Family Meetings & Feedback Loops: Tilson Homes' Blueprint for Employee Engagement


Tilson Homes (Tilson) is a 90-year-old, custom home builder in Texas. A part of the state’s community for generations, they build on customer-owned lots across the state predominantly in the rural areas near the major metroplexes of Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas and Fort Worth. Offering a wide selection of floor plans, they operate out of 12 design centers with model homes across the state. This family-owned and managed business employs many second-generation subcontractors, some of whom have been working on Tilson Homes since 1962. They boast several awards and accolades, including 2022 Best Companies to Work for in Texas.

Despite their longevity and list of accomplishments, Tilson is always seeking opportunities to improve, especially when it comes to their greatest asset, their people.  They began partnering with People Element in 2021 and quickly launched their first company-wide engagement survey thereafter, with a second survey conducted in 2023.


Communication & Management

The 2021 engagement survey revealed an opportunity for Tilson to strengthen employee communication. After receiving this feedback, the organization leveraged additional avenues to boost company-wide communication and increase the feedback loop.

The first initiative was instituting virtual, all-employee meetings every quarter. Referred to as “Family Meetings,” these touch points provided executives and leadership a chance to meet with employees on a regular basis. In these meetings, they would take the time to share critical information about projects that have impacted company processes, changes that may impact employees, and any updates to policies or procedures.

Additionally, Tilson invited their employees to submit their questions ahead of time to be addressed during each meeting. This helped ensure that specific questions were answered and provided employees with a chance to have a voice.

Lastly, the company created additional manager positions within its structure. This provided employees with a direct manager who would be consistently available and accessible to them. These new managers also began contributing as trainers during the employee onboarding process.

To gauge the effectiveness of these improvements, Tilson launched a second company-wide survey in 2023.


With these new improvements, Tilson wanted to make sure their 2023 survey had a strong participation rate to hear from as much of their team as possible. To start off, their CEO sent an announcement a few days prior to the survey launching. The company then scheduled four reminder emails that hit inboxes during the two-week window that the survey was open, encouraging them to complete it. One adjustment made was to send the reminders to both work and personal emails in 2023, versus only work emails in 2021.

People Element's Role

In addition to these company-wide employee engagement surveys, Tilson also utilizes People Element’s onboarding surveys. These touchpoints—in conjunction with personal calls from the organization—allow Tilson to check-in with new hires at various stages during their first six months on the job. The company continues to receive feedback from new hires that they have never worked for a company that has acted so intentionally to gauge how they are adjusting to both their new role and the company overall.

Tilson believes this extra care in the onboarding process contributed to the increased participation rate in 2023. It assists in developing a continuous feedback loop from the start that makes new employees feel valued, comfortable sharing and—more importantly—illustrates Tilson’s willingness to listen to their feedback.

A rep from Tilson Homes shares, “Improving our employee engagement has been a focus for us for many years. We know we can’t make changes overnight, but having feedback each year has shown us that the changes and adjustments that we are making are having an impact on how our employees connect with each other, our customers, and the company.”


Tilson saw great results in their 2023 engagement survey, boasting a positive increase in every single survey category. Their increased focus on managers and company-wide communication contributed to improved scores in their respective categories.

Their most notable categorical increases included:

  • Senior Leadership (+12)
  • Job Satisfaction (+11)
  • Managers (+9)

Additionally, their 2023 engagement survey ended with an 81% participation rate, a five percentage point increase over 2021.

Their overall favorability rose to 89%, an eleven percentage point increase compared to 2021, and engagement jumped to 85%, a seven percentage point increase over their initial survey.

Graph titled "Engagement Survey Results" showing participation, favorability, and engagement data from 2021 and 2023
  • Engagement refers to the percentage of the population that is engaged based on People Element’s Engagement Index. 
  • Favorability refers to the percentage of favorable survey responses (4 & 5’s on a 5-point Likert scale of agreement)

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