What comes with an unprecedented unemployment rate? Job-hopping, attrition, talent demand, and employees tempted by what they think is a greener pasture. Three talented and tenured employees at Extra Space Storage shared their experiences and sound reasons for dedicating a combined 54 years with one extraordinary company!
Can’t put a price on shared experiences over time.
Grace Kunde, Senior Vice President of Accounting & Finance, departed the fast-paced environment of public accounting 14 years ago when her employer, Ernst & Young, introduced her to a Utah-based self storage company. Naturally, she questioned if her new opportunity would be equally challenging, given the pace where she was coming from.
The day she started at Extra Space was the day her concerns were put to rest. She quickly learned the company was not just a self storage company. It was a rapidly-expanding real estate company that was climbing its way to the S&P 500. With solid footings in this financial space, Grace embraced the chance to become part of learning and growing with the company. While she admits it was her husband’s job transfer that eventually brought her to Extra Space Storage, it’s the people who have made her want to stay.
“I would never stay at a place where I don’t enjoy the people. With the accounting department now around 90 employees, not to mention the overall growth of the company, I get to share the ups and downs of life with many of my coworkers. We enjoy one another. Work can sometimes be routine and difficult, but being at Extra Space Storage for more than a decade, we know about each other’s lives, and we have shared experiences over time. You can’t put a value on that. And you can’t feel that when you hop jobs every couple of years. It’s a special thing.”
If you think self storage is low-tech, think again.
Karl Wenger, Senior Director of IT Security, is amused by his Millennial daughter when she tells her dad she couldn’t imagine working at the same place for two decades. She is not alone in her thinking, but Karl seems to have an answer to that.
When Karl was originally approached by a former colleague to join Extra Space Storage, he turned it down. He was not about to give up the cachet of working at a big-name technology company to work for a low-tech storage company. He was convinced Extra Space Storage had nothing to offer and nothing that could challenge him. He confesses that he has eaten those words for the past 20 years.
Karl cites four main reasons that provide him job satisfaction, and suggests they are important to other employers hoping to retain happy technology talent for a long time:
- Embracing technology. Extra Space Storage is a leader in the self storage industry with a focus on technology being a huge component of that. They are at the forefront of developing programs that improve processes for self storage that would be applicable for many industries.
- Experiencing growth. Working for a company with an upward trajectory leads to opportunity to advancement and more. It brings about new challenges where everyone at Extra Space Storage can make a difference. When Karl started, Extra Space Storage had 22 facilities. It’s now expanded to 1,750 and continues to grow. All the while, he knows his contribution is appreciated and all employees are working toward common goals.
- Connecting with people. Working with top-caliber people makes every day of work more pleasant. Extra Space Storage is selective in hiring not only the top talent, but those people also are collaborative, considerate, generous with their time, and are excited to be part of growing the company.
- Access to leadership. Over the course of two decades, there has been leadership change at Extra Space Storage, but one constant is employee access to leadership. When employees at any level feel a connection to leadership, they feel respected, they know their concerns are heard, and they feel like they are a contributing member of the company’s common goals.
“Extra Space Storage checks all these boxes for me. This organization embraces technology, and anyone can make a difference. That’s what I can confidently share with any Millennial.”
It takes more than a few years for real connection and meaningful impact.
Dayna Hathaway, Vice President of Marketing, was not about to work for a “sleepy storage company.” Regardless of persuasions from her former colleague and mentor, James Overturf, it was a hard ‘no way,’ and to do otherwise in her mind was crazy. Dayna was living out a dream marketing career during an exciting time when big brands matched big budgets. Why would she even consider a change?! Look to the leadership; that’s why.
When a rare opportunity comes along to join leaders with a flawless track record for success, you pay attention, so Dayna did. With CEO Spencer Kirk at the helm and James’ example and guidance by her side, Dayna joined Extra Space Storage in its marketing infancy. Valuable as it was, in her mind, this was merely career stepping stone that would loft her to the next big thing. She has now been with the company for 20 years.
When Dayna started, there were only 30 employees, but there was a vibe and energy that drew her in. Over two decades, Dayna has been part of critical changes that keep a company relevant and profitable. She helped the company leap from direct mail and Yellow Pages ads to digital marketing. She has experienced integration challenges through mergers and has been part of growth that has resulted in the company going public, landing on the S&P 500. Dayna feels fortunate to be part of this exciting growth, but her passion for the job goes beyond the dollars.
“Being a part of something for more than a few years allows for a real connection and the chance to make impact. You can’t fully entrench yourself in just one or two years. I’m personally more motivated and productive because I’m accountable to those around me. I don’t want to let them down. Every day, I’m wanting to put my best foot forward.”
There are two additional meaningful reasons Dayna wouldn’t go anywhere else: work-life balance and culture. As a mother of three, she has experienced firsthand the support she feels from a company that values family. Her career has taken some necessary curves, but Extra Space Storage has been flexible, supportive, and accommodating, making her feel she is valued. Dayna recognizes she is not unique and she happily shares with her colleagues an atmosphere of care, respect, and appreciation all throughout the organization.
Gone are the days when people look to stay in one job their entire career. That certainly wasn’t the intent of these three extraordinary employees of Extra Space Storage. But when you land in a place that offers compelling reason to stay, one year quickly turns to 20 while your career provides fulfillment and enjoyment that only comes with time!
Interested in a career with Extra Space Storage? Learn more about our employment opportunities.