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Top Companies Spotlight Winner: Hyatt Regency Phoenix Celebrates Diversity

July 16, 2013

Top Companies Spotlight Winner :

Hyatt Regency Phoenix Celebrates Diversity

Taking pride in meaningful employment

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Shannon Damazio works to ensure that the culture of the Hyatt Regency Phoenix is a diverse and inclusionary one.

“Diversity is the mix and inclusion is making the mix work,” says Damazio, recruitment manager for the downtown Phoenix landmark, which was recognized as an Employer in Support of the Guard and Reserve by the Arizona Committee for ESGR and a Mature Worker Friendly Employer by the Office of the Arizona Governor.

To ensure the hotel is recruiting individuals with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, Damazio partners with non- profit organizations, educational institutions and federally funded programs. Last year she attended a dozen recruitment events and hosted a “Recruiter Summit” this spring. She also partners with organizations like the Department of Economic Security, U.S. Veteran’s Initiative and House of Hope to lead workshops in an effort to assist job seekers in finding meaningful employment. The hotel even offered a summer job program last summer for low-income high school students and hosted 15 Valley eighth-graders who shadowed the culinary team for a day.

“We want to reach out and communicate all the opportunities that are here,” Damazio says.

Read the full article as it appeared in the June 23rd, 2013 Arizona Republic click here. 


Homeowners Financial Group

July 16, 2013

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It’s good to be a ‘Homie’    


Originally published in the June 23, 2013 AZ Republic Top Companies

Everyone wants a workplace where they’re surrounded by friends—or “homies,” to use common slang.

The team members at Homeowners Financial Group are fortunate enough to be in that situation, as every one of them is a Homie. That is, after all, the award-winning mortgage firm’s affectionate term for a team member.

“Everyone holds a sense of pride being a Homie,” says Caroline Hetyei, director of corporate culture, who notes there are presently 142 full-time and 10 part-time team members. “HFG is really just like a big family. I know it’s cliché, but we really are.”

Founded in 2004 and with corporate headquarters in Scottsdale, HFG has locations throughout Arizona and one office in Los Angeles. In spite of the rapid growth that has doubled the firm’s size over the last year, Hetyei says the company’s “incomparable” culture has remained steadfast. HFG offers health, dental, disability and life insurance as well as a vision discount and a 401(k) plan. Flexible work schedules and work-from-home options are available and there’s an open-door management policy.

Top Companies to Work for in Arizona

July 2, 2013

Creating a stronger economic engine for Arizona by recognizing  successful companies.

by Paula Hubbs Cohen Originally published in the June 23, 2013 AZ Republic Top Companies.

Working in close collaboration, CareerBuilder, Republic Media and BestCompaniesAZ have produced the first annual 2013 CareerBuilder’s Top Companies to Work for in Arizona program. The only statewide program of its kind, this initiative has been designed to identify companies that have achieved top rankings in employer practices as well as employee engagement and satisfaction scores.

“Our goal is to ignite the power of collaboration and to recognize organizations that are creating quality jobs and work environments that make Arizona a better place for our workforce,” said Ryan Mote, director of recruitment advertising for CareerBuilder and Republic Media.
“This program is providing us with new benchmarks for employers relating to their human resources practices and benefits that are attracting and retaining talent in today’s market.”


Approximately six years ago, Republic Media was searching for a partner to help evaluate

top companies in Arizona dedicated to women’s leadership initiatives. Born out of that research was AZ Magazine’s Top 25 Workplaces for Women.

“Since that time, the goal has been to grow the program to a statewide level and broaden the scope to include all companies,” said Cami Kaiser, general manager of Republic Media Custom Publishing and Magazines. “As we evolved to Top Companies to Work for in Arizona, we stayed true to our roots by folding in a category identifying 10 companies that exemplify strong initiatives to grow women leaders in their organization.” See page 19.

Important partnerships

To produce Top Companies to Work for in Arizona, CareerBuilder, which is published by The Arizona Republic, partnered
with BestCompaniesAZ, an Arizona- based consulting firm that specializes in identifying, developing and promoting best companies.

Kaiser noted that BestCompaniesAZ has been at the forefront of these types of programs for more than a decade. “In fact, BestCompaniesAZ introduced the first workplace award program to Phoenix in 2003 in partnership with the Great Place to Work Institute which is Fortune Magazine’s partner,” she said, adding that BestCompaniesAZ was integral to AZ Magazine’s Top 25 Workplaces for Women program. “Our two companies strongly believe that by identifying the companies that strengthen our local economies, we will be an integral force in promoting Arizona as a leading state in top jobs.”

In addition to partnering with BestCompaniesAZ, the program’s research and survey partner is Best Companies Group (BCG), a national research firm that specializes in identifying great places to work. Using state-of-the-art surveys and technology, BCG conducts programs on national, statewide, regional and industry stages.

Economic impact

As the competition for employees begins to intensify in 2013 and companies begin to ramp up hiring, being named one of the Top Companies will serve as a positive employer branding, recruitment and retention tool, said Denise Gredler, Founder and CEO of BestCompaniesAZ, LLC. “With award-winning companies becoming part of a movement to make Arizona a first-choice state in which to work, we are positively impacting our local economy and increasing the opportunities for Arizona employers to attract the high-quality talent that businesses need to succeed and to be a competitive force in the local, national and global marketplace,” Gredler said.

Culture Is a Magnet (and So Is Free Food!)

June 26, 2013

Originally posted on WorldatWork

June 25, 2013—Scottsdale, Ariz.WorldatWork recently served as the Strategic HR Partner for the inaugural “CareerBuilder Top Companies to Work for in Arizona” awards program. WorldatWork was chosen to be the HR partner primarily to provide input and guidance to the employer questionnaire. The program’s goal is to provide new benchmarks for employers relating to the HR practices and benefits that are attracting and retaining talent in today’s market.

In all, 50 companies were recognized as a CareerBuilder Top Companies to Work For in Arizona based on a proprietary scoring system by Best Companies Group: 75% of the evaluation was based on the overall satisfaction scores from the employee engagement surveys and 25% on the scores obtained from the online employer questionnaire.

Peter Burke, president of Best Companies Group, reported that the aggregate employee engagement score for the cadre of Top Companies was 92% compared to the national average of 41%. Clearly, top companies know a thing or two about employee engagement.

Culture is more important than strategy for any business,” said Frank Hynes, vice president of talent acquisition at Charles Schwab. “Culture is a magnet,” he emphasized.  “Of course, free food is also a magnet,” he said jokingly.

Hynes later told me, “Everything a company does–marketing, new products, research, and so on—can be replicated by the competition in under two years but a culture takes 7-10 years to replicate. You can’t simply say, I want a culture like Google’s and expect to have it in just a few years.”

Based on the nomination forms, employers of all sizes are defining and investing in their own special cultures. Here are a few noteworthy practices:

  • At KPMG, female employees receive golf lessons, financial coaching, even a wardrobe consultant through a program called KNOW — KPMG’s Network of Women, a program aimed to improve retention rates of women. Our very own Kathie Lingle helped to launch KNOW when she worked for KPMG earlier in her career.
  • At AxoSoft (a developer of “Scrum” software used for project management), after one year of employment, employees receive a trip for two anywhere in the U.S. After five years, the trip is for anywhere in the world.
  • Hyatt Regency employees receive a free continental breakfast and hot lunch 7 days a week.
  • Stardust Non-Profit Building Services gives employees their birthdays off with pay.
  • Charles Schwab and Alliance Financial Resources give employees eight hours/year to volunteer in the community.

One of the goals of the Top Companies awards program is to foster a healthy competitive spirit among organizations, so let’s get started: what effective, new practices do you have bragging rights to that might top the ones I’ve listed?  Feel free to toot your horn here.

Closing the Two-Week Gap

May 16, 2013

After all those interviews, you’ve finally found the right candidate, and you have a signed offer. Yay! Onboarding starts immediately, even if the candidate doesn’t. It’s great when your new hire can start right away, but more often there’s a two-week time lapse between signed offer and start date.

A lot can happen once the offer is signed. It’s a scary time for candidates, since they haven’t yet built a strong connection to your organization. They’re likely still being pursued by headhunters and other employers. There may be a strong counteroffer from the current employer. The hiring manager’s role during the gap can be crucial in converting a signed offer into a new hire. Here are a few ideas for hiring managers at best companies:

•Ask the newbie to lunch with some of your team and/or others who act as ambassadors for your culture. They’ll start feeling like they belong.

•Call them a week after the offer is signed. Check in to see how they’re doing, fill them in on the basics of what they’ll be doing in their first week, create a sense of anticipation. Ask if you can answer any questions.

•Reiterate exactly why you chose them, point out the one or two specific reasons you thought they stood out from other candidates. Reinforce the connection between their skills, experience, attitude and work ethic and the job they’ll be doing.

•Make sure they understand your company’s competitive advantage and why your company is a great workplace.

Do you have other ideas for closing the two-week gap? Please share.

Health and Wealth Raffle’s Good Works

April 15, 2013


You could win a million dollars by supporting the Health & Wealth Raffle to benefit St. Joseph’s Hospital & Barrow Neurological Institute.

The raffle is more than prizes. Dollars raised go to support the advancement of medical education, research and patient care for the amazing works of Barrow Neurological Institute and St. Joseph’s Hospital. Learn more here.

About St. Joseph’s Hospital

St. Joseph’s Hospital is a not-for-profit hospital founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1895. Today, the Sisters of Mercy work to ensure that St. Joseph’s never forgets its original mission: meeting the medical needs of the community with compassion and dignity. Learn more.

About Barrow Neurological Institute

Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s is an internationally renowned medical center for brain and spine diseases, disorders and injuries. In just five decades, Barrow has grown to become a worldwide leader offering patient care, medical education and research in the neurosciences. Learn more.




How Many Tickets Should You Buy? Take The Quiz.


With more than 2,000 amazing prizes that include extravagant trips, unique experiences and grand prizes of $1,000,000 in cash, $250,000 in cash and a 2013 Mercedes CLS550, there’s nothing quite like the Health & Wealth Raffle. Learn more here.

Meet your neighbor: WorldatWork, the Total Rewards association

March 4, 2013

Many of you may know WorldatWork by its original name, American Compensation Association. The name changed 12 years ago because the Scottsdale-based nonprofit HR association is no longer just American, it’s global, and it has expanded to offer benefits and work-life training and certification in addition to compensation.  For ease of reference, WorldatWork refers to compensation, benefits and work-life programs as “total rewards.”

Total rewards are the monetary and non-monetary returns provided to employees in exchange for their time, talents, efforts and results. Total rewards involve the deliberate integration of programs and practices that effectively attract, motivate and retain the talent required to achieve desired business results.


Who should be a member?

If you are a human resources professional responsible for strategies and tactics to engage and motivate employees, then WorldatWork is for you.  Here are the five types of professionals in our membership base and a brief description of each:

  • Compensation professionals work to reward employees fairly and appropriately.
  • Executive compensation professionals ensure that the multitude of complex and interrelated executive compensation issues and challenges are considered, as they design an effective program to attract, motivate and retain leaders to carry their organization through any economy.
  • Sales compensation professionals bridge the gap between management and its sales force to develop accurate and fair sales compensation plans that will win the support of the sales team, as well as achieve overall organizational goals.
  • Benefits professionals make sure workers can focus on their jobs by providing programs that protect their families’ health, welfare and finances.
  • Work-life professionals serve as organizational change agents implementing and communicating the business impacts of practices at the four-way intersection of work, family, community and self.

Join us for this FREE webinar

Compensation Outlook 2013: Trends, Practices and Drivers of Change

March 19, 2013 | 10:00 a.m. Mountain Time