What makes a great entrepreneurial place to work?
For these 10 companies, creating environments that encourage teamwork, creativity, and a sense of ownership have made them desirable to top talent. For superstar employees all over the region, the ability to help build something and watch their efforts directly contribute to the success of a company is an enticing offer. Personal growth, freedom of expression, recognition of talent, and having ownership over what they do every day carries a high value for many workers and proves that smaller, privately held companies can compete for talent with the big businesses offering big compensation.
These 10 companies take culture seriously and it is paying off. The founders of these companies share just a few of the many ways they have created a great company to work for, and why they are glad they did.
What they do: Applico is a mobile consulting and development firm headquartered in NYC. It provides cross-platform mobile solutions: iPhone apps, Android apps, and mobile websites.
Why they are great: Applico has flexible hours (10am– 4pm is typically required, but exceptions are made) and requests to work from home often are accepted. In the software development industry, there are “crunch times” when employees must go above-and-beyond to meet deadlines. To celebrate a recent tight deadline met, CEO Alex Moazed bought everyone tickets to a Yankees game and everyone left work early to attend. Applico also recognizes milestones like employee anniversaries with the company with cake socials.
“We have two main pillars of our values,” says Moazed. “Our first pillar is the transparency pillar. Everyone who’s here is smart and very capable and we want everyone to be thinking for themselves, but also being transparent and open with their information, with their opinions, and in confronting one another. And that’s how we innovate. If we get people who are smart, but who don’t speak up, or don’t have the confidence in themselves to speak up, that’s a problem. However when you do, that’s how you innovate. The second pillar of our values is pursuit of your own happiness. Not the collective happiness, but your own happiness. And that’s continuous improvement, personal responsibility, right, accountability and ownership, and making fair trades without sacrifices.”
By measuring employees against these two pillars, senior management at Applico has been able to allow employees to have flexible work schedules and a work hard, play hard environment without sacrificing productivity.
However, this strategy for encouraging employee innovation will not work for everyone. In order to place the right people together, Applico has a rigorous hiring process. “I have actually been interviewing just about everyone up until this point,” says Moazed. “Now we’ve reached the size where it’s not that sustainable to do that anymore. So we have personality, behavioral tests that we administer throughout our recruitment process. We have candidates meet with people, not just with the department that they would be directly working in, but with those in complimentary departments. Then we have different types of skill tests to see how people will deal with problem solving or entrepreneurial problem solving in these different areas. There are a lot of very smart people out there and they can do the work, but if there’s not a good personality fit, then it doesn’t work for us. And it also really wouldn’t work for that person either.”
Moazed believes the pillars will be essential to continuing the company’s growth. Since 2011, Applico has grown from 15 employees to 60 and the revenue growth rate over past three years has been 600 percent.
Filed under: Applico in the Press | Topics: entrepreneurs, platform thinking