What You Should Know
It’s not often that people can say they truly change lives for a living, but people at Metro West Housing Solutions (MWHS), a non-profit housing and human services organization say just that. Employees here feel good about how their work — providing affordable housing and services — impacts the community. Beyond that, people here appreciate unique benefits like daily recesses, Thanksgiving potlucks and a program that finds the executive director having lunch with a different group of employees each month. Employees are also included in building grand openings and other events so they feel connected to the organization's accomplishments. As with many nonprofits, folks looking for rewards that are more monetary than mission-driven may want to keep looking. “We help people less fortunate than most,” one employee says. “This is really not a job but a calling.”
WHAT THEY DO
MWHS is a non-profit property developer, manager and human services provider. They own and manage affordable housing that they provide to clients in Lakewood and Denver, Colo.
| Website: www.mwhsolutions.org
|| US Headquarters: Lakewood, Colorado
| US Sites: 11
|| Major Locations: Lakewood, CO; Denver, CO
| US Employees: 60
|| Founded: 1974
| Industry: Social Services and Government Agencies
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 MWHS, 76 percent of employees report the company often or almost always provides needed training, fair promotions and personally challenging work. Another 13 percent report the company sometimes provides these opportunities, for a combined positive rating from 89 percent of employees in the Great Challenges category.
MWHS employees provide affordable housing options for low income families. The company has approximately 60 employees in the United States, where they operate 11 offices.
A majority of employees (78 percent) say they carry a lot of responsibility, and most employees (84 percent) feel that their managers trust them to carry out their responsibilities without micromanaging them. For the majority of employees (86 percent), their work at MWHS is more than just a job: the chance to directly impact people's lives in a positive way by providing housing and other human services creates special meaning.
At MWHS, 78 percent of employees feel they receive the training and development they need to further their careers.
Supporting Employee Development
- College Tuition Reimbursement: $1,050
- Average annual training for part-time hourly employees: 20 hours
- Average annual training for full-time salaried employees: 60 hours
- Several different formal and informal programs are in place to support employee development, including a tuition reimbursement program, ongoing internal training facilitated by MWHS management staff, external industry-specific training, seminars, conferences and participation in internal committees.
They give us opportunities to attend training and seminars to make us better employees. They also provide us with tools for happy/healthier living individually.
What would my colleagues be like? How do people have fun? How formal a workplace is it?
At MWHS, 84 percent of employees say they often or almost always enjoy their colleagues and find their workplace to be fun and cooperative. Another 6 percent sometimes benefits from these qualities, for a combined positive rating from 90 percent of employees in the Great Atmosphere category.
Fun and Celebrations
- MWHS organizes a number of team-building activities, such as hiking, mini-golf, lunches, movies and bowling. They also celebrate success daily by recognizing staff through their newsletter, at all-staff meetings and with individual calls to thank them for their efforts. For big accomplishments, such as opening a new affordable apartment complex, they celebrate with an open house, ribbon-cutting, food and speeches.
Caring and Support
- MWHS supports employees through all types of significant life events. The company has provided additional time off, participated in fundraisers, walked as a team in the Relay for Life and provided meals. Support is tailored to meet the needs of individual employees as they arise.
People celebrate special events around here.
A relaxed environment where dedicated people can be trusted to get the job done well — this allows a person to make the job their own as to how they approach getting their work done.
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 MWHS, 77 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 12 percent reports they sometimes receive these benefits as well, for a combined positive rating from 89 percent of employees in the Great Rewards category.
MWHS has a Total Rewards philosophy. Intrinsic and extrinsic compensation is offered to employees consisting of base pay, benefits, retirement, work-life balance, recognition and career growth.
COMPENSATION BY THE NUMBERS
| $35,500 Average salary and additional cash compensation for Property Maintenance Worker
|| $63,600 Average salary and additional cash compensation for Administrator
| 90% Company-paid health coverage for employees
|| 75% Company-paid health coverage for dependents
| 24 hours Weekly hours at which part-timers receive health care coverage
WORK-LIFE BALANCE BY THE NUMBERS
| 26 days Holidays & vacation days after one year of employment
|| 60 days Job protected maternity leave provided above and beyond FMLA
WORK-LIFE BALANCE PROGRAMS
- Compressed workweeks (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.
They give you paid holidays, two floating holidays that you can take anytime throughout the year, sick time and vacation. They make sure that you have enough personal time to be able to balance work life and your home life, which really helps to keep the employees happy.
HEALTH INSURANCE COVERS
- Dental 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 MWHS, 87 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 5 percent report that they sometimes experience this pride as well, for a combined positive rating from 92 percent of employees in the Great Pride category.
MWHS is dedicated to providing high-quality, safe and affordable housing for people and communities. The nonprofit currently has 11 different housing communities with a total of 2,400 units in Lakewood and Denver, Colo., with another community in the works.
I'm proud to tell others I work here.
Our agency provides a lot to those in our community. This gives me pride in what I do.
Supporting the Community
- Paid time to volunteer per employee per year: 20 hours
- MWHS offers employees several ways to participate in philanthropic and volunteer opportunities in the community. The Annual Giving Campaign during the holiday season offers staff the opportunity to give to the charity of their choice. They can also sponsor a low-income child by making one of their holiday gift wishes come true. MWHS staff members have also volunteered on a variety of community committees focused on enhancing economic development, strengthening arts and culture, ending homelessness and encouraging environmentally sustainable practices in Lakewood and Jefferson County.
I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.
This agency is ahead of its game regarding energy-efficiency and modern, sustainable development. I am proud to say the organization not only cares for its clients, but for the Earth and resources as well.
How easy is it to talk with managers and get the information I need? Will managers listen to my input?
At MWHS, 77 percent of employees say they often or almost always experience a free and transparent exchange of ideas and information within the organization. Another 12 percent sometimes has this experience as well, for a combined positive rating from 89 percent of employees in the Great Communication category.
Despite being spread out over 11 sites in two Colorado cities, most employees say communication is more than sufficient here. At least three-quarters of employees feel their managers make their expectations clear and are approachable and easy to talk with, while 84 percent of employees also say their leaders keep them informed about important issues and changes.
I'm treated like an equal and not just a number. My suggestions are appreciated and reviewed. It's like I have a say in the company, and I feel I have an investment also.
What are managers' leadership strengths?
At MWHS, 81 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 10 percent say their managers sometimes display these characteristics, for a combined positive rating from 91 percent of employees in the Great Bosses category.
MWHS employees widely appreciate the sense of pride that leaders here encourage, as well as the benefits managers provide to staff. Employees describe leaders who operate with a sense of integrity and who are people upon whom employees can rely. A majority of employees (84 percent) describe their leaders as consistently honest and ethical in their business practices, and even more (86 percent) say they can rely on leaders to to deliver on their promises. When they look at the big picture, eight out of 10 employees say they believe leaders have a clear view of where the organization is going and how the team will get there.
The culture of this organization is something that is unique to MWHS. Management goes above and beyond to make sure that everyone is treated fairly, is appreciated and recognized for their work. There is a strong sense of loyalty, respect and devotion to carrying out our mission as well as ensuring that everyone who works here is successful.
Great Perks and Programs
- Health and Wellness: All MWHS employees are offered up to $55 per year toward fitness center memberships, classes and so forth. The main office also has a workout room available to employees day or night.
- Recess Program: Each property has a “recess kit,” which includes balls, jump ropes, Frisbees and a deck of cards. Every employee is allocated 10 minutes per day to take a recess. Recess may encompass anything from taking a walk outside with co-workers to creating sidewalk art with chalk or playing cards. The goal is to encourage employees to take a mental and physical break, socialize and recharge for the rest of the day.
- Human Services Support: This support is set up for clients of MWHS, but the services extend to employees as well. The program helps people find jobs, learn healthy cooking skills, improve parenting skills and enhance financial management skills.
- Tuition Assistance: Employees in any position are encouraged to use the company's $1,050 per year tuition reimbursement program to subsidize their goals, even if it involves a career change.
- Charitable Opportunities: Each holiday season, the company encourages employees to give to a charity of their choice, which has resulted in staff members collectively supporting 50 different charities. They also participate in sponsoring a low-income child by helping fulfill the child's holiday gift wish list.
Great Rated! collected feedback from MWHS employees via an anonymous survey. Following are common reasons employees said they appreciate their workplace.
"We have an ongoing system of recognizing outstanding customer service. People nominate their co-workers and everyone who is nominated gets listed in the newsletter and entered into a drawing to win a gift card."
"We help people less fortunate than most. This is really not a job but a calling, and we are treated by management with respect and gratitude when deserved."
"This company embodies how affordable housing should be owned and operated by providing quality homes and affordable and sustainable housing options."
"The company as a whole has good compatibility and structure in regards to staff."
"The management will and does support the staff when they are in the right. Plus the majority of staff have a great sense of humor under times of stress."
"I find it personally rewarding to be part of helping people and families secure safe and decent housing which is maintained to very high standards, independent of how much they can pay. I believe the best part of the job is when our communities appreciate us."
"I appreciate the way the company is always there to lend a hand in whatever you need. Also how great they are to the employees. It's hard to find such a great company to work for."
"I noticed that they really care for their employees by giving us training in personal safety, wellness and professional endeavors."
"This is a great company with great benefits for employees."
"There is a long list of benefits of working here. We get recess, flex scheduling, celebrations, lunch with the director and more."
"It doesn't matter who you are working with, the CEO or the maintenance staff; they all give 100 percent to get the job done. This is why I consider all of the people that work here my second family."
"I wouldn't change anything. I think this is a great place to work, and I look forward to a long career with Metro West Housing Solutions."
How to Get Hired
We asked MWHS 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?
A prospective employee must have three key characteristics in order to be a great fit for MWHS: 1) A positive “just want to be here” attitude, 2) must be reliable and 3) the ability and desire to help others succeed.
What can prospective employees do to get your attention?
First, follow directions when applying for a job. Many prospective participants do not read the application thoroughly. Pay attention to details. Then, send in a thoughtful application and resume that highlights experiences related to our organization and the position being hired. Most importantly, research MWHS and know what type of organization we are. Prospective employees that take the time to learn about us and demonstrate that they understand and recognize MWHS’s values impress us a lot.
Are there any unusual or especially rigorous steps of your hiring process that candidates should be aware of?
For most of our positions, there is nothing truly unusual. Executive staff will be put through more rigorous steps, but those are determined and communicated to applicants at the time of selection for the process.
Are there any positions or types of candidates you are particularly focused on hiring in this coming year?
Our highest area of turnover is in our maintenance staff. It is difficult to predict where we might be hiring. Employees tend to stick around for long periods of time and turnover is low. We are adding a procurement specialist and a communications specialist this year. We are growing and want to have high-quality services in both of those areas.
What should interested candidates do to find out more and get started?
Interested candidates should become familiar with MWHS. There is lots of information on our website: www.mwhsolutions.org. Position openings are posted as they become available along with timelines, job descriptions and salary information. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are also valuable sources of information on MWHS.
||22Average number of applicants per opening
|10%Total voluntary turnover in past year
||450Applicants in past year
|9Openings in past year
||5%New hires by employee referrals
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