Is your company a great place to work? Anthony Wilder Design/Build, in Cabin John, Md., is and the company has won an award to prove it. This 20-year-old business was recently recognized as a Top Small Company Workplace by Winning Workplaces, an organization dedicated to helping small businesses create high-performance workplaces. In giving this award, Winning Workplaces looks for companies that have built corporate cultures that foster a productive work environment and satisfied employees.

Winning Workplaces president, Gaye van den Hombergh, says, “Our goal is to help companies understand why they should build a great workplace, inspire them to begin, and provide the education and resources they need to accomplish this goal. We truly believe that building a great workplace is better for people, for the company, and for society at large.”

The leaders at Winning Workplaces believe that these winning workplace cultures share six fundamental characteristics:

Trust, Respect, & Fairness: This is set at the top of the organization, van den Hombergh says. “A culture of trust means that everyone will have more honest conversations, will challenge one another, and people will be willing to take more risks together. This can give any company an edge.”

Open Communication: From management to employees, from employees to management, and across different work units of the organization, open communication is empowering.

Anthony Wilder Design/Build president, Liz Wilder, says, “We were very open about how the economy was affecting the company. Everyone knew what was going on and they were all involved in making important decisions, like having everyone take a pay cut so that our great team could stay intact.”

Rewards & Recognition: Employees are sufficiently rewarded and recognized in monetary and non-monetary ways for their contributions and accomplishments. “Recognition can be one-on-one with a supervisor, a public mention in a company meeting, or a note in a newsletter. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive — just sincere,” van den Hombergh says.

Learning & Development: There are opportunities for employees to develop new skills and to advance in the organization as their performance and desire dictate. “[High-performance] business leaders understand how important it is to continually invest and develop their staff. Even if they don’t have the money to invest in outside training,” van den Hombergh says.

Teamwork & Involvement: Employees feel that they have the opportunity to contribute directly to the organization’s success and to the larger community.

Work/Life Balance: The organization’s policies, practices, and culture affirmatively help employees balance the competing demands of work and family.

“Winning this award gave all of our employees a sense of pride that what we’re working so hard to build has been recognized,” Liz says. “It’s a great feeling. We want to shout it from the mountaintop!”

--Victoria Downing is president of Remodelers Advantage, a national company that gives remodelers the tools to achieve consistent profitability and success through one-on-one consulting, the Roundtables peer program, and an online learning community, Advantage Associates, 301.490.5620.;