Sarah Thomas-Clark, vice president of Thomas Pest Services, Inc., based in Schenectady, NY, is a third-generation pest control professional. Thomas-Clark worked for her father’s business before establishing her own with her husband in 2010. Her grandfather and uncle also owned their own pest control companies. With this long history in the business, Sarah understands the opportunities and challenges that come with being a small business owner, whether it is sustaining growth, serving customers or supporting and developing employees.
When asked to describe her company culture, Thomas-Clark points to the work they did two years ago, going through the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) program. “Having experienced our best year of business in 2020, we knew we needed to make some improvements to sustain that growth. EOS allowed us to truly identify who we are as a company and what we needed to do to be positioned for further growth.”
Through the EOS program, the company firmed up their management team and defined roles to increase organizational efficiency. They also outlined their core values that are now ingrained as part of their culture:
- Be the part
- Service above all
- Better than yesterday
With these values now defined, Thomas Pest Services could also focus on specific initiatives vital for survival in today’s job market—finding and keeping talent.
The company piloted a new flexible work schedule in Fall 2021, allowing employees to work four 10-hour days instead of a traditional 5-day 9-5 schedule. From that initial pilot with one technician, they rolled it out in January 2022 to all staff and have seen 65% of their technicians opt to take advantage of it.
Thomas Pest Services has found that a flexible work schedule not only helps to retain their current employees, it is a key part of the company’s recruiting strategy and highlighted prominently in their job postings. With their most recent hires, half have taken advantage of the benefit right from the start. And the new flexible schedules also came with another unanticipated benefit—steadier hours for technicians and a decrease in unexpected overtime. The program has been such a success that Thomas Pest Services and their scheduling flexibility were recently profiled on their local news station, WNYT.
Thomas Pest Services also offered the option to their office team, but while they had less interest in that program, their staff did ask to take advantage of flexible start and stop times each day. This had an added bonus for customers, with a live person now available for calls earlier in the morning, rather than going to the company’s answering service.
Thomas Pest Services continues to explore other opportunities to benefit their employees, and already offers other unique incentives like their $250 “Get a Life” program that supports employee growth, whether it’s ski lessons, a fishing license or online classes. With these forward-thinking ideas and a well-defined understanding of who they are as a company and what they value, Thomas Pest Services is in a position to achieve their goals for further growth.
BY, CAE, VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS, NPMA