APA Center for Organizational Excellence: National Winner

The Awards

Small For-Profit Category

W R Systems, Ltd. - Engineering Services Division

Designed for Excellence

VirginiaW R Systems, Ltd. (WRSystems) is an information technology and engineering firm that provides services to numerous federal departments and government agencies, as well as to organizations in the commercial sector. This firm stands out for its recognition that the strength of its workforce is the key to meeting customer needs.

Click here to watch a video clip about WRSystems.

Employee Involvement

WRSystems fosters a collaborative environment where teamwork is always part of a winning strategy. In defense contracting, employees usually spend their careers bouncing from company to company, but at WRSystems, employees are loyal to the firm from one assignment to the next. WRSystems’ employee-focused management team advocates for employees and provides tools, training and mentoring to help them succeed.

From the first day on the job, new employees are assigned a mentor to provide guidance and guarantee smooth sailing. Opportunities for employee input abound, from an employee suggestion program to surveys to lunch with the division director. The director meets with each new hire and conducts small-group meetings to assess employee satisfaction and gather feedback. Additionally, once a year a randomly selected group of employees is chosen to rate the director’s performance.

Health and Safety

With a dedicated safety manager on staff, protecting employees is a natural priority for an engineering firm. Preventative measures such as anti-glare screens, drafting lamps, ergonomic keyboards and anti-static mats help prevent injuries. Employees also have access to free, confidential counseling services, including financial and legal guidance through the firm’s EAP.

A trained emergency medical response team is ready to respond to any staff emergencies that arise. A portable defibrillator was added to the company’s safety arsenal upon the suggestion of an employee, and eyewash stations and first-aid kits are easily accessible. Thanks to the employee suggestion program, the halls are lined with nightlights and light switches are rimmed with glow-in-the-dark strips for easier navigation at night.

Employee Growth and Development

WRSystems supports a culture of continuous learning and tuition reimbursement is offered to employees pursuing additional education. A recently instituted mentoring program helps employees with career decisions and department heads make themselves available for advice. Employees hold classes during lunch hours to teach their co-workers new skills from art to fiber optics, with participation fostering camaraderie and personal growth.

Professional development opportunities range from CPR certification and forklift operation courses to management training and technical exchange meetings for engineers. Throughout the year, employees attend seminars via phone and webcast on topics such as organizational conflicts of interest and innovative management. A library of training materials provides employees with additional opportunities to learn about safety and human resource issues.

Work-Life Balance

WRSystems believes in work-life balance through flexibility and employees have the freedom to define their own working hours. Almost half of employees take advantage of flextime and 15 percent telecommute. Employees can bring their children to work when circumstances require it, alleviating the stress of arranging last-minute child care.
Employees can even bring their pets to work and well-equipped kitchens, break and workout rooms keep employees feeling balanced. Job sharing ensures that at least two people are trained to perform each job function, which allows employees to take time off without delaying or negatively affecting ongoing projects.

Employee Recognition

WRSystems knows the value of recognizing employees’ accomplishments and has many different ways of rewarding its workforce. “Employee of the Quarter” winners are chosen by their peers and receive a certificate, monetary bonus and premium parking space. Managers recognize employees for outstanding behind-the-scenes work with “On-the-Spot Awards,” which include a certificate, monetary reward and recognition at the all-staff meeting.

Employees receive a percentage of the new business they generate as a bonus and an employee-referral program offers cash rewards to employees who bring in new hires. Salary increases and bonuses are also given for the completion of professional certifications. Recognizing the value of family, WRSystems sends employees personalized baby blankets to celebrate the birth of a child. At Thanksgiving, gift cards are distributed to help employees purchase groceries for their celebrations.

The Bottom Line

WRSystems’ ability to recruit and retain high-quality professionals has directly contributed to the organization’s growth and success. In 2008, 53 percent of new hires were referrals from employees or former employees. With a turnover rate of just ten percent in 2008, the firm takes comfort in the knowledge that it is keeping employees onboard and engaged. Sixty-three percent of employees have been with the company for more than two years and 44 percent of the workforce has been there for five years or more.

Leaders at WRSystems earn high marks on employee surveys and most employees rated job satisfaction as a 5 on a 6-point scale. Additionally, WRSystems Engineering Services Division cites a low accident and injury rate, has increased health insurance premiums only minimally in the past two years and reports that healthcare claims have actually gone down over the life of the division. WRSystems has designed and built a supportive work environment in which employees work together to achieve results and keep customers happy.

"Coleman Professional Services believes that supporting our employees in a modern and clean work environment can only lead to better services to our customers. We are proud of our employees and we are very proud of being recognized as a Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award Winner."

Nelson Burns
Coleman Professional Services