Recently, Foundant was included in two highly coveted lists highlighting excellence in two very different categories. In September, we were placed at number 3,021 on the Inc. 5000 List as one of the fastest growing privately owned companies in the United States. Just today, we were listed at number 35 in Outside Magazine’s Top 100 Best Places to Work. We are undoubtedly proud of both awards. However, we are most satisfied to have won them together, at the same time. The reason? We realize that it may not always be easy for fast-growing companies to continue providing a happy, balanced workplace for their employees. We’re thrilled to know we are staying with the core values we set out to establish when Foundant was but a fledgling company by providing our employees with a sense of purpose, while at the same time giving them the freedom to balance their work with their personal lives.
I think a big reason we were awarded Outside Magazine’s Top 100 Best Places to Work is due to a couple of key policies. About three years ago, we rolled out our current “No Vacation, Vacation Policy”. The gist of this policy is, our employees are allowed to take as much time off as they need. This allows people to take vacation when they need it, stay home when they or a family member is sick, or go watch their kid’s school play guilt-free. There is an expectation that each member has a life outside of work. We have learned that placing an emphasis on the life balance of our employees makes them more focused and successful when they are at work.
The second policy was the creation of Foundant’s “Culture Club”. This is a group of non-executive employees who are responsible for planning events, our local service projects, contests, and presenting ideas from other employees on how to best maintain a fluid and focused environment. This group has the authority and budget to plan activities they feel the team would enjoy or support. It has been rewarding to see how protective each employee is of our culture because they feel they are responsible for it.
With the level of self-management we allow, and expect, of our employees, it would be easy to be fearful of things not getting done or a lack of focus. This is why we are so excited about winning these two awards simultaneously. About three years ago, we imagined a work environment where each member was seen and valued as an individual, where they were responsible for themselves and still felt ownership for the company’s goals and success. We made the leap of faith to implement the policies described above and have grown the business 118% over the same three years. A growth rate high enough to place us on the Inc. 5000 list. We feel that this not only proves that growth is possible with a company culture like ours, but that policies giving our employees balance and empowerment have undoubtedly added to that growth. We are proud to be one of only 16 companies named on both lists, and will continue to look for ways to better empower and recognize our employees as a strategy to grow even faster over the next three years.