APA Center for Organizational Excellence: National Winner

The Awards

Medium For-Profit Category

Team Horner

Pooling Their Talents

Florida – Founded in 1969, Team Horner is the largest privately owned swimming pool and spa distributor in the world. Its AquaCal and AutoPilot brands are leaders in the pool heat pump and salt chlorine generator industries, respectively. From marketing and pool service education to distribution and fulfillment, Team Horner’s constant focus for more than 40 years has been to create win-win business strategies for its clients — pool designers, builders and installers — by providing the right products and support programs to help them grow their businesses.

Employee Involvement

Every other year, the company conducts a 45- to 50-question employee satisfaction survey in which teammates comment freely and anonymously. In the 2013 Satisfaction Survey, 90 percent responded that they welcome the monthly team-wide meetings, held in the Ft. Lauderdale location and the St. Petersburg manufacturing facility, to hear reports from each department. There, teammates are encouraged to speak up and ask questions of the leadership team. No one misses out; those who are not physically present can call in, as each session is also offered by webinar.

Health and Safety

In 2012, Team Horner launched its remarkable “Color Me Healthy” initiative with more than 35 programs offered so far that address emotional health and physical fitness. Color Me Healthy’s genius is that it is bottom-up — teammates themselves brainstorm the types of well-being programs they want. Volunteers come together and form teams in different areas of the company to focus on the kinds of initiatives that are best suited to different populations. For instance, programs appealing to workers at the company’s manufacturing plant are not necessarily the same as those desired by its national sales team.

Employee Growth and Development

Team Horner’s earmarked reimbursement program pays for employees’ higher education. The company also provides a rich selection of industry-specific, in-house training and certification programs including general business and product knowledge. Other programs include book readings and informal, team-wide “Walk-a-Days” that get everyone outside and moving. In addition, the company encourages — and picks up the tab for — managers and other teammates to enroll in outside skills-building programs.

Work-Life Balance

Team Horner grants flex time on an individual basis for family and health issues or emergencies. Mothers-to-be are permitted flexible hours to work from home in the later stages of their pregnancy, then work remotely after the baby is born. If a teammate needs financial help, Team Horner provides short-term loans without interest, with payback later deducted from payroll. Team Horner takes care of its own, implementing flex time for those going through chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Even if the teammate can only work on a limited basis, he or she incurs no penalty.

Employee Recognition

Each year in December, Team Horner holds awards events in Ft. Lauderdale and St. Petersburg to recognize personal growth, synergy and pioneering in every division of the company. Employee of the Year winners in each division receive $1,000 as well. And since those who have won are considered consistent performers, they also receive a bonus of $50 each month in perpetuity. Celebrating longevity, Team Horner holds an awards event for teammates who have five or more years of service.

The Bottom Line

Team Horner employees feel valued and engaged. In fact, 94 percent said they feel they can openly communicate with their supervisor, and 73 percent reported participating in a Color Me Healthy event. For more than five years, employee turnover has averaged 20 percent including voluntary and involuntary separation. Team Horner’s programs promoting longevity are working; 25 percent of employees have been with Team Horner for 10 years or longer, while 56 percent have been employed for at least five years. Team Horner’s multiple initiatives are part of its ongoing commitment to a robust company culture for one and all.

"Emory University is honored to have received this award. It personifies the 'contributory excellence' of Emory. We strive to be an employer committed to the good health and well-being of each member of the campus community."

Susie Lackey
Employee Council President
Emory University