In November, 2012, Texas811 was named the #1 midsize company to work for in Dallas, Texas. This article is reprinted here with permission from The Dallas Morning News.
At Texas811, getting tough on its staffers made everyone happier
Published: 09 November 2012 02:00 PM
Texas Excavation Safety System Inc., better known as Texas811, makes sure that excavators dig safely by locating buried gas, telephone and electric lines.
Its employees say their company creates security of another sort for them. Ironically, it stems from a decision made in the fall of 2010 by its president, Lee Marrs, to make employees more accountable.
“After years of seminars, management books and our own common sense telling us that people need to understand expectations and have the responsibility to fulfill them, we decided to actually do it and live with the results,” Marrs says, admitting that he worried that following through on threatened discipline and possible terminations would result in staffing shortages.
“Instead, the opposite happened,” he says. “With only a few exceptions, people stepped up in self-management, attendance, punctuality, accuracy, striving for excellence and every other area we measured.”
The company’s productivity and absentee rates improved so dramatically that Texas811 raised its pay scale 18 percent and is still ahead financially, he says. “Best of all, the need for external discipline has all but vanished.”
As for benefits, Texas811 offers an on-site health clinic free to employees and their dependents. Full-time employees get free dental, vision and medical. Part-time employees are offered the same dental and vision, minus medical.
Its wellness program offers cash incentives. Need a little relaxation? A massage therapist comes several times a month at no cost.
Texas811 plans to hire about a dozen workers — mostly clerical — in the next few months.
“As the saying goes, we hire for attitude and train for skills,” Marrs says. “We find that if there’s one key ingredient lacking in many candidates, it’s readiness for the workplace.
“This is manifested in a misunderstanding of how critical it is to have the basics down: attendance, punctuality and personal presentation.”