|Staff from the human
resources and other departments at Allyis relax in the company breakroom. Left
to right: Kristy Law, Sarah Um, Tim Simon, Anne Fairchild, Mark Dawson, Julia
Thompson, Brian Heiges, Hillary Dobbs, Sheri Turner.
In the world of business, there are a few universal truths
among employers: that hiring and retraining new workers is far more expensive
than retaining existing ones; that employees who feel recognized and empowered
are far more productive than those who don’t; and that the quality of the customer
experience is directly related to quality of the employee.
At the Kirkland offices of Allyis, a technology consulting,
development and staffing firm, these truths are the foundation of an
award-winning corporate structure. Founded in 1997, Allyis has grown into one
of the region’s premier Enterprise 2.0 consultancies. The company’s remarkable
employee benefits and cooperative atmosphere have earned it the top spot in
this year’s midsize category, an honor that Allyis also won in 2008.
Allyis founders Richard Law, Ethan Yarbrough and Ken
Efta—the company’s CEO, president and principal consultant, respectively—have
created a workplace in which employee recognition and engagement are paramount.
“From the day we started this company, we knew we wanted to
make it a place where we’d want to work,” Law says, “and a large part of that
centered on always doing our best to retain the human connection.”
Allyis helps its clients manage massive amounts of content
by creating search and content sharing systems that are based on the
fundamentals of social media. Much like Facebook and Twitter, Allyis’ systems
allow relevant content to “bubble up” to users within the process. To deliver
that functionality to its customers, the company implements tools like
Microsoft SharePoint, intranet portals and employee blogs.
So it’s no surprise that Allyis has used those same tools
within its own walls to foster employee collaboration, recognition and
productivity. The firm has a robust intranet site with blogs, team sites and
discussion boards that facilitate interdepartmental communication. Transparency
is key here as well: Allyis’ executives make themselves available to employee
queries via an online forum and twice-yearly town hall-style meetings. The
company publishes its financials every month; employees can query management on
that or any other aspect of the business through an anonymous web portal.
But Allyis’ commitment to employee recognition runs deeper
than a digital resource. In 2003, it redirected the majority of its marketing
budget toward employee services and recognition. The company’s 183 employees
are consequently among the most satisfied workers you’ll find anywhere in the
“Our employee care and employee recognition efforts are the
formal mechanisms to make sure that the recognition of the work done at Allyis
happens in a reliable and timely fashion,” says Law. “Good intentions are not
enough if they’re not acted on and prioritized within an organization.”