How Can That Be? The Newest Top Workplace Is BSC! | Buechel Stone Corp Named a 2022 Top Workplace

When I was a younger man, I spent some time in the military. Our superiors often threw around a phrase when a soldier was doing something against policy: “You better be careful, or you will spend a good portion of your life turning big rocks into little rocks.” The phrase came from the idea that if you went to a military prison, you had long days ahead of you performing some of the hardest manual labor one could imagine… turning big rocks into little rocks.

I came to Buechel Stone Corporation intrigued by this company on the edge of town that, well, turned Big Rocks into Little Rocks. I was surprised to learn that much of the work was done by employees processing the stone by hand. I still remember watching in disbelief as these Rockstars took large boulders and carefully split, trimmed, sawed, and packaged them into boxes of beautiful veneers. People seemed happy enough, but surely they were not as happy as they let on. They were doing the hard work of turning Big Rocks into Little Rocks. Beautiful little rocks, but little rocks nonetheless.

I was certain we were missing something and that we just needed to listen to our people more. We had to give them an avenue to provide us with un-edited, confidential feedback so they could tell us what they really thought.

So, in early 2021, we embarked on a mission to better understand how our Rockstars felt about everything from our culture to our benefits to our equipment. We needed to find out what was happening at every level of the company, and I needed to confirm my own pre-disposed opinion that they were not genuinely happy turning Big Rocks into Little Rocks.

Getting this information was not going to be as simple as asking a few people what their thoughts were. The company has grown to include new locations and remote employees across the country, so this undertaking was more complex now than at any other time in the 58-year history of Buechel Stone. However, the importance of getting it done was greater than ever. 

We collaborated with Energage to facilitate a company-wide, completely confidential survey to determine what we were doing well and what needed improvement. By conducting the survey through this third party, there was an opportunity to earn a spot in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Top Workplaces, but I saw this as highly unlikely. Big Rocks into Little Rocks. Pardon the pun, but that is HARD work. There was no way that we were going to compete with other… less demanding workplaces. 

We pressed on with the survey. This was about ensuring we were doing right by our people and getting the honest feedback we needed to be better. The survey was conducted in the fall of 2021, and I must admit that I was nervous about getting the results.

As I would imagine happens with many companies that do these surveys, we confirmed that we were doing some things well and were made aware of some blind spots. So, in true Buechel Fashion, we looked at what we needed to improve and started Getting Sh!t Done for our Rockstars. We made some tough decisions on people, revamped some of our meetings and communication channels, and opened up ways for Rockstars to give their new ideas to the leadership team. The momentum towards improvement started quickly and is still going today.

Then in late winter, in the midst of all the improvements we were working on, we were made aware of something unexpected. We had indeed earned a spot as a Top Workplace in Southeast Wisconsin. There we were, Buechel Stone, the company that turns Big Rocks into Beautiful Little Rocks competing with IT upstarts and high-end marketing firms. I imagine some of these companies with pool tables surrounded by high-end furniture and free Fiji waters in their new smart fridge. How could we possibly compete with them? At a superficial level, I could not explain it to myself. Big Rocks into Little Rocks is a Top Workplace?

Fast forward a bit, and I started to realize that it was me who had been missing something. I should have been looking deeper at all the ways our Rockstars live out our Core Values – Ownership Mentality, Caring, Personal Integrity, Have Fun, and Get Sh!t Done.

I was sitting at my desk when I received one of the hundred emails I received that day. It was about one of our Rockstars in North Carolina who adopted some children in need of help. What a Rockstar! Then the Buechel Stone team banded together and organized a fundraiser to help the family out. We raised how much? Wow.

Next, the local food pantry needed donations. We put together some large boxes of non-perishable food items in short order. Great work!

Then I saw a Rockstar from our production team give flowers to someone in HR as a thank you for helping her out. Pretty cool stuff.

I saw an HR Manager and Shift Manager show up at 10:30 pm on a Sunday to kick off a 3rd shift, just to make sure things went right.

I saw an IT person coming in on weekends and working ridiculous hours, not because he had to, but because he wanted things to run smoothly.

You see, I was looking at the work and thinking, “Turning Big Rocks into Little Rocks is hard work. There is no way we will get a Top Workplace Badge.” Had I looked closer at the workers, our Rockstars, I would have realized, “We are so much more than turning Big Rocks into Little Rocks. There is no way we DO NOT get a Top Workplace Badge!”

Here is the part where I thank our Rockstars for voting us a Top Workplace.

NOPE! Not going to do that. How is that for an M. Night Shyamalan twist?

Voting Buechel Stone as a Top Workplace was the easy part. You sat down and gave us your honest feedback.

Instead, I want to thank all of our Rockstars for CREATING the Top Workplace that is Buechel Stone. You took turning Big Rocks into Little Rocks and made it your own. You took hard work and made it fun. YOU made us.

How can it be that Big Rocks into Little Rocks is a Top Workplace? Easy. Big ROCKSTARS.

Thank you all!

Kory Bestul
Director of Culture
Buechel Stone Corp

Want to join the Buechel Stone Rockstar team? We have multiple openings in Wisconsin, Kansas, and North Carolina. Apply today!