Sunday, April 22, 2018
Business

Tampa Bay Top Workplaces: PostcardMania focuses on individual, respect for all

CLEARWATER

For a company involved in mass mailings, PostcardMania tends to fixate on the individual.

Instead of across-the-board raises, CEO Joy Gendusa examines each employee's role in helping the company grow in deciding bonuses or raises. If someone is unhappy, a discussion ensues on how to retool their job to help both company and employee. If a new mother wants to bring her baby with her to work for the first four months, so be it.

"It's all on a case-by-case basis," Gendusa says.

The strategy appears to be working for the 15-year-old direct mail marketing firm, which debuts on this year's roster of Tampa Bay's Top Workplaces.

PostcardMania — which prints and ships postcard advertisements on behalf of more than 53,000 customers in more than 350 industries — weathered a tough 2009 during the recession.

It was the only year in its history that sales dropped, falling about $2 million. But Gendusa didn't lay anyone off; among other cutbacks, she didn't take a salary that year.

Employees appreciated that, along with other signs that the company cares. Among the amenities are an on-site cafeteria including a barista and chef; workout classes with yoga and full-body fitness routines; and ample get-togethers. The company throws an annual Christmas party, a casino night, a summer picnic and a catered party for managers at Gendusa's home.

Sarah Kicinski, chief marketing officer, said she appreciates getting a chance to prove herself and try new things. "If I could prove to my manager it was a good idea, I could run with it."

PostcardMania asks just a few things of its employees in return: work hard and treat others with respect. A lot of respect.

"We have a zero office politics policy," Gendusa said. "You're not allowed to talk badly about another person who works here on premises or off. … No backbiting. That's contagious and can spread."

New employees sign an agreement acknowledging they can be fired without warning if they violate the civility policy.

The policy feeds a climate of trust and mutual praise, so workers can share in the triumphs of each other as well as their customers.

Employees "can go home at night and feel they are helping small businesses and helping people succeed," said company president Jennifer Custer.

Post-recession, PostcardMania has continued to grow, adding 100 new customers a week with up to 12,000 active clients at any one time.

The company draws from Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's business management practices. But business ties within Scientology's Clearwater headquarters and beyond account for just a tiny fraction of PostcardMania revenue.

The company's single biggest revenue source is the dental industry, accounting for $2 million, or roughly 10 percent of its business. Lawn care and landscaping generated the highest number of orders last year.

The company recently posted its biggest week ever: $640,000 in business. Plus the firm's new promotion to track postcard recipients when they click onto client websites had a promising launch.

"It's exciting," Gendusa said, predicting revenues could top $24 million this year, up from $20 million in 2012. "I would be thrilled if we make that. … I'm praying for $26 million!"

Jeff Harrington can be reached at (727) 893-8242 or [email protected]

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