The Wiginton Way - Entrusted, not Entitled
When it comes time to fill our leadership positions, we look inside before we look outside. Developing the People Pipeline is a key metric that we use to measure all of our management at all levels. Every employee we bring on board has the opportunity to rise to higher levels. The majority of our executive team and branch managers started their careers with us. Many as helpers. We offer multiple career paths and opportunities for advancement and relocation.
Loyalty and Longevity is Honored and Rewarded
Some people call us a throwback because we are the type of company where people can spend their entire career with us. Our average employee has been with the company for more than 10 years. Many employees have been here 20, 30 and even 40 years. Each year, we honor those who have served the company with service awards. This is a tradition started by Joe Wiginton and continues to this day. Shared experiences and shared successes are a big part of who we are. The People Pipeline is a big contributor to this since we encourage advancement and new opportunities. We also share success in meaningful ways. This includes our benefits, incentive pay, truck awards, and our employee stock ownership plan (ESOP).
100% Employee Ownership
In 2007, we became 100% employee-owned. The Wiginton family and minority shareholders sold their shares back to the company to create our ESOP plan. Each year, stock is allocated to all eligible employees provided they worked 1,000 in that year and are employed on the last day of the year. That’s it. Do your job and we will give you an ownership stake in the company. It’s as easy as that. Then again, it isn’t so easy. As employee owners, we have expectations of ourselves and our fellow employee-owners to deliver on our core values of quality, integrity, dedication and innovation. Here, taking ownership isn’t just an idea, it’s reality.
Ownership also means pride. Pride in our work, pride in our reputation, and pride in our appearance.
Continuous Growth and Learning
Everything starts with the apprenticeship program. We expect all our helpers to go to school and complete their apprenticeship program. Learning doesn’t stop there. Cross-training of service technicians to learn multiple disciplines, foremen learning CAD and becoming designers, designers learning estimating and sales, NICET certifications; these are all examples of continuous learning and improvement that we strive for at all levels. Not everyone’s path is the same, but we insist that everyone is on a journey.
A Tradition of Servant Leadership and Giving Back
From the very beginning, Joe Wiginton shared ownership, profits, and responsibility. This tradition was continued when Don and Alan Wiginton assumed leadership and continues to this day. While a management structure is necessary for organization and getting things done, we have never been a company of top down leadership. All of our managers go through Servant Leadership training because we believe that to lead is to serve. A successful company is one where employees have the tools, instruction and freedom to be successful. Also, no one is afraid to do what needs to be done, regardless of their job title or position. Having so many home-grown leaders also creates a natural understanding of what it’s like to walk in another’s shoes.
Wiginton has always given back to our industry and to our communities. Whether donating fire sprinkler systems to worthy causes like Kid’s House or donating time and money to causes through our Wiginton Warriors group, we serve. We also have a tradition of giving back to our local and National industry groups as a commitment to our mission of protecting lives and property.
The Wiginton Way - People Over Process
In 2010, Alan Wiginton challenged all employees in the company to do a 5K with him. 5Ks were chosen and in that first year, there were relatively few who answered the call. Steve Browne led the Warriors charge and eventually thanks to early participants such as Willie Ward, Bobby Taylor, Jasaan Arruda, Robert Cariveau, Michelle Duckett, and Sheri McCall, the Warriors started to take off.
It’s been more than a decade, and we’ve had hundreds of employees and their spouses participate in Wiginton Warrior events. Though COVID has limited our ability to get together, we’ve held 3 virtual events including our 1st Annual Wiginton Warrior Holiday Classic 5K. The Warriors events not only give us the opportunity to exercise and improve our physical fitness, they are also a way that employees from different offices can get to know each other. Many friendships and collaborations have started from participation in Wiginton Warrior events.
Camaraderie has always been part of who we are. We don’t demand that people be friends, but we find that it just happens naturally. We give plenty of opportunities to foster those friendships. In addition to our Warrior events that bring everyone together, branches have team lunches, weekend camping trips, fishing trips, picnics, and theme park outings.
Holiday Party Tradition
In 1968, we held our first holiday party. This began a tradition of getting everyone together to celebrate the year, our success, and to honor employee loyalty. When we were a smaller company, it was easier to get everyone together every year. With offices in 3 states and employees potentially working anywhere in the United States, it’s difficult for us to do this every year, but we try to do this every three years. That way, we continue to carry on the tradition and help everyone to understand that even though you might work in an office with 3 or 4 people, you work for a much larger company of people like you who want to celebrate your dedication and hard work.