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Company values define McMurry: An Arizona Most Admired Company

March 29, 2011

What makes a company the Most Admired in Arizona? When it comes to McMurry, a 2010 award-winner, it stands out because it operates on the principles of ethics, excellence, innovation, leadership, service, social responsibility and teamwork. They believe they cannot have a great company without having employees who are happy and thrive in the work environment.

McMurry operates on a unique culture of hiring “8s.” What does this mean and what is the rationale behind hiring 8s?  “We hire 8s – because an ‘8’ is a star.” Their reasoning is that a “10” is perfect and a “9” is someone who comes along once in a generation—like Michael Jordan. “8s” are star players who work according to McMurry’s 8 values, which are the foundation of the culture and what many staff members say is the best thing about working there.

The values under which the company operates create a culture in which people are a part of something bigger than their individual jobs:

  • Part of a family
  • On the cutting edge of technology and communications
  • Decisions that impact people, organizations and industries
  • Have fun while contributing to the company

The 8 McMurry Company Values are:

1. Do the Right Thing

2. Help One Another

3. Deliver Raving Service

4. Produce Quality Always

5. Exceed Expectations

6. Embrace Change

7. Accept Social Responsibility

8. Earn a Reasonable Profit

Employees at McMurry – who average five years longevity – can take advantage of up to 64 unique benefits, including: flextime, telecommuting, profit-sharing, $3,000 staff referral bonuses and on-site services and amenities such as a car wash, dry cleaning, shoe and purse repair, UPS shipping station, an ATM, showers and a gym.

The goal for every one of the close to 170 staff members at McMurry is to help keep it the best place to work. To ensure this, the Best/Worst Survey is conducted each year. It quantifies satisfaction on a 1-5 scale and asks a variety of questions. Questions include asking if McMurry is the best job of their career. What do they like most and least about working at McMurry? This provides management qualitative feedback.

Consistently, the top favorite things are the people, values and culture. The top “worsts” are not consistent, and management addresses those items within one week of the survey results being publicized. The survey has led to many improvements, ranging from a $4.5 million office renovation, to improved health insurance, to the company’s logo, to more healthy food being available, and everything in between. The survey helps staff trust the leaders because, big or small, McMurry always addresses the “worsts.”

The company’s founder, Preston McMurry Jr. has a background in hospital marketing (he wrote the nations’ first healthcare ad campaign in 1972). He boasts illustrious and awe-inspiring work in fundraising for domestic violence nonprofits and founded and leads one of the top U.S. marketing communications companies.

Preston’s son, Chris McMurry, joined the company in 1990 as its first salesperson and the father and son duo grew the business exponentially. The company has received many accolades including: The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year. Preston was named Man of the Year by East Valley Child Crisis Center, an Honored Entrepreneurial Fellow from the Entrepreneurial Fellows – University of Arizona and given the Souls Afire, 83rd Congress Community Service Award. In 2002, he was named the Greater Arizona AFP Philanthropist of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

To keep staff motivated, Preston speaks with each new group of staff members about the company’s values four times a year. This helps new staff understand why McMurry operates on a values-based system, where the values came from, how they’ve evolved and how they’ve changed staff members’ lives.

Chris has maintained the values and “best place to work culture” at McMurry. Practices like employee engagement surveys and the Teamwork Survey and asking questions through his internal blog named “Conversations with Chris.”  He understands the success of McMurry lies in its people.

McMurry has been rewarded for this understanding with yearly awards from the Great Place to Work Institute, consistent No. 1 rankings on the Phoenix Business Journal lists and ambitious, committed, talented staff (the average tenure at McMurry is nearly five years).

McMurry also has two charitable armsTheresa’s Fund and McMurry Charities.  In 2007, the company established a five-year goal to give $1 million to charities. At the end of 2009, they’d given $850,915. At the five-year mark, it appears the company will exceed $1.3 million.

As part of its commitment to community service, McMurry undertook two high-profile in-kind gifts. They created a 376-page hardcover coffee table book for the 50th anniversary of Phoenix Art Museum and an award-winning marketing campaign for UMOM New Day Centers that played an important role in its $18 million capital campaign and relocation of 403 homeless Valley families into a new shelter.

In addition to taking care of its employees, McMurry also takes care of the environment through its Big Green program. Its mission is to become a recognized leader in financially sustainable environmental stewardship. To achieve this goal, the company pioneers meaningful initiatives that reduce waste and energy consumption, protects biodiversity and conserves precious resources—and encourages our staff, partners, peer groups and customers to do the same.

Through Big Green programs McMurry saved 418,034 pounds of greenhouse gases in 2009 and has recycled 96,220 pounds of paper since the Green programs inception. Go Green encourages clients to print content marketing materials on recycled paper.  Carbon Challenge awards staff members who track their individual green activities. Trackable green activities include purchasing an energy friendly appliance or regularly carpooling.

One of the 8 Values is Deliver Raving Customer Service.  Customers include customers, co-workers, colleagues, vendors and the community. It’s one of the things McMurry staff does best. McMurry believes that happy staff will produce happy clients.

To gauge the raving service delivery rates, McMurry surveys clients. At McMurry, it’s said that, “What gets measured, gets done,” so if a client’s satisfaction level is measured, it’s likely the client will continue to be extremely satisfied.

Applications are being accepted for the 2011 AZ Most Admired Companies through June 15. If you’d like your company to be considered, check out the application process and let us know what sets your company apart from others in Arizona.

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