By: Robert Almond, Jr.
This past Sunday, we wrapped up over three weekends of holiday festivities. Our Florida party took place earlier this month. The following weekend, we threw our annual party at Auletto’s in Deptford, New Jersey. Between the two parties, we had upwards of 425 family members coming together to celebrate a banner year for NEST. This year, we decided to add a third party…yes a THIRD party. Our Human Capital team has done a great job recruiting such a diverse workforce that we now have almost 25 NESTers under the age of 21-years-old and we wanted to show them the same amount of appreciation. Bill Bub, our Vice President of Operations, gave a great speech to them talking about when he was their age and how they are now “the future”. I can’t agree with him more and it’s great to see that generation now making such an impact to our success.
The parties used to be my favorite part of the year. However, I now not only have the parties to look forward to, but we also have our annual breakfast with Santa – same day, just a bit earlier. The line to sit on his lap was almost out of the door with over 500 of our employees, their children, relatives and neighbors coming together to celebrate the holiday season. We’ve been doing it for years but what’s different about the event now is to see how many families are growing and becoming an extension of our organization. Remembering when kids were born years ago and to see where they are now, it speaks to the longevity and culture we are trying to build and maintain at NEST. While it’s not easy to maintain, I am of the firm belief that we are doing a remarkable job at it.
In talking with some friends recently about our holiday events, a comment was made that it must cost us a fortune. It’s actually quite the opposite. This year did not come without its share of challenges, including one of the worst hurricane seasons on record. First, there was Hurricane Harvey who brought personal friends and clients down to nothing. Then, there was Hurricane Irma who made a direct impact on our Florida office and the 30 family members we have down there. Some lost power for close to two weeks and one still doesn’t have a roof. These same individuals came to work every day after the storm making sure that our clients were taken care of.
I get to walk into our offices every day and see something remarkable: internally promoted leadership (upwards of 40 promotions this year alone), a state-of-the-art, two-week employee orientation program (over 15 of them facilitated this year), over $33,000.00 raised to help beat MS, new family members that include a few new wedding engagements, of which one was a result of meeting each other in our office. We gave out three 20-year awards for the first time this year, along with several 5-, 10- and 15-year anniversary accolades. Being able to tell the story behind our tenured employees is such a proud accomplishment. Knowing that folks want to stay with us for the long run makes it even better.
I spend one third (or slightly more) of my life with our employees. It’s beyond important to me to make sure that we thank all of them for their efforts throughout the year. A year-end celebration that competes with most weddings is the least we can do to show our gratitude. Attending a breakfast to see the families come together and share a smile with Santa? It’s priceless. And the goal for next year is to make it bigger and better.
Our team is far from perfect, and that starts with me. However, I believe that’s what separates us from the rest. We admit where we can do better, learn from it, and come in to continuously improve every single day. Thanking God is part of my daily routine. I am extremely fortunate to be a part of this company and I cannot thank our staff enough for what they do for us day in and day out. They, along with their significant others, our service providers, vendor partners, and customers are the reason we continue to grow ‑ and for that, I am thankful. And, to each one of you, thank you for being a friend. I wish you a very happy holiday and a successful and healthy 2018.
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