy to talk with and genuinely requests and responds to employee suggestions. Almost as many (71 percent) also agree that management makes its expectations clear.
What are managers' leadership strengths?
At CEI, 65 percent of employees say their managers often or almost always act with integrity and care, are competent in their positions and provide clear directions and vision for the organization. Another 13 percent say their managers sometimes display these characteristics, for a combined positive rating from 78 percent of employees in the Great Bosses category.
CEI employees widely appreciate the professional atmosphere and pride their leaders encourage at the company. In terms of management's abilities, employees think CEI managers are skilled and that they operate with integrity. A majority of employees (86 percent) say management is honest and ethical in its business practices, and 76 percent say managers are competent at running the business and can see where it's headed and know how to take it there. CEI managers also make an effort to show employees they care; 72 percent of staffers say managers show a sincere interest in them as people, not just employees.
I have worked for 15 years for this company. I feel secure since the management always makes the right decisions according to the economy. By doing so, they are able to keep their employees working.
Great Perks and Programs
- Corporate Recycling Program: CEI has a corporate recycling program and gives employees awards for going out of their way to stay green.
- Holiday Potluck: CEI ends the year with bonuses and a holiday potluck party for employees and their spouses.
- Picnics and Park Days: At the beginning of the year, CEI holds an employee appreciation picnic. The company also holds regular celebrations where they invite employees and their families for a day at the park.
- Open-Book Policy: CEI has an open-book policy where any employee at any given time can set up a meeting with the company's financial officer to discuss CEI's books. The company also holds quarterly meetings with all employees to let them know how the company is doing.
- Health Coverage: CEI pays 70 percent of both an employee's health care premium and a premium for dependents.
Great Rated! collected feedback from CEI employees via an anonymous survey. Following are common reasons employees said they appreciate their workplace.
"I feel as though CEI helped mold me into the man that I am today."
"We are a firm that rewards the entrepreneurial spirit. Our core values include community involvement, and for our size, we do a lot."
"It is small and diversified in the people and the projects. The overriding question on whether to tackle a new project is always, 'Can we complete it successfully with a fair profit?'"
"Ethics are important. Ultimately, the correct decisions are always made."
"Great work ethics and professionalism."
"Management celebrates accomplishments and special occasions/holidays. We celebrate weddings, baby showers, Valentine's Day, Earth Day, etc."
"It is undergoing a self-evaluation and is genuinely working on self-betterment."
"The unique design/build approach fills a very special niche in two industries."
How to Get Hired
We asked CEI for some inside information on how to get hired at the organization. Here is what they had to say.
What key characteristics tell you a prospective employee will be a great fit for your company?
Motivated, open-mindedness, career-orientated, loyalty/longevity, family-oriented, friendly personality.
What can prospective employees do to get your attention?
Take the time to learn about our company before the initial meeting. Produce a resume video instead of the traditional means. Offer a thank-you after the interview (it is often not done).
Are there any unusual or especially rigorous steps of your hiring process that candidates should be aware of?
Nothing out of the norm.
Are there any positions or types of candidates you are particularly focused on hiring in this coming year?
What should interested candidates do to find out more and get started?
Google our firm, visit our website, be informed, ask questions.
||5Average number of applicants per opening
|5Applicants in past year
||3Openings in past year
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