iwerk is a team of software developers and IT professionals working together to create digital solutions.

Website: iwerk.com

Their story

iwerk’s Technical Services team focuses on the client experience as much as helping the client with their technical issue. Several years ago the iwerk team was dissatisfied with their work, as were their clients. Under the new leadership of Justin Critchfield, the team took a new perspective to their work. Justin made it clear that not a single employee was to attempt to make additional sales while working with the client. Additionally, no more binding contracts would be created for clients. Instead, the client would be able to choose to leave iwerk at any given moment. The most important shift: every employee was to do something positive for each client they interacted with.

Why did Justin do this? He believed that if he could alleviate the pressure to make sales, he could create happier employees. He also understood that IT professionals are most often called in during a very stressful part of someone’s day. By being genuinely happy, upbeat individuals, the employees would impact the lives of others in a positive way. Justin quickly saw a boost in morale within the team. Emphasizing positivity towards the clients created more positivity within the office. His team became closer to their clients as well as each other. Before long iwerk’s client base grew due to word of mouth referrals from existing clients. The positivity turned into a culture of kindness extending beyond just technical services. Justin always reminds his employees to take care of EVERYONE they cross paths with. If there is someone in the client’s parking lot that needs help changing a tire, stop and do it. The entire mission of the team has become about spreading positivity. Hiring practices have changed due to this shift. Justin no longer hires strictly based on technical skills. Rather, he hires on a list of soft skills, understanding that he may have to spend time teaching the technical skills. Anyone can learn to be an IT professional, but not everyone can learn how to be nice.

Their advice

“Remember that at the end of the day­ work is a huge part of your life. During the week, most of us spend more time at work than we do with our own families. Work is a place that brings us purpose and helps us grow beyond the 8 hours of daily work. Happy employees create happy clients­ and the results ripple onward. Sometimes something as simple as asking how someone’s day is can make a huge difference”

Submitted 2017