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2020 Wonderful Workplaces Winner: Byce & Associates, Inc.

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Where Coworkers are Family

FIRST & 42 has scouted our region for the most outstanding companies with excellent workplace culture, and we’ve rounded up the best of the best in the 2020 Wonderful Workplaces competition. Byce & Associates, Inc. (Byce), is one of the champions that shined bright in this year’s competition. Byce is a team of imaginative and practical design professionals for the built environment that provides engineering and architectural services to clients, focusing in particular on providing service excellence in all that it does. The company thrives on maintaining great relationships with both its clients and its employees.

Miranda Bishop, accounting and human resources assistant at Byce, shared, “I look forward to going to work because I know I can be myself and express my thoughts and ideas openly. Byce does not consider us employees, they consider us colleagues and friends. We are a family.” This family mentality has paved the way for excellence at Byce for over sixty years. Learn more from Miranda below about what makes Byce shine as a wonderful workplace.

 

What was Byce & Associates Inc.’s biggest achievement during 2020?

I think everyone would have a different opinion on what would be our greatest achievement for 2020. I would say one of our biggest achievements is simply how our company handled the COVID-19 pandemic. Leaders acted quickly when the stay-at-home order was coming, and we were able to help over 30 employees transition to working from home in less than a week almost seamlessly—although it may not have felt like that to our IT team! Our Byce family stepped up and communicated with each other, making sure the impact of the shutdown was minimal on our projects, clients, and teammates.

What is unique about the workplace culture at Byce?

Our workplace culture is unique because we truly do strive to obtain work/life balance for all of our employees. From team events, to paid voting, to fifteen minutes of paid exercise time a day, we take our employees’ needs, and the needs of their families, into consideration in all that we do.

Why do you love going to work each day?

I love going to work every day because my coworkers are more than coworkers, they are my friends and family. Sure, we put our nose to the grindstone and get our work done each day, but we all take time for laughing, jokes, and catching up as well (and maybe a rubber band fight every now and then!).

How do leaders at Byce build engagement within their teams?

The leaders at Byce build engagement within the team by keeping an open dialogue and making sure everyone knows that their thoughts and opinions matter. Our leaders mentor employees when needed and are always willing to work with our employees to meet the specific needs of their personality and schedule in and outside of work.

How did Byce handle workplace status during COVID-19?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our company started doing “Happy Hours” on our Microsoft Teams group page. Every week we would have the team post pictures, such as a photo with your mom for Mother’s Day or dressed up for Cinco de Mayo, to our group on the Teams app. Everyone got paid for this hour and we would just comment on each other’s pictures and interact this way. We have also worked on new wellness plans to help with people being at home, such as the fifteen minutes of paid time for exercise daily. Byce also bought gift cards from many of the downtown Kalamazoo restaurants and provided them to our employees to support the Kalamazoo community, as well as give employees an extra bonus.

What is one workplace custom or tradition that Byce is particularly proud of?

In September of 2020, we hosted a “mini carnival” for employees to come in and get to see each other and interact with one another, some for the first time since March of that year. We had Pig Out on the Fly food truck, tents, carnival games, tickets, and prizes for the employees. We gave each employee cold brew coffee from a local company, had cake from Bert’s Bakery, and everyone there had a smile on their face. During this event, we also handed out five-, ten-, and twenty-year anniversary gifts to show our appreciation to employees. We now host a smaller monthly employee appreciation event for those who want to stop in and get some treats, play games, and see each other for a bit as most employees are still working from home full-time.

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