When this scaleup needed a new warehouse, it turned to an unconventional research teamMarch 5, 2020
Warren Rustand: Leading in a time of crisis (audio)March 19, 2020
By Alex Yastrebenetsky
Our company, InfoTrust, a digital analytics consulting company, has seen 13x revenue growth over the last six years, achieved staff retention 4x better than the industry standard, won 36 Fortune 500 clients and been able to contribute holiday meals and other donations to several thousand families through our foundation. Our company was honored as one of Inc. magazine’s Best Places to Work in 2019.
A big part of our success has been paying attention to the needs of the children of our employees. I’m a first-generation immigrant entrepreneur. My wife and I have children to raise and two sets of parents who need to be supported financially. I understand the responsibilities many of our employees face but may not feel comfortable talking about at work.
So, in tandem with our charitable program, we have created a system to make sure employees with families feel good about working here and don’t have to shortchange their loved ones of needed time and attention. Children are our future, and, as an employer, we realize how we treat their parents has a big impact on their financial security and wellbeing.
Being supportive of families is a multi-pronged effort that touches everything from our benefits to how we manage. Here are some of the key elements.
- 100% paid medical insurance: Given the crazy health insurance situation in U.S.—the only rich country where people go bankrupt from medical bills—providing the team with 100% paid medical insurance helps eliminate a huge source of stress and financial pressure for team members. I believe when you know your employer is truly trying to take care of you, you are going to be more engaged and productive.
- Unlimited paid time off (PTO.) Our only request is that team members respect the needs of their immediate team and, unless it is an emergency, work out their time-off schedule with their team.
- Three months of fully-paid family leave. This is an investment on our part, but we feel is it well worth it. We also offer an additional three months of part-time, fully-paid leave for parents to ease their way back into working full-time. This has built tremendous loyalty.
- A flexible schedule. Everyone works a 40-hour week, but we do not care when the work is done. Just as with PTO, what matters is that in setting your schedule you consider the needs of the team. We request that when possible, people located near our offices come to the office from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays because magic happens when people run into each other and connect in person. But even this is not a hard requirement that we enforce.
- Manager training. We ask our managers to understand that school schedules sometimes make attending meetings tricky for working parents. We do not schedule all-company or important meetings/trainings during short school breaks or after hours. We ask managers to have an open conversation about school bus pick-up times so we can avoid scheduling standing meetings at those times.
- We actively encourage open communication. One should never assume that a colleague can or cannot do something because they are a parent. At the same time, a working parent should feel absolutely comfortable sharing their scheduling difficulties without worrying about any of this negatively impacting their career. By encouraging our team to discuss the logistics of projects honestly, we’ve been able to avoid misunderstandings later.
These business practices have contributed to our growth tremendously. We have hit over $12M in revenue with 55 employees and achieved a level of gender diversity that has eluded many companies in technology. Currently, almost 50 percent of our team is women.
We’ve realized that we all need a purpose, and as entrepreneurs and business owners, this purpose cannot be just to grow a business for the sake of growth and making money. As we learned from Verne Harnish, author of Scaling Up (Rockfeller Habits 2.0), even if we “win the lottery” as we scale our business and sell it, we are not going to be happy long-term unless we’ve had a clear “why” in our head. For us, that “why” is supporting our people as they pursue what matters to them.