Ken Branum joined Wallside Windows as a summer gig many summers ago.
He’s been there ever since. That kind of longevity isn’t exactly typical.
In January 2016, the median number of years workers stayed with their current employer was listed as 4.2 - according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here at Wallside Windows, employees stick with our company for much longer than that. Branum has been with the Factory for 37 years. He’s never even looked for another job. And he isn’t alone.
Carrie McClung, an installation coordinator, joined the Wallside family in February of 1991 and stayed.
“I have had other job offers, but for some reason could not say yes because I liked working here,” McClung says.
Dave Ball, Wallside’s operations manager, recently marked 30 years with the company. When asked why they stayed, both McClung and Branum are quick to point out that it’s the family-oriented environment.
That comes from the top.
Co-Owner Stanford Blanck arrives at the office every day at 7 a.m. - the same routine he’s had for 40 years. He makes it his business to know what’s going on at Wallside and to talk to everyone.
It’s always been Wallside’s intent to be family-oriented, Blanck said. That’s also where his son Adam Blanck comes in. Adam has added to the family atmosphere by organizing activities such as costume contests that bring the staff together.
McClung was 29 when she started in the former location in Detroit working the phones. After working at the Taylor facility for a while, she joined the installation department.
“My years at Wallside has always felt like family,” she said, adding that there is an open-door policy. And like any family there will be arguments: “At times we’ve agreed and disagreed but mainly we work together as a team. (The owners) have always been good to me.”
Wallside prides itself on customer service. Stanford Blanck’s motto - which he got from his dad, Founder Martin Blanck - is that the customer is always right. Few home improvement companies take care of their customers like Wallside does.
If a customer has a complaint, they don’t have to go through levels of employees — they can talk to Stanford Blanck on the phone. That accessibility extends to employees and has helped foster a loyal culture.
The employees “don't have to go through 10 layers of people,” Stanford said. “They see me every day. I'm always available.”
Branum agreed. “They call you by your name and not by badge number.”
When employees share an idea, the owners and managers are receptive to exploring it, even giving employees a pat on the back for that, Branum said.
Branum started his career building windows. He worked his way around the shop now leading the maintenance department. No matter, he plans to stay and to retire from Wallside.