When Frank Goforth founded his namesake company, Go-Forth Pest Control in High Point, N.C., in 1959, the millennial generation was more than 20 years from being born.
Today, Goforth’s grandson, Chase Hazelwood and his wife, Leah, have redirected the company’s energies to attract millennial workers and customers alike.
“We have ‘millennial-ized’ our approach to hiring and training to attract and retain quality employees,” says Leah Hazelwood, chief administrative officer for Go-Forth. “Millennials approach their careers differently and we have adjusted our approach accordingly.”Go-Forth’s mission statement says the firm strives to achieve “profound professionalism to give employees a sense of pride to be associated with the company,” something that resonates with today’s younger workforce.
Hazelwood says millennials want more control over their career destiny and to be more engaged in the process. At Go-Forth, every employee is responsible for identifying career and personal goals, and for providing a monthly update on their progress.
“We have created opportunities for the 60-plus employees to advance not only their professional career but their life outside of work,” Leah Hazelwood says. “Millennials are looking for more than a paycheck and want satisfaction in their work and personal lives, and we are aiming to deliver on both those needs.”
The company also has invested heavily in digital marketing — hiring two full-time staff members, a rare move for a company of Go-Forth’s size ($5.6 million), to introduce its brand to social-savvy consumers, as well as potential hires.
“We hope to not only engage and grow our customer base through our digital marketing efforts but we want to show potential employees that pest management can be a career field,” she adds. “We want them to feel they are joining a brand not just a company.”
The company serves residential and commercial clients in the Triad area of North Carolina (Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point) extending east to Wilmington, and west and south to Charlotte and into South Carolina. But they aren’t satisfied and are looking to grow.
“Our growth over the last several years has been fueled by having the right people in the right positions,” Leah Hazelwood says. “As we continue to expand the need for more skilled people we will grow and that is why we have made the commitment to change the way we approach hiring and retention.”
Hazelwood says transforming the business model also was done to chart a course for the company’s future and give the couple’s four children a chance to run the business one day if they so choose. — Jeff Fenner