Wyatt has earned a Cisco certification and has taken technical and leadership training courses, all paid for in full by the company, which ranked No. 9 in terms of employee retention on Computerworld's 2015 list of the 100 Best Places to Work in IT.
"What most drew me in is that the company invests in its people, as opposed to just investing in technology," Wyatt says. "The technology at this company is great, but it's only as great as the people who support it."
Wyatt says he also has access to a variety of online subscription-based resources and training materials. "It's one of the things that differentiates it from other places I've worked," he says. "Elsewhere, they invested in technology but not the people, because they seemed afraid the people would leave."
CIO John Soave describes IT staffers as having "an insatiable appetite" for learning -- especially for learning about the business so they can better support it. Leaders from various business units present at the IT group's monthly town hall meetings to explain their processes. Soave also has asked the corporate training office to develop videos about how various departments operate. Under a recently implemented job-shadowing program, any IT staffer can request a shadow session with any employee in the company.
"If any employee identifies training that he or she wants to do, we support that. And we don't have any [dollar] limit on a per-employee basis," Soave says. Credit Acceptance also just increased its college tuition reimbursement benefit from $3,000 to $5,250 annually.
Ali Dabaja, 34, who manages finance and HR systems, estimates that he takes a training course every other month.
"On my team, we are constantly looking for ways to broaden our knowledge," Dabaja says, adding that he also values the importance the company places on giving IT staffers exposure to new technologies.
"If there is a new database or application out there, we try to get our hands on it and incorporate it into our business to make things easier for customers," he says.
Soave uses the word egalitarian to describe the company's culture. He says a visitor looking at adjacent offices would have a tough time telling which one was the CEO's office and which one was a lower-ranking manager's office.
"We're not flashy. We're about working hard and being fair and succeeding," Soave says.
Of compensation and coffee creamers
Still, employees have many opportunities to distinguish themselves -- and earn more money -- through their work performance.
Each year, every employee receives a merit bonus, ranging from 7.5 percent to 15 percent of base pay, based on his or her performance rating, Soave says. This amount is in addition to annual salary increases, which also are based on merit and can range up to 15 percent annually.
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