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It’s always comforting to know the people working behind the scenes know what they are doing and love doing it. At The Vested Group, they are just that, and every employee will voice it to you including their robot dog, Flair.
‘Flair’ was inspired by the 1999 film Office Space. That movie happens to be Founder of The Vested Group, Joel Patterson’s favorite movie.
“We had originally tried to do bring your dog to work day, we did that a few times and either dogs, they got mad at each other, they would bark at guests, it just didn’t work and this was our compromise so he’s one of the family now,” said Patterson.
“Lumbergh and some of the other names around the office are actually from the movie Office Space,” said Jennifer Polk, Chief of Staff at The Vested Group.
Unlike the movie where some employees are looking for ways to get fired, Patterson’s goal is to make every employee feel good about coming to work. He says company culture is a top priority.
“So we try to create an environment. You know, people talk a lot about work life balance, and the reality is there really isn’t a separation these days, people work when they are going to work, they unfortunately sometimes have to take things home and so what we try to do is make an environment that is friendly and supportive for them in that situation. We allow them to have flexibility in their role, we want them to just feel engaged, challenged to do the things that everybody wants to do. Everybody loves to solve problems here and we’ve created an environment that really allows people who want to participate in that, to want to be here and that’s allowed us to really keep our tradition to basically zero. In eight years in business, we’ve lost one person that we didn’t intend to lose and you know, there’s really nothing else that speaks to that or speaks to the importance of culture other than that because there is real ROI tied to it right. When we lose somebody we estimate that it’s about 150,000 dollar replacement, so it’s real value and if you look back over our financials, not having any of that occur over those years is, I mean you just can’t replace it,” said Patterson.
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The Vested Group started creating their environment from the leftovers of a Mexican restaurant making it into an ‘office space.’
“The bar is probably the first thing people look at, but it’s a great place first off to sit down and have lunch together and you know it really grows that community, family feeling,” said Austin Pretsch, Consultant at The Vested Group.
The company believes in working in an open concept environment making it easier for employees to communicate and collaborate.
“They got flags on their computers that they can change the color on. So that means if it’s red, leave me alone, I’m busy doing stuff. If it’s green by all means come up and have a chat,” said Patterson.
Even on a busy day, sometimes employees may need an outlet to recharge like a game room or somewhere to nap.
“[The] original freezer from the restaurant that we have actually turned into what we call a quiet room, so people can come in here and take a break,” said Polk.
The Vested Group’s environment even captured the attention of the sports radio show ‘The Ticket.’ The Musers did their live broadcast inside the lounge, but that’s probably not even the coolest spot they found.
“Somebody told me, you gotta go to the bathroom, so it’s like okay, well I do that everyday so I’ll go to the bathroom, and sure enough it’s like one of the nicest bathrooms I’ve ever seen. So if the bathroom is that nice, you know the rest of the office is pretty nice,” said Chris Miller from The Ticket.
That thought seems to be a common thread among employees, too.
“It’s an office I’m proud of, I’ll bring my family in and when they come in town, I’ve got friends I’ve driven them passed the office before, just to show them, hey this is where I work, it’s really cool,” said Prestch.
“It’s awesome, this is the best job I’ve ever had,” said Alexa Nguyen, Senior Consultant at The Vested Group.
“You want to come to work, that’s generally how I describe it to people, you want to come to work,” said Cedric Carter, Managing Director at The Vested Group.