How Unforgettable Coatings Became an Inc. Best Workplace

Inc. magazine recently announced the winners for the Best Workplaces.  This year, Unforgettable Coatings is on the list as one of the top places to work.

Unforgettable Coatings founder and CEO Cory Summerhays called the award an honor.


 “I believe UCI is a great place to work because we focus on serving our people first. It is kind of our obsession to provide a great employee experience.” 


UCI is a contractor that specializes in specialty coating, exterior painting and roof applications. Cory and his leadership team go the extra mile for their employees.


“We take care of our team. We serve our people and they’re happy to serve clients. We believe that if we serve our people, they will then go forward, providing better service to our clients.”


Let’s look at a few of the tactics Cory and Unforgettable Coatings use to create an unforgettable workplace.

Tips for Making an Appealing Work Environment

Offer Performance Pay

Employees want to feel valued. A structure that allows for pay to match a person’s performance, in UCI’s experience, has been very attractive to hard-working employees.

Performance pay is the only true way to confirm employees feel valued and it’s a sustainable structure that enables learning and growth to constantly be met with an increase in pay.  For example, if a new painter comes in and gets better at their job, they should benefit from that.

If someone isn’t productive or improving, there is likely a misalignment or a need for more training  Showing that you care about improvements and offering additional training will speak volumes.   “As business owners, we need to wake up and learn that good business means taking care of your people,” Cory says.


Offer Good Benefits

Providing health benefits is not viewed as a cost but rather an investment.  Caring for people and personal needs has led to better performance and customer service on the front line. For instance, Unforgettable Coatings expanded insurance coverage to cover Nevada employees 100%. Cory says, “The return comes from our people knowing that they and their families are being taken care of.  We believe it is our obligation to put our team first. I encourage others to go that route.”


Anticipate Needs

Part of taking care of your team is anticipating needs. If people aren’t as productive in positions as they used to be, it could be a sign that they are not content in the position.

“People don’t always verbalize what their needs are in my experience of people management,” Cory says. “Performance will decline or communication will be less frequent. You can work with your employees to find roles that would better suit their skill sets.  There is a certain attention and a radar that goes on when things are happening. It’s my firm belief that unless we are finding a role that provides real fulfillment, we are not doing our job as managers.  Sometimes a new position provides renewed vigor.  I want to make sure every individual has a sense of fulfillment.”

At Unforgettable Coatings in management, for 13 years, only a couple of people have turned over.

“It’s likely that our low turnover is due to our obsession with making sure every individual is happy.  We are not afraid of change and if that means changing things up in order to better suit an individual’s talents and/or ambitions, that’s what we do. It doesn’t always take them coming to us either,” he adds. “We can usually anticipate those needs beforehand. At UCI, we try to create new opportunities that will provide value for them and ultimately further our company’s success.”


Create Opportunities for Your Company to Serve

Serving the community and being an example is important to Unforgettable Coatings. Unforgettable Coatings engages in several community service events as needs arise to serve its communities.  Annual initiatives include the Unforgettable Gift program. UCI gifts one couple with $15,000 to put toward fertility procedures or adoption services.

Supporting awareness surrounding domestic violence is also a priority.  Cory and the Unforgettable Coatings team are special donors to SafeNest, a Las Vegas valley nonprofit committed to ending domestic violence in Clark County. SafeNest also supports people affected by broken homes by focusing on personal empowerment to inspire hope for a new future.

“As a leader, my intentions have been to serve our team.  The intended inspiration is to see them, in turn, choose to serve as well. The big change that occurred over the last while was seeing the fulfillment the rest of our team has when they serve,” Cory says. “In the past, the leadership stepped up in our philanthropy efforts. We realized that doing without involving our front line workers robbed our team of receiving the fulfillment you get when serving. Now, we involve the entire team.

It’s great to see that employees are now coming forward and starting to volunteer their time alongside management as a consistent pursuit of serving. There’s a transition to employees being inspired to give back.”

Along the way, as we have been setting the foundation for this culture or philosophy management has been the ones choosing to serve and sacrificing sometimes.

“We always pay our team for their work on service projects,” he adds. “Lately, many of our employees ask for no compensation— they would rather do it on their own time. It is pretty incredible.”  The offer to not take pay is incredibly satisfying and makes us proud.


Set Up Programs to Meet Your Goals

You need an incentive program that recognizes your employees’ efforts and is fun, accessible and rewarding. After figuring out your goals, you can set up initiatives that will encourage your team to help reach those goals. You can offer benefits or awards that will motivate them along the way.

Options that continually prove their worth in many industries include:

-Commitment Awards

Many employers praise employee award programs. As you explore awards, find ones — tangible gifts, plaques, trophies or custom awards — that will work well with your program and will excite your employees.

– Experiences

You can get creative in coming up with experiences as the rewards to your company’s incentive program. “Some ideas that we do on a monthly basis is to recognize a foreman who has excelled in helping clients. That foreman is given a hotel stay with their spouse at whatever hotel they desire.” Other gestures of thanks may include trips, working from home, extra paid vacation time, excursions, spa days, free lunch, group adventures and more. These incentives work well because you can change them every month to include new experiences.