In 2018 US Secretary of Commerce awarded Technologent an “E Star” Award for excellence in exporting. You will find it hanging in one of their twelve US offices. Tammy Cooper, vice president of human resources and controller for the technology sales company, is very proud of the achievement.
However, she first talks about a different honor. For four years, the company has earned the employee-voted Best Places to Work honor, run by the Orange County Register. “It’s our secret sauce,” Cooper says. “We take care of employees. We do not see them as expendable. They are our greatest asset.”
Cooper oversees a great deal of the company’s infrastructure and, while no two days are the same, all the days are, “stacked with tasks from morning to night,” she says. There are certain seasons of activities. October is benefit negotiation and open enrollment meetings, December is performance review, January is audits, etc. But year-round she handles new hires, offboarding, mediation, payroll, and the myriad duties assigned to her and her staff, both in accounting and HR.
Fifteen years ago, Cooper worked Cleveland’s steel industry. She arrived in California, took a job at a nursing home company and found herself working eighty-plus hour weeks. An offer to be within the HR department at Technologent provided the opportunity to join a small, family-oriented company. The founders, a husband and wife team, insisted on work/life balance. Three years in, maintaining that promise of balance, they offered Cooper an expanded role, vice president of HR and controller with robust teams under her in both departments.
The company began by selling only Sun Technology products. They opened a call center in Nebraska to support reps and quickly became a top-ten seller. At just the right moment in 2008, they decided to diversify and now work with major accounts for other companies, including Dell, IBM, Oracle, and EMC. With Technologent now three hundred employees strong, Cooper says, “I’ve grown with the company.”
Taking care of employees means more than simply fulfilling the tasks of HR. It also means innovating and evolving. Cooper and her team recently completed a long look at their HRIS system, which was previously manual. A desire to integrate systems drove a shift, along with the fact that, Cooper says, “We sell technology, we need to be automated.”
With four criteria—an engaging and user-friendly interface, integration into their current payroll, using ADP, and flexibility—Cooper settled on ServiceNow as the new HRIS system. Beyond fulfilling top needs, ServiceNow also offers a chat feature, houses the company handbook and a history of all HR interactions for each employee. “We can be as paperless as possible,” Cooper says. Technologent also sells some of ServiceNow’s other products and is recognized as a customer and representative.
Talking about another company transformation, the VP says that Technologent employees, are committed and work hard. She also knows that what they want has shifted. “People have a different idea of the workforce,” she says.
“We take care of employees. We do not see them as expendable. They are our greatest asset.”
To accommodate this, Cooper is leading Technologent through a culture shift that centers around work scheduling. As more employees seek a 4/10 work week, as well as work from home options, Cooper explores structures that will ensure each staff member is a successful person as well as employee.
She points to the central tension. “What do you need in your schedule to have balance?” she asks. “You need to be with your family. But you also need to get your work done.” It is her goal to offer avenues for achieving this balance.
While at work, Cooper wants to make sure employees are engaged and supported. Inclusion has been key in her look at culture shift. “We have people of all ages here. People in their seventies all the way to millennials in their twenties. We are diversified. We have a family feel,” Cooper says.
The company, bolstering that family feel, holds outings, lunches, games, and annual sales meetings in beautiful places. It also sponsors days of giving for causes that employees support. All this, Cooper feels, leads to an environment people want to be a part of and she backs it up with a statistic. “Our turnover is less than 10 percent,” she says. “People want to retire here.”
Technologent has twelve offices across the US, as well as offices in the UK, Mexico, India, Columbia, Canada, and Germany. Maintaining a unity of culture across this geography presents a challenge. Cooper helps bring employees together annually and spreads the message of “One Technologent.”
Looking forward, the VP says that, while employees voted them best place to work in Orange County, they can always do better. With a shift to online HR systems and engagement in cultural change, there is no reason to think that Cooper will not be accepting another award for Orange County’s best places to work in 2020.