013 – Employees First, Customers Second | Michael Crafton

Michael Crafton is the President and CEO of Nelbud Services Group. Founded in 2005, the company’s origins were humble to say the least, with only Michael’s pickup truck and $800 in hand. He has since grown the business to be the largest self-performing kitchen exhaust hood cleaning company in the country and been recognized four times as an award-winning top workplace in Indiana. In 2013, he was named a Forty Under 40.

Michael has built a reputation for quickly assessing opportunities and scaling enterprises through acquisitions, organic growth, and market diversification.  He strives to create a best in class employee experience and accomplishes this by creating sustainable careers that empower, attract, and promote a culture that is second to none. By living the core values of his organization, Michael embodies a culture of compassionate service offerings and servant leadership.

Truth You Can Act On:

  1. Happy Employees Create Happy Customers: It’s crucial to maintain emotional ownership from employees regarding what your company is trying to accomplish. Providing the freedom for staff to make decisions empowers their happiness and fuels sustainable growth and success.
  2. Rely on Employee Referrals When Hiring: Your employees are your best gauge as to whether or not new potential hires will properly fit the culture of your business. It’s incredibly expensive to lose new hires quickly – save time and money by relying on your strongest brand advocates to guide the process of adding staff.
  3. Dynamic Company Culture Must Adapt: The needs and wants of staff are ever-changing. Develop a diverse array of creative benefits, providing constant opportunities for enhancing communication, fostering mentorship, and developing professional skills. Above all, actively listen to your employees and stay connected.
  4. Set Your Priorities: Don’t do yourself a disservice by searching for new employees purely based on hard skills. Rethink this idea: assess their culture fit first, talent second, and skills third. Focus on individuals who will bring energy, charisma, and will buy into the goals of the company. This passion will drive the will to learn the craft.

Nikki’s Book Recommendation:


  • LHD Benefits – LHD is a full-service employee benefits firm, that empowers their clients to make the best possible decisions for their employees — to define optimal objectives, monitor outcomes, improve health, and engage and advocate for employees and their loved ones.
  • Emplify – Are you still using pulse surveys? How about annual questionnaires? If your organization relies on either of these, it’s time to discover Emplify.  Emplify has created a new way to measure employee engagement. It’s where CEOs who want to know what’s really happening within a workforce go… to get honest feedback… and to understand what needs to change for people to love their work using simple and trustworthy data.

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