Creating an environment where everyone feels valued and appreciated
Treating people with respect should be a no-brainer. But that’s something Marsha Murray, founder and president of Houston-based Murray Resources, found lacking while working at some other staffing firms before starting her own in 1988.
“I started Murray Resources because I loved the recruiting business, but I didn’t necessarily like the day-to-day practices of many of the firms in our industry,” Murray says. Not returning phone calls in a timely manner is one example she cites; Murray Resources has a “24-hour rule,” all emails and phone calls get returned within 24 hours. Murray believes attention to small details like this set the company apart.
Her overall vision was simple: Create an environment where everyone feels respected — candidates, employers and internal employees. But recruiters at the firm also go that extra mile, beyond just trying to place workers: “If we can’t help a candidate, we’re not only up-front with them, but we also provide them with a lead, résumé tips, and/or something else of value, so they’re in a better place than they were before we met.”
The firm operates in 10 locations in Texas and places direct hire, contract and temp workers in the technical, light industrial and professional segments. And while Murray Resources’ size — fewer than 50 employees — may play a part in keeping employees engaged, the circle of respect at the center of Murray’s vision encompasses employees in ways that they find particularly motivational.
One of Murray’s priorities when she started the firm was giving employees the flexibility to be a full-time career person while being a fulltime parent.
“I wanted to build a place where employees knew that I not only valued their time with their families, but prioritized it. We shouldn’t feel guilty about taking our child to school or leaving early to attend a big game.”
Managing Director Keith Wolf echoes that sentiment: “Most of our employees are earning more than they’ve ever earned before — while still maintaining a healthy work/life balance. That’s important to us. We’re in it with them for the long term and we want them to be their best selves both at work and at home,” says Wolf.
Murray’s vision has not only led to success for the company and a workplace employees enjoy and value, it’s formed a closeknit group of colleagues who are also very much like family to one another.
“We have fun together,” says Accounts Receivables Analyst Kathleen Green. “Whether an after-hours get-together for team building or just sharing something hilarious, the laughter brings us together. The management is hands-on, inspiring and motivating — that makes us feel indeed like a family, and a family takes care of each other.”
A Distinctive Touch
Unique is a word that surfaces frequently when Murray Resources employees discuss company culture and employee engagement. It goes beyond the goal of hiring highly motivated, intelligent, team-oriented employees.
Murray Resources’ culture allows many personalities to thrive and succeed simultaneously, points out Senior Business Development Manager Lauren LaBauve. The firm’s leaders are genuinely enthusiastic about their team, employees say; they share in the professional and personal successes of each team member and encourage companywide team spirit.
What sets Murray Resources apart is that it “infuses goal achievement with a culture of celebration to create a positive, productive working environment,” says Career Consultant Jessica Jordan Richardson. It’s easy to remain motivated when your contributions are recognized and you know you are valued as a professional and individual, she says.
Little Details, Big Results
One of the aspects Murray Resources employees seem to value greatly is the opportunity to give input on how to improve processes. Wolf feels that’s integral to the business. “Many of our best ideas have come from employees themselves — from our weekly power hours, to the way we structure our morning team board meetings, to our monthly all-team trainings and social happy hours,” he says.
Wolf says the company conducts annual surveys and uses the feedback to continually improve the organization. One year, he said, even though the company received almost perfect scores from its employees, it identified a consistent area of concern — medical benefits — and worked to address it. “Our management team worked alongside HR to analyze all the available options and we were able to deliver new plan options that effectively addressed the needs of our team.” Regular goal checkpoints are key as well, making it easy for employees to stay aligned and stay motivated.
Of course, a generous sprinkling of recognition and rewards certainly helps keep Murray Resources employees engaged. Companywide congratulatory emails are sent out to those who close great deals or receive a glowing review on the company website. Birthdays, anniversaries, volunteer work, promotions and other achievements are all celebrated.
There are great commission opportunities, and promotions are received based on revenue generation milestones — and usually come with higher commissions and bonuses. The company has small contests as incentives, plus an annual Winner’s Circle, which offers the recipient gift package options (a weekend getaway, a furniture shopping spree, an electronics package) for exceeding his or her annual goal.
Murray Resources employees also enjoy happy hours, group outings, team trainings, holiday parties and other get-togethers that enrich their team bond. And “Half-off Fridays” are offered to those who reach their monthly goal. “We are motivated to do well for a company that allows a Friday afternoon with family or friends when you’ve got the job done!” LaBauve says.
Building Relationships at Work, Outside
Among a dazzling array of accolades for the firm and its founder, Murray Resources has been named one of Houston’s Best and Brightest Places to Work For as recently as 2017 — further testament of how well the team interacts and motivates each other.
For her part, Murray notes how proud she feels when she looks around the company and sees how many employees — obviously long-term — have built families during their time there. “To see them come to work every day, have success, and build a fulfilling life for themselves gives me tremendous joy.”