To Grow Your Company, Develop Your Team!

Our goal at 123JUNK is to be more than the top junk removal company—it’s to be the preeminent service organization in our region. Our first company value – “culture of excellence” – drives us to becoming the quality-of-service standard to which other businesses aspire. To get there, we believe in providing our team members with personal and professional growth opportunities.

We train our team to look beyond comparing our performance to other junk hauling companies. Our customers are comparing us to every other service provider that comes into their homes—plumbers, electricians, and more. Homeowners make judgments every day about how they are treated by a service organization. They know what they expect, and they can be delighted or disappointed by either the service or the service technician—or both!

We’ve earned all our five-star reviews and loyal referral partners because we’ve helped our team think beyond the task—to be more conscious of how we are presenting ourselves and to constantly improve.

Our Most Important Customer: Our Employees

We are so grateful for all the loyal customers we have serviced throughout the years, and for all our referral partners who know our quality and refer us without hesitation. We understand that to achieve this level of success, we need a happy, loyal, and talented workforce. This why Mallard Owen, Chief Operating Office, often states that “123JUNK’s most important customers are its employees.” And this is where we try to excel by investing in the growth of our team members. We take time when we hire, as we look for enthusiasm, drive, and, most importantly, a desire to learn and grow. Even interviews for our fleet team include “auditions”—working interviews where candidates can experience first-hand the quality we strive to achieve in all our jobs.

“Our culture is one of a learning organization. We want to give our team members something beyond the technical training aspect of their work; something that would help them become better contributors no matter where they work,” said Owen. It’s why he started the company’s “JUNK-U,” the internal brand under which employee training and development programs fall.

Related: 5 Reasons to Invest in Employee Development Now

PG101: Professional Growth

The first formal program that Owen developed for JUNK-U was a course called Professional Growth 101 (PG101). In this program, employees go on a journey of self-discovery and focused improvement. They learn more about who they are, their strengths, and personal accountability. From these insights, they explore ways to perform better, strengthen their personal brand, and bring even better value to any employer.

PG101 is voluntary and runs once per week for 12 sessions. To ensure the full and focused commitment of participants, enrollment begins with three documents: 1) a syllabus and overview of the course goals and participant expectations, 2) a code of conduct—how participants are expected to engage and interact within the program, and 3) a review and acknowledgement of key components to being a trusted employee.

“We pay attention to our team members, give them insights on how to reflect on their work, and provide them with a broader perspective on how people view them in terms of their brand/performance,” Owen said. “After one team member took our PG101 course, he realized how much he didn’t think about how his performance could affect or influence others, or how his behavior might cause a certain reaction in someone else.”

The group is small, with usually fewer than 6 team members. Participants are encouraged to grow by looking at their current performance/behaviors, and then deciding what they need to adjust to get to the next level. Between each session, they commit to working on a specific growth area, and then report back to the group on their progress. They learn to open up about what they are working on, not only with fellow PG101 participants, but also with other colleagues with whom they work on a daily basis, recruiting them to help assist with their improvement. They learn from and support each other, and listen to concerns or stories an individual might have. The learnings come as much from their stories and feedback from other participants as it is about “book learning.”

“When you realize that what you do will have an impact on and potentially change the mindset and behaviors of people around you, you can have a major impact on their lives and the success of the company,” Owen described. “How do you make that sustainable within the company? You just continue to develop the team. Their new and improved behaviors will take hold and spread within the organization—and more good things will happen.”

“What surprised me were the ripple effects of the program. The content is so valuable that it has impacted the lives of employees outside of the workplace. In addition, we’ve brought elements of the PG101 curriculum into other aspects of our organization, like our interview process, employee onboarding, and corporate retreats. It helps reinforce the lessons learned.”

The collaboration among the team members has also grown since the program’s inception, with everyone jumping in to help others with their work and their attitude. This raises the whole team, and impacts how we can accommodate our clients and provide exceptional service. “We have a great brand, and we try to reinforce the concept that when you are conscientious about helping others, they’re appreciative—whether it’s another team member where you jumped in to help, or a client struggling with disposal of a loved one’s estate,” Owen said.

Experience the 123JUNK Difference Yourself

123JUNK is on the path to becoming the leading junk removal company in Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC because of our commitment to personal and professional growth. We’re a local company that is investing in its team and its community so that you can count on a wonderful experience, from your first phone call with a live representative to a friendly and responsible junk pickup. (Read Our Story.)

We invite you to experience the 123JUNK difference yourself. Contact us at 1-800-364-5778 to inquire about pricing, set your pickup appointment, or join our team!

123JUNK's professional development group for junk removal Virginia team

Getting Schooled at 123JUNK’s “JUNK-U”

At 123JUNK, our leadership team is committed to helping our employees grow to their full potential. We started our own “university,” JUNK-U, first as a book club for all staff. We then expanded it to include a new professional development program focused on the growth of our fleet team. We’re very excited to continue to explore how to best serve our junk removal team members by adding courses and creating advancement opportunities for our employees. Below, we discuss JUNK-U with our very own Chief Operating Officer, Mallard “Mal” Owen, Ph.D.

  1. How did the Professional Development Program at 123JUNK start?
    I have a real passion for staff development and building the right kind of culture. We took five of our truck leads and asked if they were interested in spending 90 minutes on a Sunday night for 12 weeks to work on becoming a better employee and leader. We called it Professional Growth 101. We’re hoping that the time they’re investing is going to be helpful for their careers, whether they stay with 123JUNK or not.

  2. What’s your role in the program?
    I’m functioning as our first trainer, facilitator, coach, and mentor for JUNK-U. From my sports coaching, university teaching, and certified executive coaching experiences, I believe I’ve developed strong skills in the realm of performance management and leadership development. Helping others become great coaches of their direct reports is one of the most impactful ways I can help our company build a great culture with great managers. I am so excited to work together with these guys – and see them get excited as they make changes in their behaviors and see their performance improve. You can feel their excitement as they focus on things beyond ‘how well can I carry a couch down from the second floor and get it into the truck.’

    There’s only so much technical skill they can develop. Collin and I are committed to creating a positive, proactive learning environment where team members understand what success looks like as a top performer within our company.

  3. Can you give an example of how employees grow throughout the program?
    After a session where we discussed the importance of “building connections” to being a trusted employee/leader, one of our “students” took the initiative to discover YouTube videos dealing with the topic. He was amazed at one person he found who was very skilled in connecting with the people he interviewed. He was so taken by this person’s ability to connect with others that he viewed many of his videos and then tried to engage his colleague in the same way.

    As he was working on the trucks, instead of listening to music and bopping along to it, he chose to engage with his coworker through conversation—trying to build a better connection. In our next session, he was literally glowing with excitement as he shared his success in how much better he felt working with his coworker. It was a wonderful experience to introduce him to something that would create his own path for self-growth.

  4. What do you see as the long-term goals for the program?
    With all that we are working on at 123JUNK, I think my first focus has been to just get this program started.  Seeing the reaction to the program so far, I know we are on the right path with JUNK-U. I’m already envisioning an advanced course for some and also imagining how we might include onboarding courses for new 123JUNK employees. The number and variety of courses will be driven by how quickly we grow and how we can best attract and retain the best talent. I certainly can’t be the only facilitator for what I envision, so it will be interesting to see how we leverage other resources to meet the development needs of our staff.

    People need to have a deeper and richer understanding of the role they play in the workplace and the role they play in their own development. While our JUNK-U is just getting started, its launch speaks to our culture and vision for our company.

  5. What have been your takeaways from this program so far?
    I hold on to the belief that employees really do want to do their best at work. We would all rather be praised for a job well done than be admonished for underperforming. Compensation is very important, but it isn’t the primary motivator for people staying with an organization. Are you growing? Are you being developed? Do you feel like your capabilities are expanding? Are you being acknowledged for your successes while being given the chance to grow from your mistakes?

    That’s what people are really hungry for in the workplace. It’s like people want to be loved. What can we do to have an impact on these young people’s lives? You want to walk into your company and genuinely feel appreciated and know that your company, your supervisor, wants to help you grow and succeed. And what can we do together to support our customers and have a positive impact on their lives?

Grow with us at 123JUNK in Northern VA, MD, and Washington DC!

No matter what you are looking for, you can be sure to learn a lot at our local junk removal company. Our unique team is composed of exceptionally hardworking and enthusiastic individuals that truly enjoy growing together. Whether they are helping residents haul away their junk or participating in our professional development group, they strive to become better each and every day. 

Interested in joining our team? Check out our current openings or contact us at 800-364-5778 to learn more!