Our company, The Bozzuto Group, has just been selected by the Washington Business Journal as one of the best companies in the greater Washington area for which to work. This is the sixth time we have received this honor, making us only one of four companies in our category to have achieved this mark.

Of all the awards, recognition and honors our industry has generously bestowed on us, this one is the most meaningful. The reason is that the magazine’s selection is done based on an annual survey of the company’s employees. So, if our employees are not “happy” (probably not the best word for this but it will have to do), our company is not going to make this list.

But why is making the list important anyway? It’s important because unless the people who work for a company enjoy their job, there is simply no way that your customers will enjoy doing business with you. For example, we’ve all traveled on airlines where we know the employees feel abused, taken advantage of and unappreciated. We can tell because that’s how they treat the customer. And how inclined are you to use that airline again?

I believe it is not only important but critical that every person in a company feel some sense of identity with the organization. People who are part of a team have to think of it is as their team, or their behavior and efforts reflect that detachment. How many times have you had a bad customer experience only to have the company’s representative ask you to forgive him, he’s not really at fault, he doesn’t set the prices or make the policies, it’s the people in corporate who do that? And again, how inclined are you to buy from that company in the future?

So, if you want to have a company that has customer loyalty, I think it pretty important to start by worrying about employee loyalty. And while I won’t pretend to be an expert in describing what it takes to make every employee happy, I can tell you what has made me happy or content or motivated as an employee. These are the ideas that my partners and I have tried to bring to running The Bozzuto Group.

For us, it boils down to just a few things. First, there needs to be a sense of direction—that we (whoever is running the company) know where we are going and that it is communicated openly to all employees.

There have to be shared values; one of the worst things in an organization is to have colleagues whose behavior embarrasses you.

There has to be a sense that your efforts are appreciated, and this needs to be communicated reasonably often.

There has to be a perception of opportunity, both corporate and personal.

And oh yeah, compensation has to be “fair,” a word I seldom use but by which I mean that one needs to be earning something reasonably close to what one thinks she or he is worth.

Now, I could go on at great length and elaborate on each of these points but I’m not going to, at least not here or now. The purpose of this blog really is to thank all of the members of The Bozzuto Group, all of those on our team, for their efforts in making the company a place where we all want to work.

Thank you for your efforts in making this one of the best places to work in Washington. We are truly honored by this selection. Yet, I also have a favor to ask of you.

As we continue to grow, I ask for your sustained help in making sure each new employee understands our values, our mission and our way of doing business.

Again, thank you for this great honor. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to work with you.