"25 years ago, a quiet young woman, just out of college, began her career with Beekley Corporation. Little did we know then that she was going to change our lives, and the destiny of our company, forever and for the better." Ayn S. LaPlant, President and CEO, Beekley Corporation
Although many companies say it, here at Beekley we truly believe that our people are our greatest asset.
Like many companies we hire for talent, and work hard to retain that talent, but perhaps more importantly – maybe even more strategically, we hire for fit.
Perhaps you knew that average tenure at any company has fallen dramatically at all organizational levels over the last two decades. According to a Sept. 2016 press release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employee tenure in across all industries in the United States fell to an average of just 4.2 years. When you focus on Sales and Marketing professionals, that average drops down by half.
I mention these stats because employee turnover is not only costly and bad for the business, it's costly and bad for customer relationships too.1 This is relevant because among the top 10 reasons people leave an employer are relationship with boss, co-workers, fit into corporate culture, recognition of contributions, ability to grow/develop skills, and engagement/alignment with the job and business goals.
To retain exemplary talent, company leadership itself must be exemplary.
Leading By Example
The Beekley Leadership Creed states "The most important part of my job is to help my team be successful in their work."
Martha Flannery, VP of Sales and Marketing, who celebrated 25 years with Beekley Corporation on March 16, 2017, exemplifies this creed and has all the qualities we value and admire as a Beekley leader and officer of our company.
She has an unflaggingly positive, optimistic "Can Do" and "Will Do" attitude, no matter how busy or frantic or challenging things may be.
She makes everyone feel important, recognized, and valued because she genuinely appreciates the contributions of everyone on the Beekley Team towards providing World Class Customer Care and the growth of our business. She is always willing to pitch in to do whatever it takes to deliver on our promises to our customers.
As a coach, Martha encourages us to takes risks and stretch beyond our comfort zones. We are encouraged and given the autonomy to expand our skill sets and develop new programs, products, and initiatives that will help us to meet our customers' changing needs. She celebrates our wins and successes and helps us find the kernel of wisdom in the times we fall short of our objectives and goals. She has created a work environment that is collaborative, supportive, and positive.
It is this attitude that has led to her (and Beekley's) success and growth over the past two and a half decades.
As the head of Marketing, Martha has powered a steady stream of new product development that reflect and compliment the changes in medical imaging and imaging equipment. From the introduction of advanced imaging (CT & MRI) to digital and now 3D breast imaging, Beekley was first to market with localizing skin markers for each modality and technology to help our customers with communication, accuracy, efficacy, and patient care.
It was under Martha's leadership that Beekley began cultivating distributor relations to meet the increasing demand for our products outside the United Sates and when Beekley Medical became a distinct entity as a division under Beekley Corporation. It was also Martha who helped establish WMB Enterprises, the joint ventures and acquisitions arm of Beekley Corporation to help inventors and other small companies develop and market their products.
While impressive, products don't get made, sold, or used without fully functioning, cohesive teams behind them and supporting them. It was Martha who brought the "One Team" concept for Sales and Marketing to Beekley to break down silos, foster communication and strengthen relationships.
Together sales and marketing leadership discuss industry trends, listen to the voice of the internal and external customer, explore challenges and solutions, study external resources to inspire, guide, and teach us on what we could be doing differently or better as a company, and come to agreement on recommended actions and initiatives that will serve our business goals and our customers best.
It's that kind of leadership that drives a happy, engaged, and committed workforce.
Beekley is one of those rare companies where it's not unusual to celebrate a coworker's decade or more of service and that is due to the fact that we have a great corporate culture and great leadership.
Going back to our stats, as of December 2016, the average tenure of a Beekley Associates was 9.9 years, tenure in Sales and Marketing slightly lower at 9 years, double and triple the national average respectively.
Great leadership does more than pay lip service to credos, mission statements, and core values. It lives and breathes them and by doing so it builds – and keeps – great teams, who in turn help develop and retain great customer relationships which keep the business growing.
As one of Martha's direct reports, I am very happy that someone saw the talent and fit to culture of that quiet young woman who walked through Beekley's door 25 years ago.