AT TEKIE GEEK, we treat employees like we appreciate them, because we do. As business owners, it’s important to never forget that your employees are the ones who help you get to your goals, and that losing them can be detrimental. Creating a culture that makes valuable employees want to stay and contribute to our mutual success has been a key priority since launching Tekie Geek in 2013.
Together with my business partner and wife, I set a few simple core values that shape our culture. One is Golden Rule-ish. We treat our employees like I wanted to be treated when I was in corporate IT, but often wasn’t. If I'm successful, I want them to be successful and grow with me for as long as it’s beneficial to both of us. I will never be the CEO who tells the ranks there will be no raises because the business isn’t making money, then show up in a new car.
Another core value is to embrace the geek. We are all geeks, and I am the president geek. We love pop culture and talking movies. In pre-coronavirus times, we played arcade games in the office, held team-building events, hosted lunches, and celebrated birthdays—which we’re doing remotely for now. In addition to paying staff well, we have paid vacation time plus medical, dental, and life insurance. For their skills development, we pay for training and books. Our brand is fun yet professional.
Rather than hire someone for their tech skills, which can be taught, we seek employees who fit into this environment, because it’s not right for everyone. Some people need more structure. I look for a person who will hopefully want to make Tekie Geek their home for the next decade or their whole career. That person has to show up every day and be happy, and want to grow with us.
Of course we have standard operating procedures. My staff knows what needs to get done on a day-to-day basis. My help desk knows our documentation system, how a ticket gets worked, and how escalations are done. I monitor KPIs, ticket scores, SLAs, and customer satisfaction surveys, which are consistently high.
That’s because another part of our culture is a shared recognition that clients are a cherished asset, and we're going to do everything we can to earn five-star reviews for every interaction. Our employees know that without customers we have nothing, and that no matter what needs to get done, they have to pick up that paper clip, even if it's not their job.
Our staff’s response to the coronavirus crisis is a testament to that. We sent employees home to work remotely, and during those first few weeks when our clients needed help setting up their own remote workforces, everybody worked as long and as late as was necessary—without me asking or overseeing. They understood the urgency.