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Marco’s Fargo Office Nicknamed "Happy Town" For Positive Workplace Culture

Marco Inc.

Thirty-five employees comprise Marco’s Fargo office, and those 35 ndividuals are not only co-workers, they are friends as well. “We’re friends outside of work because we like to be around the people we work with,” said Tyler Ebnet, technology advisor at the 100 percent employee-owned company. Marco helps organizations manage their information through network expertise in voice, data, video, telecommunication and print solutions.

The company earned the 2014 ChamberChoice Young Professionals Best Place to Work award in recognition of the outstanding culture the Fargo office has created. In Fargo, nearly 50 percent of the employees are young professionals. “Respect for our employees is very high,” said Jonathan Warrey, vice president of sales. “Our employees are proud to tell people they work at Marco.”

That pride comes from a culture that supports leadership opportunities as well as community involvement, organizational characteristics that appeal to young professionals. “At Marco, we’re supported 100 percent when it comes to opportunities for growth,” said Megan Stoner, lead project manager. “I’ve never found that before at any other company. This is truly a place where everyone is heard, and we are trusted to make decisions in the environment we have control over. That’s important to me.”

Another important aspect of the company’s culture that young professionals appreciate is flexibility and a hands-off approach to management. “We know we have the resources we can draw from at any time, but no one is looking over your shoulder,” said Jackie Meyer, technology advisor. As long as the work is getting done, managers don’t dictate if the work is happening at home or in the office.

Marco’s consistent growth and expansion in the last five years — the company has tripled in both revenue and employees since 2009 — has resulted in young professionals having more opportunities to travel and possibly work at another location. Fargo is one of five regional offices, in addition to St. Cloud, Sioux Falls, Des Moines and the Twin Cities, and the company has 33 total offices. Marco has 750 employees and serves more than 18,000 clients throughout the upper Midwest and nationally.

Marco’s growth also means employees have been sharing in the profits through the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). Warrey said having an ESOP isn’t the best recruiting tool because young professionals are not usually thinking about retirement, but the ESOP makes an impact on retention once those employees begin seeing the stock value rise and their statement increase. “You keep good people with financial growth that they have a part in,” Warrey said.

Marco has a transparent approach to sharing financial information which helps young professionals understand their impact on the company’s performance. Another philosophy supported by young business people is Marco’s commitment to contributing at least 5 percent of its annual profit to the communities they serve. “It was a good idea back in 1973 when our company was founded and continues to be a hallmark of our company as we grow and expand,” Warrey said.

Growth can often result in muddled processes, but Marco has incorporated the principles of Lean manufacturing to keep processes efficient. Rapid improvement events (Kaizen events) bring together stakeholders from all departments in a multi-day session to map the current process, uncover alternatives and select the best process. That type of collaboration is appreciated by employees and the efficiency is appreciated by customers. “It goes back to our mission of being a growth-driven company providing technology services and being admired for our people and service,” Warrey said.

For more information about Marco’s workplace culture, read CEO Jeff Gau’s leadership blog at www.aleadershipculture.com.

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