WESTLAKE, Ohio — A recent headline in the Onion, a satirical publication, proclaimed “Laid-Back Company Allows Employees to Work From Home After 6 P.M.” That snark might be a bit too on the nose in corporate America, where smartphones and laptops keep workers tethered to their jobs, slaves to an endless stream of emails.
The line between work- and home-life, if it still exists, is increasingly blurred.
Leaders at Hyland Software believe in life beyond work. In fact, they encourage employees to let their home lives encroach on the office.
“We have this holistic approach, to say we really do care about you as a whole person,” said Kathleen Vegh, manager of employee engagement for Northeast Ohio’s largest software company. “How do we support you? We’re saying that we understand that work is only a part of your life, so a lot of the additional perks – get your hair cut here, bring your kids to daycare here – help you manage your home-life tasks while you’re here at work. Because why can’t the two blend a bit?”
Workers at the company’s Westlake headquarters campus can get a haircut or hand off their dry-cleaning without leaving the property. They can enroll their children at an on-site daycare facility that offers a Montessori curriculum. If they’re sick – or if their spouses or kids need medical care – they can pop into an on-campus wellness center for an appointment.
Hyland, which bested other large companies in The Plain Dealer’s annual Top Workplaces ranking, also lets employees front-load their workweeks from time to time, logging four 10-hour days and then taking the fifth day off. The company recently introduced a paid sabbatical program, open to people who have been with the company for at least eight years. Every five years, those employees can take a month off to travel, study, spend time with family or, simply, decompress.
No questions asked.
“That’s all an organization or company is, is a collection of people,” said Bill Priemer, Hyland’s president and chief executive officer. “So when you’re saying it’s a great place to work, you’re saying ‘I feel like I work with great people.’ And I really feel that we’re a community of professionals here who legitimately care about each other and support each other in pursuit of our personal and professional goals.”
Founded in 1991, Hyland develops a suite of software products called OnBase, which clients including large healthcare systems, banks and government agencies use for electronic document management and other tasks.
The privately held company employs 1,800 people globally, roughly 1,350 of them in Northeast Ohio. Last year, Hyland fielded 15,600 job applications and hired 300 full-time employees, plus 100 or so seasonal workers and interns.
Chris Klimas, a 28-year-old financial analyst, has worked at Hyland for less than a year. The company’s three-building campus is only a 10-minute drive from his house in Avon, and Klimas’s job gives him much-needed flexibility to spend time with his wife, their 2-year-old daughter and their infant son.
“If I had a sick kid, I’d be able to work from home,” he said. “It’s something that’s kind of promoted. We’re kind of like a family in that sense.”
Dana Wentling will hit the five-year mark with Hyland in August. A former legal secretary and stay-at-home mom, she’s now executive assistant to Hyland’s vice president of global sales. She takes yoga and Pilates classes at the on-campus fitness center and, during school breaks, brings her teenage daughters to lunch at Hyland’s diner.
One of her favorite company perks is “Welcome to Work” day, which involves breakfast and door-to-door chauffeur service for arriving employees, courtesy of golf cart-driving executives. The event, an annual surprise, doesn’t just demonstrate Hyland’s spirit of fun. It’s also points to ways that the company tries to make leaders accessible and approachable to employees, who laud Hyland for its transparency.
“There’s an open-door policy,” said Lisa Burdett, a 42-year-old presentation specialist who has worked at Hyland for five years. “You can talk to anybody at any time about anything.”
This year, Hyland hopes to surpass the 2,000-employee mark, growing headcount by 10 percent. The company is targeting annual revenue growth of 12 percent, stretching toward $350 million in yearly sales. Premier believes that Hyland can sustain that growth rate during the next few years – and he’s not even factoring in potential acquisitions, which would further boost the company’s size.
As Hyland expands, leaders are striving to maintain the corporate culture that has built employee loyalty and landed the business on Fortune’s list of the 100 best employers two years in a row. The company broadcasts its large Monday-morning meetings so that far-flung workers aren’t left out. It’s not unusual for executives to send out emails about an impromptu volleyball game, a snowman-building contest or other activities that get people moving, chattering and laughing.
At least four times a year, Hyland throws together large employee events, such as a clambake at Whiskey Island where employees provide the entertainment. On a sunny day, food trucks might pop up on campus to spice up the lunch routine. There are poker tournaments, Cedar Point tickets and paintball games.
“We look to just continue to listen to employees about what they want,” Vegh said. “We ask employees all the time what they see, what’s different. We’re not afraid to say ‘Hey, this doesn’t scale anymore.’ We try to really treasure what we’ve built but also be comfortable changing our ways.”
Growth also begets frequent questions about Hyland’s future. Priemer, the chief executive, won’t get into the details about the company’s long-term structure or its private-equity ownership. But he says that the region’s top large employer is here to hire, to expand, to play and to stay.
“I don’t think we’re different from any company, in that there will likely be changes in ownership makeup and structure over time,” he said. “But I don’t see any of those changes altering our identity, our mission or certainly the location of our headquarters here in Northeast Ohio. … I anticipate there being a Hyland Software located here in Northeast Ohio for as long as I can envision.”
See Michelle Jarboe McFee’s original story at ClevelandOnline here.