As the People Platform, we always have customers in the front of our minds. We like to hear what they love, what they want to see more of, and what we can improve on. This week, we talked with a customer whose approach to building his business, product, services, and team starts with one unifying concept: always do the right thing for the right reasons.
And guess what? It’s working.
Eric Edelson, the CEO of Fireclay Tile, has helped scale a 32-year-old business from 20 employees to 150 in just a few years. In the process, he’s turned the business from a tile manufacturer to a one-stop, “dirt to doorstep” creator, distributor, and vertically-integrated sales organization. He’s also gotten Fireclay certified as a B Corp, meaning that the company has met rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
What’s his and his team’s secret to success? It turns out that one of the keys to doing the right thing is measurement and analysis. Measuring success necessitates a tool.
We sat down with Eric to hear what he had to say about using Zenefits, Fireclay’s system of record for benefits, payroll, HR, time & attendance, and onboarding.
Eric: We use Zenefits’ business intelligence and reporting all the time. We can pull detailed information and run analyses much faster than before. So when we want to introduce new benefits or increase contributions, we know the financial impact it will have.
This includes foundational things like health, dental, and 401k contributions, which are now much easier for us to measure and for our employees to access. We can see who is enrolled or not enrolled in benefits and help educate our employees to increase enrollment and increase satisfaction with their packages.
We look at pay across teams and by gender to ensure we are paying fairly. We also compare our base pay to local fair living wages using MIT’s Fair Living Wage Calculator to ensure we are paying a living wage at a minimum. This has helped us increase wages over 50 percent on average for the Fireclay team over the past four years.
We have a continuously updating employee roster on Zenefits for fast, easy communication. This feature is truly invaluable, not only because our roster changes so frequently, but also because most of our employees don’t have Fireclay email addresses. With this feature, we can quickly pull a current roster and send a mass email to all team members, ensuring we keep everyone informed. Before this feature, communication was much more complex, largely paper-based and slow. We also do fun things like track shirt and sweatshirt sizes for swag for employees and their kids.
Eric: We didn’t. We tried building our own system in Salesforce, but it was too challenging to maintain and it wasn’t nearly as robust as what we have in Zenefits. The information was always wrong and out of date. Given that our headcount is 7.5 times larger than it was in 2009, we need a system that scales with us.
Eric: It’s actually quite simple. We record and review the data to ensure we are paying fairly across genders for similar roles and experience levels. We also ensure we have a strong balance of genders across all roles and levels to mirror our customers. Our client base is majority female, so 66 percent of our leadership team is female, 77 percent of our non-production team is female, and over 45 percent of our company overall is female. We still have work to do on balancing our board of directors, which is currently four men, but we’re making progress.
Eric: Being a B Corp is huge for us. It holds us accountable to metrics beyond profit or cash flow. It pushes us to be a better business and use business as a force for good. It allows us to measure ourselves against the best of the best, such as Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia, and helps us improve each and every day.
For more on The Fireclay Tile Story, check out their success video, here: