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If you walk through the doors of Aerotek, be prepared for a warm greeting.
“You’re going to get flooded here in about two seconds,” says Bill Holland, director of business operations in Aerotek’s Madison office. Employees—sometimes all 42 partners in the Madison office—greet visitors, shake hands and introduce themselves. It’s a practice that Holland inaugurated when he arrived at the Madison operation in 2015.
It is one of the reasons that Aerotek, a nationwide staffing and recruiting company with a growing local office, scored at the top among small businesses in this year’s Best Places to Work survey in the Madison area.
Aerotek employees describe their co-workers as family. “I think we all look after each other,” says Amber Anderson, an account manager. Elli Boschuetz, another account manager, agrees. She says those types of relationships help create a strong team invested in each other’s success.
“Although it’s a competitive sales environment, you’re not going to get there without everyone else,” Boschuetz says. “As crazy as that sounds, helping others actually helps you in the long run.” That was true for her, she says, when she met a sales goal last year. “It definitely took a village to get me there, and to have other people care that much about my personal goals was amazing.”
A big part of Aerotek’s culture is its effort to include employees’ families in various ways. Family members are welcome to visit the office and are invited to promotion ceremonies. Employees also note the supportive atmosphere they feel during times of personal struggle. For example, after Holland’s infant daughter died, his Aerotek co-workers supported Peyton’s Smile, a nonprofit started by Holland and his wife to help families experiencing tragic loss. “Just to see a group of people that genuinely cares about a mission that’s bigger than yourself,” Holland says, “that’s what creates the culture.”
Another component of Aerotek’s culture is the focus on strengths and positive feedback. Jake Bute, one of the office’s managers, says managers praise employees for good performance, and they allow staff members to focus on what they do well. “We talk a lot about aligning people with their strengths, and bringing out the strengths in them,” says Holland.
When hiring, Holland says, managers look for characteristics such as compassion, integrity and selflessness.
Bute, who is involved in the hiring process, says job skills are not foremost when bringing on new people, adding, “We will hire character over competence.” He says job skills can be taught, and Aerotek Madison has a mentoring process for employees.
Holland says employee retention has improved in recent years, due in large part to the warm workplace environment, which, in turn, is fueled by a focus on individual and team success. It’s also because Aerotek allows its workers to create extended versions of their family, Holland says. “I think that part is something special and unique.”