One of my favorite entrepreneurs is Ray Kroc who led McDonalds to become one of the most successful fast-food chains in the world. One of his jobs, prior to launching McDonalds, was working as a milkshake mixer salesman. There is no question that Ray Kroc put in a lot of hard work to realize his dreams. In fact, he once said, “Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.”
I’m a big believer in the work hard/play hard philosophy and that is why we have worked hard to develop a culture of fun and recognition at IST. Hard work is going the extra mile, making one more phone call, striving for perfection and getting the job done. So why do we also focus on playing hard and spending money and resources for a few laughs, some good times or to reward people for achieving great results? In my book, work is more than a paycheck. Call me old fashioned, but work is intricately involved with our values, dreams, goals, family and personal objectives in life. If you’re not happy on the job, it will clearly have an impact off the job. While we strive to maintain a work-life balance, it’s important to bring into the workplace a sense of appreciation, recognition and a few laughs along the way.
Appreciation: I send out hundreds of emails every month to clients, potential clients and employees. One of my favorite types of emails that I send is a response from a client who is thanking one or more IST employees for doing a great job. Here is just one example… Audrey Chanet Ngaleu, Manager, Office Services at Change Healthcare (IST client) sent an email to me and Kim Oleniacz, Senior VP/Partner at IST, concerning Matt Rast, Operations Manager at IST, in Atlanta. Audrey said, “I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your extraordinary help today to keep the office up and running. Due to our freight elevator being down, our large Staples order (copier paper) has been interrupted for the past two days. Matt borrowed three cases of copy paper and delivered it to our office earlier today. I have resolved the issue and we will receive our large order on Monday morning from Staples, but I can’t thank you enough for going above and beyond today.” That was an awesome email from Audrey, and we sent Matt an American Express gift card for his extra efforts to resolve the issue.
Recognition: Over the years, IST has won many awards from different organizations regarding either our growth, recognition programs or creating a great workplace. Our recognition programs span the board from service awards, employee of the month, annual achievement and performance awards. We have a full-blown training and advancement program and are very proud of the employees who came up through the ranks and now serve in management roles such as Lori Mitchum, Tim Richardson, Brad Burgess, Andrew Addison, Chuck Gamble, Charlie Merritt, Julie Anderton and Brian Levy. There are many more we can add to the list. Just last month we had a weekend retreat for our Regional Operation Managers in Atlanta for team-building, training, brainstorming and entertainment.
Fun: In addition to recognition events both locally and nationally, we have created various venues to celebrate fun at IST. In fact, we have a day called “FunDay!” It is typically held on the Friday before Halloween where employees are encouraged to put on all kinds of costumes to compete for Best Photo, Best Theme and Best Video. We are also known for the Blackman Bucks auction where employees compete for some magnificent prizes based on bucks they receive for doing a great job. At the end of the year, we have a Blackman Blowout Blowout which is filmed based on an orchestrated theme such as Game of Thrones, and one lucky person wins $2,000! Finally, we encourage our teams across the country to get together periodically to break some bread and have some fun.
As we quickly move through the last quarter of 2019, I see this year shaping up as an incredible year for IST. Here we are at 22 years and on solid ground. I am looking forward to the next 20 and 30 years of unprecedented growth and opportunities for all of you. Let’s keep up this great culture that we have at IST and continue to rock the FM and e-Discovery world. Thank you for all that you do!