Bailiwick Data Systems, Inc. has reached its 17th year in business. Still, for CEO Tim Andersen, internal staff-focused goals haven’t changed since inception of the Minnesota-based company that supplies professionally managed IT-deployment services to Fortune 500 companies throughout North America. “I wanted to build a great place to work,” he says, “somewhere that was fun and allowed employees to grow, that gave people the opportunity to build balance into their lives.”
Andersen’s initial impulses have been crystallized into four key brand values emanating both within and outside of Bailiwick: trust, consistency, knowledge, and innovation. For Andersen, trust is paramount in every relationship. “I want the people here to like me,” he says. “But, the most important thing is that they trust me. It’s a cornerstone of our business. When push comes to shove and you have some professional arguments, trust needs to be the foundation of everything. It’s how you make the dance work.”
For Bailiwick, this “dance” is complicated by the organization’s structure: 85 full-time staffers and more than 7,500 remote field technicians form partner relationships. Still, the company treats both types of workers equally, and according to Michelle Wolter, vice president of sales, “There’s a familial atmosphere here. We consistently get feedback from our partners that we treat them better than the other companies they work for. People know that we have each other’s backs, and it’s an important part of being scalable.”
what’s a major benefit to working at bailiwick?
“Regardless of your role or level, you have a chance to make a difference, an impact. By means of participation in groups like the Culture Task Force, participating in the Climate Survey, or by seeking out company leadership—which is quite accessible—anyone can make sure their voice is heard.”
—Heather McMullen, Director, PMO (Professional Services)
“The unique culture and the great people. Bailiwick promotes open communications, opportunities for growth, and a balanced work environment to improve its employees’ personal and professional success.”
—Caitlyn Klosterman, Manager of Project Accounting
Support in the organization involves compassionate management and an effective and aware productivity strategy. With a project-based company such as Bailiwick, there are peaks of workload; ensuring nobody is getting swamped is a constant process. “We have a profitability-monitoring program where we bring sales and operations together to review the economics of our projects on a regular basis,” says Bob Marko, senior vice president. “We leverage those studies to build road maps, and regularly review those road maps to make sure we’re treating our people fairly—we don’t want to drive excessive workloads.”
Bailiwick employs a system of disciplined time recording to help guard against this, Marko says. Management is trusted to keep tabs on staff, and back things down when the opportunity presents itself. Wolter also points to the company’s productivity philosophy of “right sourcing,” which she describes as, “understanding the right resource for the right task for the right result,” as part of the organizational tapestry that protects internal workers and matches the right field technician for the customer’s IT initiative. A pay-for-performance program—focused on sharing the rewards of Bailiwick’s success—is also in place, to incentivize workers and encourage them to share in the company’s common goals and vision. “It’s what creates community,” Marko adds.
However, the importance of certain goals will vary depending on the individual. Wolter explains that Bailiwick recently evaluated the generations at play within its workforce by inviting an executive from one of its Fortune 100 customers to educate the management team about how generations collide in the marketplace today. “The Millennial generation demands different things than the Baby Boomers,” Wolter says, “and they specifically want to know why they are doing what they’re doing, the value of it, and where the opportunities are for advancement.”
In response, the company offers funding for employees to pursue training, a tuition-reimbursement program, and a hire-from-the-inside mentality. “We promote a good work-life balance at Bailiwick,” Marko says, “and employees with a healthy mind set will service our customers better. Everyone wins.”