Among all honors and awards our company has received, the Washington Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” recognition means the most because we received it as a result of our employees’ votes.

Despite the company having received the honor four times, I frequently ask our employees, especially new employees, what we as a company can do to make The Bozzuto Group a better place to work.

I ask this because I believe that we can constantly be improving. I also recognize that, as the CEO, I have the least idea of what it’s like to be an employee of The Bozzuto Group of anyone who works here. The problem is that the answers I get are always a little like taking a warm bath when you’ve got a cold; it feels good but I know I’m not any better afterward.

People always say that they can’t think of anything we can do to make this a better place to work, that we’re wonderful, that we’re so much better than the last place they worked. While that’s all nice to hear, it’s not terribly helpful in making this place better.

So, this experience leads me to two different places, or ideas, about what I want to do in this entree to the blog.

First, I will assume that people are not just “kissing up,” and reflect on why this actually might be a pretty special place to work and what that says about you, about all of us. I think there are several parts to this.

I suspect people feel in general that our compensation and benefits are reasonable. I’ll bet people feel pretty good about what we do for a living. How can you not feel good about being part of an enterprise that provides extraordinary housing and housing services to so many people? In addition, I bet that people are proud to work in a company that is committed to passionately pursuing perfection through the creative use of our energy in providing those housing services. I also suspect people feel pretty good about working for a company that is respectful of our community, our environment, and our planet.

But, I think the foundation of why people are proud to work at The Bozzuto Group is that we all treat each other with concern, with respect, perhaps even like members of the same family. And this is true in every part of our company.

I have watched with pride as old-time construction superintendents mentor new employees. I have watched with admiration as people in accounting and administrative positions go out of their way to help one another in times of distress or personal need. I have watched in amazement as people in management have welcomed the birth of their colleague’s new baby as if they were welcoming a niece or nephew. And I could go on with examples, but I’m sure you get my point.

However, and this is the second place I come out after getting all these pleasant answers to my question, it is possible that people are blowing in my ear when they say that they can’t think of ways we can improve the company. It’s also possible, especially since many of those I ask are new to the company, that people are intimidated or just don’t believe I really am looking for an answer.

SO! (Did you ever notice how Generation Y begins every sentence with the word “so”? Well, if they will allow me, I will borrow it.) So, I invite you to use this blog to give me your honest opinion on how we might improve the company. Please, don’t just say “pay more.” Give me suggestions for anything else we might do to make us more productive, more successful, or simply a better place to work. While you’re at it, tell me how we can make this a better company to do business with for our customers, clients, investors, and partners. We’re all in this together and I want to hear what you think.

Thanks!