When Randa Solutions president and founder Marty Reed started the company, culture wasn’t on his mind — getting work done was.
That laissez-faire approach — not being picky about employees’ schedules or from where they do their work — has now led to a distinct culture. Though at Randa — an IT company focused on developing software and aggregating data for educators — the word seems too cliché. Personality is a better fit.
“I try to keep the environment as laid back as possible,” Reed said. “I don’t want to be in a corporate environment.”
Working from home is fine. Meetings are short and, if possible, conducted standing up so they focus on the topic at hand, not the doodle on the pad.
The company maintains a lighthearted weekly newsletter, keeping employees abreast of company news, projects and events. They also include “Yo Mama” jokes, which can sometimes create an electronic game of one-upmanship, and the occasional Chuck Norris-ism (An example for the uninitiated: “Time waits for no man. Unless that man is Chuck Norris.”).
Watching employees interact, there’s no reason to doubt the claim that they feel as family.
If he ever had to leave Randa, Zach Rempas, director of telephony, said he wouldn’t so much miss work as he’d have to cope with a loss.
“Having to leave here would be like having to leave your family. It’d be like going off to school,” he said.
Office manager Lesley Sawyer once missed a week of work in the hospital. She finally asked for a doctor’s note that would allow her to get back to work.
“My favorite part of the day is being at work,” she said.
Even though the company has time set away every day for crunches and push ups, and even though Reed is happy to go play a round of disc golf with any comer after work, expectations of employees are high. Reed said the company is working on projects that, if landed, could dramatically change the company.
“That’s a big part of the excitement right now, we’re chasing elephants,” he said.
Company description: Randa Solutions serves businesses, government and schools with information technology and application development.
Address: 722 Rundle Ave., Nashville 37210
Phone: (615) 467-6387
Top executive: Marty Reed, president
The Right Stuff
To whom much is given, much is required. Micromanaging isn’t on the table at Randa Solutions. However, it results in some unique requirements for employees who hope to be successful within the company. Founder Marty Reed says successful employees should be:
• Self-motivated. “If you’re not going for it, you may get left in the dust.”
• “You have to be creative in the way that you think about technology, software ... and how to solve problems.”
• “You have to be willing to change. Because we’re a growing company, we’re always changing and morphing into something new and that’s better.”
Bring Out Your Best
Randa Solutions is a funny place — not “strange” funny, but “ha ha” funny.
From their joke-filled employee newsletter to the daily calisthenics, company leaders have figured out that a sense of humor can be great for morale.
Humor not only relaxes us — which can make us more productive — it can train our brains to be more innovative because it allows them to make absurd connections, an essential part of creativity.
Randa leaders have discovered the balance between relaxation and results. This has helped produce high expectations and clear, meaningful goals — which is probably why office manager Lesley Sawyer says her favorite part of the day is being at work.
Love of work plus ambitious goals are a formula for success in almost any company.
Charlie Palmgren is a Nashville-based consultant and founder of Innovative InterChange Associates. He can be reached at [email protected]. He can be reached at [email protected]
Read more: Best Places to Work: Randa Solutions - Nashville Business Journal