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Caspers Service Company Culture

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My name is Zamanta Triche and I’m the Training Manager at Caspers Service Company (CSC). I was hired in August 2021 and was immediately intrigued by the company culture during my interview. One thing that stood out to me was that they kept mentioning, “We’re a family” and gave examples of employees who’ve been with the company for 10, 20, 30, and even 45years. No, that’s not a typo – 45 years with this company. How can a company retain such talent? I admit that a little skepticism ran through my veins. I waited patiently for the honeymoon phase to end and the corporate feeling to set in.

Well, here I am, creeping into my tenth month, and the skepticism has gone out of my veins, and the corporate feeling I expected has long since faded. The honeymoon phase is over, and the marriage is solidified. I know it’s too early for some to draw such far-fetched conclusions, but it didn’t take long for the leaders at Caspers to prove to me that they’re serious about making all of their employees a priority.

The first time I remember having this feeling was in December. I’d just completed four months of employment and was sitting at a large wooden table in a beautifully decorated conference room at the Oxford Exchange. We’d been at it for hours, working through CSC ‘s strategic direction for 2022. Our president, Mike, was going through everything with a fine-tooth comb. We talked about how we were going to exceed the revenue budget and increase efficiencies. We continued to discuss issues we felt were important, not just to our sections, but to the entire organization, and then we voted on our priorities. I realized these strong feelings in a moment when I saw that “People Development” was voted the number one priority!

Shortly after that, my personal life took a turn for the worst.  My parents came to visit me for the holidays.  On New Year’s, we celebrated with sparklers and drank champagne.  That same day, my mom started to feel a little ill, then, I felt under the weather and the very next day my dad felt sick.  We all quarantined in separate rooms and my mom, and I finally emerged unscathed.  Unfortunately, my dad was still fighting.  We ended up having to take him to the hospital and for the next month, he was treated in three separate hospitals to later find out that his lungs were just too damaged.  So, I had to start preparing for the inevitable.  Through it all, I was told to work from home, and take care of my family.  I received texts and emails from my co-workers asking me how I was doing.  At times, I would come into work just to be shooed away.  After he passed, I received a flood of cards, messages, and hugs.  Those hugs mattered.  I felt the love and understanding through a simple embrace.  It was as if I was hugging a family member, not just a coworker.

Since then, I’ve witnessed some of my brothers and sisters from my work family get sick, celebrate birthdays and babies, and go through a difficult personal journey. I couldn’t help but wonder how I was so lucky, or rather, how a company like this managed to foster a culture of respect, positivity, and inclusion.

Edgar Schein, the father of organizational development, defines culture as “a pattern of basic assumptions invented, discovered, or developed by a particular group as it learns to deal with its problems of external adaptation and internal integration.” (Tiernery, 1986). In other words, culture is a set of unwritten laws of accepted behaviors and values created by leaders and employees. It’s then passed down through the team and maintained throughout the organization. Here at CSC, this culture is derived from Casper Company.

I reached out to some of the people who’ve worked at this company for years to better understand why they still come to work here. Nick Liddic, vice president of customer relations at Caspers Service Company, started working at Caspers Company when he was 16years old. He left the company to attend the police academy, and when he was down to one class, Robby Adams offered him a job as general manager. They saw something in him that Nick didn’t see in himself at the time. He was 20 and wanted to challenge himself to be the best. He wanted the distinction of “superstar.” It took him a few years to achieve his goal, but along the way, he was placed in inner-city restaurants to mentor and develop the employees there. This is where he had his “AHA” moment. He was able to see how he could positively influence others. The managers knew that about Nick all along, and they wanted to build on that. He still comes to work, not to be the best, but to help others become the best version of themselves.

Rudy Garcia, President of Caspers Company, has been with the company since 1986.  He also started in the restaurants. After a conversation with him on the culture and that family feel, he brought up some great points.  In today’s inflated economy, leadership understands that they do not pay their people enough to cover rent, gas, and food.  They have to rely on intangible values to be able to retain their employees.  Culture encompasses all of those intangibles.  When asked how deliberate they are in creating a family culture, he mentioned that his job is to “pay attention” and that makes him a deliberate contributor to the culture.  Fritz Casper, who opened the first restaurant in 1958, would host Fourth of July Summer parties at his home inviting all the employees.  That was deliberate…that was Casper letting them know that they were part of the family.  As Rudy reflected, he came to the realization that he is only the second president that does not have the Casper last name.  He’s the steward for the company and he mentioned that “it’s daunting, saying it out loud”.  When I asked, “how do you sleep at night?”, he simply stated, “Because of the people we’ve hired.”

Peter Drucker, the father of Management, is noted for saying “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.  For us, our strategy revolves around our culture… it’s the people, the level of commitment and that longing to make this a better place than how we found it.  That’s what separates us from any other company and what keeps us wanting to come to work every day.  It’s family.

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