The Dieringer Research Group, Inc. Named One of Milwaukee’s Best Places to Work
The Milwaukee Business Journal shared Q&As from the 2020 Best Places to Work winners. Here are the responses from The DRG:
Describe your company culture in five words.
“Collaborative. Growth-oriented. Creative. Fun. Flexible.”
Specific ways you ensure your employees know they are valued.
“The DRG has a thorough recognition system that allows for both spontaneous and formal gestures throughout the year: ‘Shout-outs’ on our intranet’s social site; employee-of-the-month awards; quotes of praise from peers in the annual review process, a generous year-end bonus program, and, at our formal awards banquet, the DRG Annual Gala. We’ve listened closely to our employees, providing them with career-growth and work-life balance opportunities, supported by a comprehensive benefits package and creative scheduling/work location flexibilities in our ‘DRG Work Perx.’ Of our seven core values, ‘Giving to Others Gives Back to Us All,’ and ‘Having Fun Puts a Smile on Work’ help remind us of the bigger picture.
“Our Community Service team programs monthly opportunities to serve our community or to donate to local charities. Our Company Events team programs many fun gatherings throughout the year: a bowling outing, milestone celebration lunches, and an annual ‘Employee Appreciation Week’ full of food, gifts, raffles, and entertainment. This year, instead of ending the week with our typical Brewer outing, we turned it into a month-long celebration and added six virtual lunches, weekly gifts, and a virtual happy hour, all with the goal of spreading appreciation throughout the company.”
What concrete steps do your senior leaders take to create a great work environment for all employees?
“Our culture thrives on connecting our employees to each other and putting a focus on listening and constructive feedback. It is critical to understand other perspectives and our feedback must be direct, kind, honest, and fair. As the DRG mission states, we aim ‘To empower our clients and each other to grow smarter through quality-driven intelligence, collaboration, and creativity.’ This mission and surrounding values help employees feel safe to be themselves and prosper in a rewarding career. Employees who feel valued, recognized, and rewarded are bound to be happy with their jobs. Additionally, goal-oriented initiatives and educational opportunities create the necessary glue in connecting employees to their role. Engaged employees make for excellent customer service; therefore, we closely monitor and improve employee engagement with the feedback of our annual Employee Engagement Survey and resultant action plans. The last measure is connecting employees to leadership and the vision of the company. Employees should feel confident in where the company is headed and the greater impact of their daily contribution along the way. Our managers and leaders strive to be accessible to our staff and communicate with transparency, which is a practice that has especially paid off in the uncertainty of 2020.”
How would you describe your company in 30 seconds to someone you meet at a cocktail party?
“The DRG is a market research firm that has been going strong for 46 years, helping businesses create better products and services, and develop more meaningful brand relationships. All of our wonderful employees are dedicated to our mission of empowering our clients, and each other, to grow smarter through quality-driven intelligence, collaboration, and creativity. We serve clients across many industries including health care and insurance, banking and finance, agencies, and utilities. We offer a broad range of services from CX/EX research to brand awareness and perception, new product development, advertising and communications effectiveness, and market opportunity. The DRG is an inclusive, equitable, and certified Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, and is proud to continually give back to our community through internships and charitable contributions.”
What are some examples of how your company creates opportunities for individual development and career growth at all levels?
“The DRG management team encourages employees to further their development by regularly collaborating with experienced team members, and by taking advantage of both free and fee-based training opportunities. New DRG employees and interns engage in a rich onboarding experience designed to assimilate with company culture and their role and provide tools aimed at their growth and support. The onboarding process involves a company orientation, lunches with leadership and teams, business unit overviews, professional development, and role training. Once they settle in, we seek feedback on their onboarding experience and work to improve the program for future recruits.
“From entry-level positions to directors, employees have weekly meetings with their team and manager, further supported by a culture of selfless leadership, allowing managers to provide constructive feedback to employees as needed. In more formal measures, all DRG employees are given their first performance review at 6 months, and then provided a 360-peer review annually thereafter. The review process seeks manager and peer perspectives on areas of strength, growth opportunities, career opportunities, and personal goals for the coming year. Through internal and third-party training programs, our managers and directors participate in monthly training sessions that strengthen their day-to-day management and leadership skills.”
How does being a Best Places to Work affect your bottom line?
“Our customers take notice when they work with engaged and satisfied employees. We take great pride in our customer service excellence, expert consulting, and quality control. As they say, “happy employees make for happy customers,” and our repeat business and excellent Customer Satisfaction survey results demonstrate how true that statement is. Creating a corporate culture that is both challenging and fun, yet fair and inclusive, results in some marvelous retention stats. Our average tenure is 8.62 and 8.84 years for salaried and hourly employees, respectively.
“We are truly blessed by the dedication of our loyal employees. Much of that loyalty is thanks, in part, to how we’ve worked to craft a culture that makes the work seem less like work and more like competing on a team with your close friends. By creating one of the Best Places to Work, our employees and customers who are quick to refer our business to their colleagues for employment or research needs, have proven to be the best marketing strategy for our bottom line.”
What are the most popular perks you offer to employees?
“Our most popular perks, which are part what we’ve coined as a larger list of ‘DRG Work Perx,’ includes: an additional two hours of holiday time the day prior to a holiday, paid Friday Wellness Walks; an annual budget for charitable donation and sponsorship opportunities to employee-nominated causes; on- and off-site volunteer opportunities to benefit communities with additional volunteer hours for individual use; each spring, an off-site company party, The Annual DRG Gala, which is a dinner, awards, and prize raffle banquet that celebrates employee achievements and creates many laughs and lasting memories with comedy skits and entertainment starring, produced, and arranged by our employees; in fall, we have a week-long fundraiser for the United Way, which includes contests, raffles, and other money-raising activities which includes a day of early shutdown as the entire company goes bowling; and to top it off, a week-long end of summer dedication to the DRG employee – “Employee Appreciation Week” includes daily meals/treats, a breakfast served by the Senior Management Team, gift packs, prize raffles, team building activities and social events, (typically) winding up the week with a Milwaukee Brewers game that is open to all employees and guests.”
What is your remote-work status as a result of the pandemic?
“When the pandemic struck the Midwest and a quarantine was mandated, our teams scrambled to quickly enable remote work opportunities for nearly one-third of our staff that had never previously worked from home. In a few short days, 100% of our staff had the ability to work exclusively from home. Not without significant effort along the way, we are very fortunate and proud to say that we have not had to lay off any employees despite the challenge of 2020. Thanks to the clear and proactive company-wide communication in both our Safer-at-Home and Safe-at-Work programs, along with significant investment in technology, we’ve been able to maintain productivity and foster peace-of-mind, whether working from the office or from home.
“As of today, we are allowing those employees who feel more comfortable and productive from home, to stay home. For those that decide to come to the office to work, we have plenty of space for social distancing and have comprehensive resources and guidelines in place to reduce the potential for any unhealthy exposure to the Coronavirus.”
What is your biggest work-from-home lesson learned?
“We learned it takes a lot of effort to stay connected as a culture when the workforce is suddenly forced apart, huddling in their homes, and reacting to an unprecedented pandemic in their own personal, unique way. Although a few of our employees have always worked exclusively from home, not everyone enjoys that arrangement. While work-from-home can swing the pendulum in work-life balance, our internal survey found struggles with effective communication, a lack of privacy or comfort, or isolation, and unwelcome feelings. We found we must seek to understand what employees are experiencing and find ways to help them feel connected and supported and suggest methods to self-assist with home-life distractions and uncertainty.
“We increased the frequency and quality of face-to-face communication and harnessed virtual technology. We distributed frequent newsletters from senior management, changed our all-staff meetings to monthly, and started holding virtual lunches to allow people to casually connect like we used to do at the office. For those employees that enjoyed the reduced distraction, commute, and social challenges of working in an office, we’re now looking to extend our Work-From-Home Program and other scheduling flexibility in our collection of DRG Work Perx.”
To read the full article visit: https://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee
MILWAUKEE, WI, SEPTEMBER 29, 2020 – The Dieringer Research Group, Inc. (The DRG), a full-service marketing research consulting firm, based in Brookfield, WI, is excited to announce that the company has been selected as one of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Best Places to Work for 2020. This year, the program received nearly 180 nominations from companies with 10 or more full-time employees across Southeast Wisconsin.
“We are very honored to be receiving this award,” said Lanie Johnson, President and CEO of The DRG. “Our management team places a high importance on creating a thriving, collaborative company culture, but it’s the passion, dedication, and growth-oriented mindset of our amazing employees that brings that culture to life every day. They are truly what makes The DRG a great place to work.”
Over the last five years, The DRG’s leadership has made it a priority to focus on ways to enrich the company culture, including refining the company mission, vision, and core values. While each core value reflects a key aspect of The DRG’s personality, “Having Fun Puts a Smile on Work” is one that’s particularly meaningful to employees. Whether gathering together for a themed lunch, celebrating life’s milestones, or participating in creative group activities during all-staff meetings, The DRG is always looking for ways to have fun and connect more personally with each other.
Recognizing the tremendous contribution each individual brings to the company is also a big part of The DRG culture. Each September, the company celebrates employees by hosting fun activities, with gifts, raffles, special recognitions, and surprises.
The DRG is deeply committed to creating a workplace that fosters a healthy work/life balance, open communication, and continuous professional development. All employees, from the CEO to the most recent new hire, play a part in this goal and are encouraged to share ways the company can continue to evolve and grow. The company is extremely proud of the successes it has achieved and the great honor it is to win this award.