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The No. 1 small place to work in IT: Axxess

Mary K. Pratt | June 13, 2017
Challenging work, supportive colleagues and a culture that prioritises collaboration keep IT professionals engaged at this fast-growing startup.

From the start, executives set out to build a culture where information workers would thrive, says chief technology officer Andrew Olowu. He and other managers hire staff based not only on their technical skills but also on their integrity, values and ability to fit into the company’s culture, he says.

“It starts with being deliberate and being attuned to the culture we want to create — collaborative, with a focus on innovation and excellence,” he says. “That culture is not something that was accidental. It’s something we preach, and it’s something we live,” says Olowu, who joined the company in 2008.

The company hits all the right notes in the job market, offering competitive salaries, annual pay increases, 15 days of paid time off in the first year of service, and robust benefits — in fact, the firm was No. 6 among all 100 Best Places for its benefits. Likewise, thanks to perks like tuition reimbursement and unlimited days off for technical training, Axxess was No. 4 among all 100 organizations for training.

Binu Varghese, 45, a senior software development manager at Axxess, joined the company in August 2016. She had worked for several other companies in the past, including a 15-year stint with a large technology firm. She was drawn to Axxess for its reputation both as a good employer and as an innovator.

“I kept watching some of the healthcare IT news and saw Axxess show up as an emerging technology company that was one of the best places to work,” she says, adding that she felt the company’s commitment to its products and clients meshed with her passion for technology and the healthcare IT space.

Now six months into her job, Varghese says she’s sure she was right to join the company. The firm’s open office layout promotes collaboration, while its smaller size, with its startup mentality and lack of bureaucracy, enables speed. 

Varghese recounts one incident where she and colleagues were discussing a particular project when another engineer joined the conversation with a few key pointers. She says the advice helped head off potential problems that could have surfaced further down the line.

“We promote a feeling that we’re a ‘company of owners,’” Varghese says. “We don’t have barriers. The engineers are very passionate and very open, and they welcome ideas.”

 

Innovation is key

Senior web engineer John Howard, 40, frequently uses the word “empowerment” to describe the culture at Axxess — both in terms of the work and of employees’ ability to advance their careers at the company. 

Tech workers are encouraged to tackle work in the way they feel is best to get it done. As an example, Howard points to his current project assignment, where developers were initially using the object relational mapper typically used at Axxess, but then proposed — and won support for — switching to a new one that they felt had better benefits.

 

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