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Alberta’s Best Workplaces: Best Overall Workplace (Under 100 Employees)

The employees at Fully Managed have it all

Jun 1, 2013

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Best Overall Workplace Under 100 Employees

Fully Managed
Head office: Edmonton
Founded: 2002
Senior executive: Chris Day
Number of Alberta employees: 13

abwp_fullymanaged
Chris Ippolito (account executive), Genoa Adnams (office administrator), Sharleen Oborowsky (president), Sheila Williams (client experience manager) and Chris Dupres (lead consultant) in a Fully Managed “huddle.”
Photograph Curtis Comeau

At Fully Managed, staff members speak their own language. They have “huddles,” not meetings. It’s “mission control,” not the corporate office, and what most people would call the technology support centre, they call their “command centre.” The IT firm even has an internal currency, called “love bucks,” which employees earn and spend at quarterly auctions to buy anything from home decor to ski trips. While some might cringe at the vernacular, Fully Managed’s chief strategy officer, David Reeve, says employees have embraced it. “It creates a unique environment and culture,” he says, “and [our employees] really like that.”

That’s not the only thing the company does differently, either. Rather than just posting job openings, Fully Managed uses open houses to recruit new staff, introducing potential recruits to the business in a laid-back environment. It also relies heavily on employee referrals, and employees who refer a friend who stays with the company receive between $1,000 and $3,000 per year, for a total of $10,000 after five years. Reeve says because they hire based on character, they anticipate that employees have friends as driven as they are. Tapping those networks has been successful.

Considering how much they invest in hiring, it’s not surprising that Fully Managed takes employee education seriously. Despite a staff of just 33, the company has an internal university which includes mentoring and training programs. “We really wanted to build something that was replicable across the brand, so everyone’s operating under the same standards,” Reeve says.

While some training modules focus on obvious things – customer service, for instance – some aren’t what you’d expect. Fully Managed mentors its employees, largely millennials, in everything from personal finance to entrepreneurship. The company’s “open book” fiscal management means that while employees don’t have full access to company finances, they’re able to see the budgets for their department and the general financial health of the company. “For a lot of the young millennials who work here, it’s their first exposure to being treated like a business partner,” says Reeve. “We strongly feel that if we’re all in this together, people have a right to know [how the company is doing].”

Employees also have access to Fully Managed’s 20-week “Dream program,” which teaches them to set and accomplish goals, no matter how large, even if they take the employee away from the company. “If someone has the dream that they would like to be an entrepreneur, or maybe even open their own IT company, then we want to support them,” says Reeve. “All we ask in return is that during your time with us, you give us the best energy you have.”

The Finalists

C-FER Technologies
Head office: Edmonton
Founded: 1983
Alberta employees: 92
What it does best: Hosts special guest speakers with a provided lunch, and features a program that matches those hoping to develop skills with experienced colleagues. Sick days can be used to care for children.

Orbis Engineering Field Services
Head office: Edmonton
Founded: 2001
Alberta employees: 74
What it does best: Holds monthly barbecues in the summer, and lets kids and pets roam the office. Also offers three weeks of holidays to start, a free laptop and cellphone, and $250 yearly for healthy choices like gym memberships.

Travel Alberta
Head office: Calgary
Founded: 2009
Alberta employees: 79
What it does best: Travel Alberta offers 10 special leave days on top of three weeks paid vacation to start. Also offers awards for going beyond work expectations, with up to $1,000 in cash and $500 for a charity of your choice.

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