Best Places to Work Honoree 2022

Organization Name: The Peabody Companies
Address: 536 Granite Street Braintree, MA 02184
Phone: (508) 649-8898
Contact Email:
Describe in detail the culture of the company and a recent experience supporting that.

Peabody provides a unique environment that is both challenging and rewarding. We believe each employee contributes directly to our success. In turn, we do everything we can to ensure each team member experiences a unique success story. Growth - both in a personal and professional sense - is encouraged, nurtured, and celebrated.

Each day, we aim to provide a positive, team-oriented environment. When our team members come to work, they can rest assured that the people who surround them appreciate their thoughts, skills, and talents. We thrive on a daily exchange of ideas and opinions – and warmly welcome our team to share theirs.

As a Company, we’re dedicated to bringing novel ideas and creative strategies to our workplace. To make this happen, we strive to create a stimulating work environment, built on a can-do, results-oriented philosophy. In short - we hire smart individuals, respect creative thought, and reward results. Moreover, we believe employees who are treated with honesty and respect readily reflect these values in the workplace.

Recent Experience – Creation of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

In the past two years, the COVID-19 crisis has had several different impacts on various racial and ethnic groups. We’ve witnessed nationwide protests and vocalization railing against systemic police brutality. We observed inequities in the social determinants of health, income and wealth, healthcare access and utilization, education, occupation, discrimination, and housing - the byproduct of decades of government policies that have systematically disadvantaged Black, Hispanic, and Native American communities.
For many, the pain, sorrow, and outrage that has steadily unfolded across America are unlike anything we have witnessed in our lifetimes. Thanks to our employees’ feedback, we have come to understand that this is the very pain, sorrow, and outrage that has burdened communities of color for generations. We also understand that we must be committed to so much more than just listening.
• We are committed to becoming allies for communities of color.
• We are committed to educating ourselves.
• We are committed to doing the hard work, not just today but in the future.
• We are committed to being part of the change that needs to happen.
• We are committed to action.
To this end, we committed ourselves to make substantive advancements in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion, which included the creation of an action plan to take meaningful steps toward combating racism and inequality.
Listed below are five concrete action steps Peabody has taken to further our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts:
1. Continue to listen to our team members and the voices within our communities.
2. Engage a third-party Diversity and Inclusion Advisor. This Advisor has helped guide our organization through the process of effectively identifying and disrupting existing patterns of racism, implementing cultural changes, and developing training initiatives to create and foster an open and inclusive environment. This individual has also helped create mechanisms for surveying our internal audience and gathering data to promote active listening and a deeper understanding of team member experiences within our workplace and communities.
3. Form a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Working closely with Executive Leadership and our Diversity and Inclusion Advisor, we have convened a working group of 16 self-identified team members. The Committee has been tasked with; promoting training and events to bring awareness to diversity and inclusion in the workplace and our communities; engaging co-workers in diversity and inclusion conversation and training; reviewing and developing policies and procedures that will promote workplace diversity and inclusion; and, organizing and overseeing specific initiatives or outreach within the communities we manage.
4. Launch our Diversity and Inclusion Survey. The D/I survey has helped us bring clarifying data to an incredibly complex topic. Results from the survey have shown us if, where, and how different groups of team members experience our company culture - allowing us to build a more inclusive future.
5. Identify and create education and professional development opportunities to help our team members reflect on and talk about race and systemic racism, understand privilege, and the ways we can effect positive change.
As an organization, we recognize that diversity, inclusion, and equity create our strength. And we embrace and value those differences, while providing an equal opportunity environment for all residents, vendors, clients, and team members alike.
Furthermore, we keenly understand how locally targeted and inclusive hiring practices promote equity and significant economic opportunities for residents residing within the cities and towns in which we do business.
Through direct community outreach and engagement, we’re able to partner with local community-based organizations to hire the best-suited and locally based vendors.
To add to our local hiring efforts, Peabody is a SOMWBA – certified WBE and considers the procurement of high-quality goods and services through MBE/WBE firms a priority in its vendor management policy. To this end, Peabody has received numerous awards for MBE and WBE firm utilization. In fact, Peabody has been the recipient of MassHousing’s Multi-Million Dollar MBE and Million Dollar WBE Achievement Award 18 times since 2000.
And, while we are pleased to be recognized for our efforts, we are looking forward to continuing to cultivate the long-lasting professional relationships we have developed within our local communities, MBE/WBE vendors, and the excellent service these firms have - and will - continue to provide to our managed communities in the years to come.
When it comes to our team, Peabody openly welcomes individuals of all races, ages, genders, gender identities, sexual orientations, creeds, national origins, and individuals with disabilities, and we take great pride in how our residents, clients, and team members elevate their communities through thoughtful diversity initiatives. And, just as we have in the past, we will continue to stand with our members, partners, employees, and communities as we all work to understand and overcome injustices.
As we move ahead in 2022, we will build upon the successes of Peabody’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and our action plan, as we continue to review our policies and programs while making a commitment to listen, engage, and create meaningful and substantive changes within our organization.
As Peabody’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee’s mission statement details, “At Peabody, we believe that we are “Stronger Together”. The mission of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee is to create and ensure an environment of respect, humility, and equity for all. We provide the stable foundation that guides our team; cultivating growth, development, leadership, and creating a unified culture that celebrates everyone’s identity.”
Peabody has always operated guided by a shared mission to “put the HOME in housing”. To us, home means not one but many things; it is somewhere where we are safe, loved, respected, and cared for. And, true to our mission, we will not stop our work until all people feel that safety, love, respect, and concern equally.

Has the company/organization offered rewards or incentives for great customer service or a positive employee attitude?

Employees of distinction are recognized annually for achieving excellence in performance that best exemplify our Mission and Core Values.
Recipients are voted into the awards program, having qualified by:
• Role modeling job excellence,
• Having a “can do” attitude,
• Possessing exemplary pride for their work,
• Providing excellent customer service to residents, clients, and co-workers.

Additionally, all award winners receive a paid day off.

We also give birthdays off and early release Fridays (year-round).

Does the organization offer training for levels of advancement? Is there room for growth?

Education and Peabody go together. Property management is an ever-changing industry and the key to staying on top of all changes is through continuing and lifelong education. Peabody University offers a vibrant curriculum with a blended-learning approach to education. Our greatest assets live within the talents of our team members and all that they bring to the workplace. Peabody University is regarded as one of the industry’s premier job training programs, in large part due to the following.
• A dedicated workforce with a willingness to learn.
• A continued effort to deliver the highest quality service to our residents.
• Live, instructor-led classroom training.
• Detailed policies and procedures that are continually reinforced.
• A strong focus on annual Fair Housing Training (up to certification).
• Hands-on maintenance offerings.
• Monthly safety training.
• Access to a full array of webinars, including compliance and regulatory training.

Does this organization promote from within, or hire outside when looking for employees?
When possible, Peabody promotes from within.
Provide an example of how this organization has recently gone above and beyond for an employee, team or client/customer.

This past year, Peabody jumped on the chance to join the CDC’s Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program and was one of the first property management companies to offer the COVID vaccination clinics to its communities and residents in the Northeast.

The Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care (LTC) Program provided end-to-end management of the COVID-19 vaccination process, including cold chain management, on-site vaccinations, and fulfillment of reporting requirements, to facilitate safe vaccination for residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and affordable senior housing developments while reducing the burden on LTC facilities and jurisdictional health departments.

Evidencing Peabody’s ongoing commitment to the communities we serve as well as our residents Peabody has managed to vaccinate a total of 268 staff, 3,231 residents, and 301 community members (volunteers, staff from partner organizations, etc.). All of this was achieved by hosting 165 clinics at 58 unique sites.

In normal circumstances – strong operations and robust resident services programs are critical for stable occupancy levels within rental communities. Still, the past two years have proven that offerings provided by Peabody’s incredible team were literally lifesaving.

To illustrate this, we’ve detailed Peabody’s COVID-19 community and resident supports:

1. Weekly wellness calls. Coordinated via our Peabody CARES (Community and Resident Emergency Support) program, this initiative gave residents a chance to hear a friendly voice and helped alleviate feelings of isolation. This program was geared towards seniors and vulnerable residents. Additionally, we found that these calls provided an opportunity for early intervention for a resident in need, either through services or referrals.

2. Resident resource guide. At the beginning of the pandemic, Peabody created an all-encompassing resource guide focused on the region that included information on community resources, health and medical services, food assistance, social isolation tools, emergency services, and the latest COVID-19 information. This guide was available online, updated regularly, and printed and provided to each resident and team member.

3. Weekly newsletters. These offered another way for residents and team members to stay connected with their communities by focusing on lighter updates, such as recipes, crafts, learning resources, mindfulness, resident art, employee spotlights, and birthday greetings.

4. Virtual video-based programming. Technologies like Zoom or Google Meet allowed others to see familiar faces and warm smiles. Programming like comedy nights, virtual dance-offs, poetry groups, bingo, yoga, and exercise worked great in this medium.

5. Smartphone-based programming. For those who found it easier using a smartphone, FaceTime and WhatsApp were other tools that provided engagement—whether through trivia games, coffee hours, or tech support.

6. Phone conference calls. For residents without internet access, phone-based programming involving a conference line allowed for residents to engage with each other for social or educational programming.

7. At-home-together programming. This kind of activity included scavenger hunts, weekly food banks, or a sidewalk chalk art contest as more of a hybrid in-person and virtual event. Community meals were great for this, too - one event provided residents a “BBQ in a box” delivered to their door, for example.

8. Seasonal activities. Seasons and holidays provided a great opportunity to keep Peabody’s team members and residents engaged and were critical during a time when they may be feeling more isolated than ever. Doing things like a gingerbread house-making kit, holding a pumpkin “Guess My Weight” contest, or distributing construction paper, doilies, and glue sticks to make personalized valentines were great activities.

9. Music series. In warmer months, Peabody began scheduling live music concerts outside for residents to open their windows to enjoy. And in the cooler months, they offered virtual concerts that featured residents or staff taking turns playing instruments from the safety of their own homes via Zoom or pre-recorded concerts available over Zoom or a community access television station.

10. Overall wellness. As mentioned earlier, Peabody held health clinics that made it easier for residents to get their flu shots and the COVID vaccines, which obviously went a long way towards keeping them safe and healthy. Additionally, the company focused on mental health by providing clinics that offered stress reduction and coping strategies.

As Peabody has found, strong resident services programming, remote interactions, and support have befitted everyone in good times and in bad. And, as we all hope for better days ahead, Peabody has committed itself to working hard to make those more challenging days a bit easier to bear with a strong network of services for all their residents, clients, team members and communities, alike.

The Peabody Companies’ principals, CEO Karen Fish-Will and COO Melissa Fish-Crane also acknowledged early on the magnitude the pandemic could have on its residents from a financial standpoint and worked diligently throughout the last two years to provide specific interim policies in anticipation of rent payment issues. Over this past year, in particular, the Peabody Companies has facilitated nearly $2.5 million in rental assistance, in keeping with its ongoing commitment to connecting residents with resources during this challenging time and ensuring successful residencies. In all, as of mid-November, Peabody Properties received $2,153,591.58 in RAFT funding, $20,108.00 in ERMA funding, and $274,021.40 in SHERA funding, for a year-to-date total of $2,447,720.98.

Communication is key, how effective is the organization at communication with their employees and/or client/customer? *
When it comes to our clients, team members, and residents we are committed to open communication and authenticity in all our relationships. Our effective communication is proven through various means. Peabody maintains active social media accounts including LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as active online building resident portals where the good news about our staff members, residents, and communities are shared. We also produce a “Stronger Together” newsletter that provides updates to individual communities as well as offers quick links to a range of services available. Our clients receive regular monthly updates, although interactions in between these timeframes is not uncommon either, to find remedies to issues or to share the good news. For our staff members, we have a full-size, color digital bulletin board at our headquarters which celebrates employees’ work anniversaries or certifications/degrees/awards earned, in addition to sharing information about upcoming events. Additionally, our CEO and COO have frequently gone on “listening tours,” during which time they make a point at visiting all of our communities so that staff members that work on-site have the opportunity for in-person interaction with executive leadership.
In what ways does the organization give back to their community? Please provide an example.

Community engagement is an integral part of Peabody’s “big-hearted” culture – an opportunity to live our values by volunteering and giving back – a chance for our team members to learn about themselves and others and engage with the organizations that bring life to our mission to “put the HOME in housing”.
Charity Choice Campaigns
• Summer and holiday toy drives – supporting the children of Elizabeth Stone House
• Supplies and toiletries for our Veteran residents at four PPI veteran communities
• Winter coat donations to Boston’s homeless
Company Matched Monetary Gifts
• For CCF Moldova - $6850 raised for Ukrainian refugees
• For our Veteran residents during the holidays
• For Casa Bernabe Orphanage, Guatemala
• For Houston, Miami, and Puerto Rico hurricane relief
• For our residents who were victims of a fire at Powdermill Village in Westfield, Massachusetts.
• For the son of a team member who passed unexpectedly, helping him pay for tuition and supplies needed to complete his senior year at college.
Charity Walks & Volunteer Events
• Annual VA2K – Walk for our Veterans
• Project Bread – Walk for Hunger
• Habitat for Humanity – Group Build Day
Volunteer Time-Off
• We put the HOME in housing, but our team members add the heart. Our team can use their Day of Service benefit to contribute their time and talents to recognized charities, causes, or not-for-profit organizations (501C3 certified), making a positive difference in the communities in which they live and work.

Are you actively hiring/recruiting outside your organization?