Change of course Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2009
Winner
Technology

Douglas J. Erwin had to make peace, and he had to make it fast.

Erwin had two merged companies — The Planet and Everyone’s Internet — and two rivaling groups of employees.

To make matters worse, both companies had different financial problems.

To put things back on track, Erwin brought a different philosophy to the merging companies, bringing to the forefront a customer-service attitude that would act to bring everyone into one tent under The Planet. Along the way, he led by example, eschewing any difference between the two groups by rolling up his sleeves and showing everybody the work ethic he expected across the board.

When things started to turn, Erwin began getting feedback from employees on what would make the overall work environment better and used it promptly. When he heard that the main thing employees in the call center wanted for their workspace was another chair, he got innovative. Their workspaces wouldn’t fit another full-size chair, so he attached cushions to the rolling filing cabinets to make a more comfortable sitting space. He also did everything he could to show that he appreciated each employee’s contribution to the company by continuing to get feedback even as the company picked up and began to grow.

Since that 2006 merger, the company has earned a reputation for top-quality service, competitively priced products and a customer-first approach. In that time, it has grown from 3.6 million Web sites to roughly 15.2 million, with more than 20,000 customers.

Internally, Erwin’s focus on people has improved the company’s profitability and shrunk retention. His dedication to employees and to his community has been important and impactful in healing all wounds. When Erwin needed to make peace, he did. And that has brought a great deal of happiness across The Planet.

How to reach: The Planet, (281) 714-3000 or www.theplanet.com