Words That Have Meaning: The BEI Motto

Michelle Benjamin – CEO of Benjamin Enterprises


This is the inaugural posting to CEO Perspectives, and my thought here was to explain the essence of my company’s vision, which I have incorporated into our motto: “Hands That Work. Minds That Think.”

When I began this journey in 1985, I was entering a market already crowded with traditional facilities support staffing companies. How was I to make a difference, to be able to stand out in the crowd, and find a competitive advantage that was based on positive value to my clients, and to the people on my team?

My research around the motivation of workforce participants revealed that service quality increased commensurate with the investment in the training and development of the individual workers. While workforce development was not a new concept, what was new was the application of these principles to workers long considered marginal to core business operations: janitors and custodial workers, security guards, and general construction labor.

Applying these principles in my business operations, I began to see results based on the direct correlation of worker development to operational effectiveness at the clients’ sites. Workers that were receiving additional professional skills training became more professionally oriented and committed to positive participation in the provision of client services. They began thinking about what they were doing, what was working and what was not contributing value, and bringing their ideas back to me for discussion.  My investment in them showed them that they were being treated more as professionals and not as marginal help. They developed a sense of being a respected member of the project team, and this gave them the confidence to offer feedback based on their frontline operational perspective.

They became more than just “hands that work.” They started to use their minds to think about what they were doing in a new way, and knew that they would be respectfully heard if they offered suggestions on how to use their hands more productively.

As my company grew, I took the decision to ensure that every worker we employed was afforded development opportunity. The growth of my company can be directly linked to successful worker development. Project cost reduction benefits to our clients, and growth into many new markets based on our reputation for consistently exceptional performance, are the fruits of the development investment in my workforce.

Yes, I believe firmly in positive employee development, and how that gives people the confidence and power to think about improving what they are doing. This is the triple win; client, my company and its workers all benefit from “Hands That Work. Minds That Think.”