Widgets A Tale of Two Companies

A Tale of Two Companies

By Nick at October 22, 2010 07:49
Filed Under: Leadership

I had two very interesting conversations this week. I’ll describe them, and then I’ll have a question for you at the end.

First Story

Here at Gateway, we have a top notch Human resources (HR) Department.  I’m normally very wary of HR – especially given my recent experiences – but our folks here are great. They are squared away, generally concerned about all the employees, and they are very helpful and welcoming to new hires, me included. 

One of HR’s roles is recruiting, and we are actively working to find developers and QA people.  Earlier this week, I was meeting with one of our HR people on that topic, and she was telling me about being excited that she and her husband were buying their first  house.  They are a young couple with a baby, and so getting their first house is a big milestone.  However, there was a snag:  her husband couldn’t get the day off for their closing date.  And here’s the kicker – her husband works at a bank!  You’d think that a bank would now what a big, exciting, life-changing event a house closing is, but I guess he couldn’t get the day off for it. 

Second Story

One thing that happens for all new hires here is that we get an orientation from the two owner/founders.  They tell us how the company was founded, how it grew, what the company core values are, etc.  It is a really cool thing, because you see that our owners really value the company and us as employees.  One of the things that they stressed – and something that has been clear to me even before I started here – is that they really want to create a “job for themselves”; that is, a place where they themselves want to work.  That drives much of their decision-making about benefits, compensation, etc. 

Okay, so to follow up on that.   Two weeks ago, we had a new part-time developer start here.  She’s an interesting case – she’s got a Masters in CS but hasn’t had a job for the last eight years because she was a full-time mom.  Both of her kids are now in school, so she decided to re-enter the work force on a part-time basis.  She’s had her eye on Gateway Ticketing for a while as one of the few software development companies in the area, and we were very happy to find a skilled, capable developer to add to our staff.  It’s working out great for everyone. 

So, being “the boss”, I stopped by to see how things were going.  I asked her how her kids were doing, and she said they were fine – her hours are such that she is there when the get on and off the bus – but that they were concerned that she would have a meeting or something that would keep her from meeting them.  With great pleasure, I told her that there was nothing going on here – no meeting, no task, nothing – that was more important than her meeting her kids at the bus.  Why did I tell her that? Because I have kids, and I know that that is how I’d want the company to react if I were in her shoes. It was great to put that company value into action.  And our new hire seemed pleased to know that the company felt that way.

Okay, so now the question I mentioned up top:  Which company would you rather work for – Gateway Ticketing or that bank?

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