Best Workplaces 2012: Best Workplace Under 100 Employees
WHEN SERGEY USTINOVICH, A 10-year IT consultant, headed into the first of three interviews with DevFacto Technologies, he had a 12-item checklist he wanted to go through with his potential employer. He wanted, for example, to ensure DevFacto had a training budget for employees and a system for employee feedback.
Photograph Aaron Pedersen/3ten; Illustration Michael Byers
By the time the interview was over, Ustinovich was confident that DevFacto had met every single item on his list. “This is the best place I have worked,” he says. He joined the company last October.
Ustinovich isn’t the only person attracted to the Edmonton company these days. DevFacto has more than doubled in size since 2010, and it now employs 42 people in Edmonton. Co-founders David Cronin and Chris Izquierdo believe the company’s ability to recruit talented people has been a key part of its tremendous growth. DevFacto appeared on the Fast Growth 50 list two years in a row, topping the list in 2011 and finishing eighth in 2012.
Cronin believes the same programs that helped recruit Ustinovich will work as the software consulting company expands to Regina and Calgary. It has opened a nine-person office in Regina and employs one IT consultant in Calgary – the next city in which DevFacto intends to establish a superior workplace.
Cronin and Izquierdo say promoting the company’s benefits package is easy. DevFacto offers entry-level staff three weeks of vacation per year to start. It offers $2,500 per year to every employee for any vocational training (including cooking classes and self-help books), $100 per month for travel expenses (including a bus pass) and free beer on Fridays. “They’re great recruiting tools,” Cronin says.
But it doesn’t end there. Every year, Cronin and Izquierdo use the company’s 10 per cent profit-sharing arrangement to implement two new benefit programs for its employees. In 2011, that meant a $500-per-year wellness fund that can be used on anything from a gym membership to a tablet computer, and a 52-cent-per-kilometre mileage subsidy whenever an employee has to travel for work.
In 2012, the company is implementing a $1,000-per-year vacation subsidy to encourage employees to make use of their minimum three weeks of vacation per year. Cronin says some employees use the fund to upgrade from a three-star to a five-star hotel when they travel, while others simply use the money to pay for flights. The company is working on the details of its second new program for 2012 – it plans to match a percentage of each employee’s RRSP contributions.
Word of DevFacto’s employee benefits package has spread through the IT community in Edmonton. Today, the 52-person company receives upwards of 20 unsolicited resumés a week. That might soon be the case in Calgary and Regina, as well.