Company perks like free in-office dinners and dry cleaning, and the ability to bring Rover along so he can chew on a bone while we stare at our monitors, are all great. But let’s face it, while these kinds of things are helpful to those of us who live at the office, living like that is probably not particularly healthy in the long term, and it’s certainly not sustainable for most of us as we move beyond our 20s and have families and growing responsibilities outside of work.
With that in mind, CEO James Martino said, Avotus has flipped the Silicon Valley work model on its head and instead found success in hiring people who are extremely experienced, want to be part of something important, and are willing to contribute their skills and time at a reasonable pay scale.
The Avotus culture, he added, is about meeting customer needs; building relationships with and between employees, wherever they are; and letting workers have most of their evenings and weekends free to have lives outside of work.
Often employees at businesses like Avotus that have multiple offices and a highly distributed workforce never or rarely meet face to face with their colleagues at other locations, and when they interact their communications are all about business. However, Martino believes that it’s important to encourage people to get to know each other as individuals, so they better understand one other’s perspectives and commonalities.
To foster this company culture, Martino embarked on a journey when he joined Avotus a little more than four years ago. That journey took him to each of the company’s offices over a couple years. He took videos and pictures of people at each Avotus office, and when he went to the next place he showed the videos and photos of the people at the prior visit. Those photos and videos were sometimes of the dinners Martino and the employees shared that celebrated the local food and activities.
That, Martino indicated, helped lay the groundwork for the Avotus culture of interconnectedness, even in an environment that is separated by time and space. Now, he said, if an employee in India is getting married, people in the New Jersey office are interested and may ask to see pictures.
It’s a challenge to find, hire, and keep great people in tech these days, Martino said. But Avotus focuses on being a great place to work and making people feel like they’re part of something special. That has allowed the company to retain employees for very long periods of time, he said, noting a few workers at the 30-year-old-plus firm are approaching their 15- and 20-year anniversaries with Avotus.