Committed to Culture from Day One
When Chris Izquierdo and David Cronin started DevFacto in 2007, people told them it wouldn’t work. They were investing too much in their employees. How could they spend that much time and money on employee happiness and expect to stay in business? Clearly, this would be DevFacto’s downfall. Eleven years later and 125 employees strong, DevFacto obviously did something right.
DevFacto is a software consulting company that specializes in product ideation, process improvements, and custom software solutions. While their consulting focuses on five core business challenges, they also recently launched two new products of their own-- one of which was directly sourced from DevFacto’s experience using TINYpulse.
The consulting industry, as a standard, is demanding and intense. If you have ever met a consultant, you know that they are people on the go. They trade in air miles and can likely tell you, with great authority, which hotel chain has the best pillows. Though their lives may seem glamorous, consultants are constantly juggling high expectations and grueling workloads. For most consulting companies, this leads to worn out employees and high turnover.
Chris and David thought this was a terrible standard. Why spend all that time recruiting and training top talent if you are going to quickly lose them? Why not build a company where people actually enjoy working? David and Chris knew people were their greatest resource. That’s why they decided to make company culture their top priority. As a result, DevFacto has a 97% employee retention rate.
If you just did a double-take, you’re not alone. 97% of employee retention is not only high for tech, but it’s also high for a lot of industries. So, what did DevFacto do to get this industry-leading retention rate? They focused on culture early and they measure employee happiness often.
"I love TINYpulse, because it helps open consistent communication channels."Laura Konsorada, Marketing Director
When DevFacto first started in 2007, it didn’t have a lot of hierarchy. There were two co-founders, a few administrators, and a handful of developers. Getting feedback was quick, and transparency was easy to maintain. The challenge came when DevFacto hit its growth spurt in 2012. As the company grew, silos started to spring up and clear communication started to slip. There were too many people in the organization to keep a pulse on everyone. Or so they thought.
DevFacto needed a lightweight solution to get regular feedback from employees. In 2013, they turned to TINYpulse for help. Employees were scattered across different time zones and many were working remotely. DevFacto needed something that was easy to use on-the-go. They also needed something that consultants could respond to on their own schedules. Not everyone worked a 9-to-5.
On top of that, DevFacto didn’t want to collect feedback just for the sake of feedback. Company leaders wanted to use survey data to take action. Their goal was to improve and reinforce the awesome culture they were building. That’s why DevFacto chose to work with TINYpulse.
Through TINYpulse, DevFacto employees receive a bi-weekly anonymous survey with one simple question. They can also submit anonymous suggestions or send cheers for peers at any time. Laura Konsorada, Marketing Manager at DevFacto, says she loves TINYpulse. This is because it helps open consistent communication channels.
Employees can send in anonymous feedback and managers have multiple ways to respond. The first is by anonymous private message, which protects employees while opening a direct conversation. The second is through public comments on suggestions. By doing this, management can address concerns and show their commitment to action.
These open lines of communication led to company action early on. One employee sent in a comment saying that there wasn’t a clear path to promotion within the company. As a result, DevFacto implemented a career coaching program that pairs senior employees with newer employees. This has helped employees feel more engaged and invested in the company.
"Devfacto gets feedback we didn't know we needed. We were able to tap into a wealth of ideas from engaged employees who care about the business, to develop new and exciting products. We wouldn't be able to access these ideas without TINYpulse."Laura Konsorada, Marketing Director
Hiring the best talent is one thing. Convincing them to stay is a whole other ball game. As a tech-consultancy, DevFacto is constantly battling to recruit the best people. Once they are through the door, there is endless temptation trying to pull them away.
That’s why DevFacto cares so much about the culture. Great culture leads to happy employees who stick around. Happy employees lead to happy clients. Happy clients lead to a thriving business. From DevFacto’s perspective, investing in company culture is investing in the success of the organization.
So, what does DevFacto do to keep employees happy? They tie together transparent communication, engaging opportunities, and great perks.
Here’s a rundown of some of their key culture builders:
Monthly measurement of employee happiness. Employee happiness is a critical KPI for DevFacto. They use TINYpulse to capture timely information from employees. This includes feedback and suggestions. This information helps DevFacto make smart choices about resourcing, benefits, and engagement activities.
Beer O’Clock - Fridays at 4p.m. DevFacto knows that their employees work hard. They also recognize that all this hard work can create silos in the organization. That’s why they draw everyone away from their desks with Beer O’Clock on Fridays. During this time, employees are encouraged to power down their computers and relax. This helps build relationships across teams. Often, people stick around after 5 p.m. to hang out and continue their conversations.
Monthly town hall to increase transparency. Once a month, the whole company gets together to review the feedback captured through TINYpulse. This ritual keeps things transparent. It also holds leadership accountable to its employees.
Every five years fly the entire company somewhere fun. When DevFacto first started, people said the company wouldn’t last five years. So, when the company turned five, Chris and David decided to celebrate with a company-wide trip to Las Vegas. For their 10th anniversary, they took all 125 employees to Mexico. This trip is a great incentive to reward employee loyalty.
As part of their feedback loop, DevFacto regularly uses TINYpulse to crowdsource ideas from employees. One of these ideas came from an employee who saw that TINYpulse opened up communication channels that boosted the business. They saw an opportunity to build their own internal communication tool that would help other companies thrive. That is how Sparrow was born.
Sparrow is designed to improve the way companies spread information and engage with employees. It also measures the effectiveness of communication across an organization. The tool connects people with information, wherever they are and whenever they want. It opens up conversations and boosts employee engagement. This leads to better productivity and better ideas.
Laura Konsorada, Marketing Manager at DevFacto, recently told us that Sparrow has helped a utility company stay connected. Employees are often on the road and operating out-of-pocket. Before Sparrow, employees often felt disconnected and in the dark. Now, they have constant access to relevant and timely information. The best part is, they don’t have to search for news and updates. It’s all sent to them through the Sparrow app.
DevFacto was committed to company culture from the start. But as it grew, the co-founders were presented with a choice. They could either keep pushing forward with what they thought was working. Or, they could proactively manage growth by creating a transparent feedback loop. They chose clear communication and it has paid off in spades.
By working with TINYpulse, Laura Konsorada states “DevFacto gets feedback we didn’t know we needed.” These insights help them stay focused. They are also able to tap into a wealth of ideas from engaged employees who care about the business, to develop new and exciting products. They wouldn’t have been able to access these ideas without a platform like TINYpulse.
DevFacto didn’t need a cultural quick fix. Instead, they wanted to open a conversation. For over four years, this open dialogue has helped DevFacto stay focused and ahead of the game.