Brian Leach and Dave Romero knew they needed to create a workplace culture that put a spotlight on the benefits of a budding small company when they started Unboxed Technology in 2009.
The two had worked at a big company — in senior roles at Circuit City Stores Inc., the former giant consumer electronics retailer that closed a couple of months before they founded Unboxed. But starting and operating a small business was different.
And attracting top talent would be a challenge for the Richmond-based company that creates interactive tools for businesses to use to train employees and sell services.
“As a small company, we compete for talent alongside much larger companies in RVA who offer highly competitive compensation, bonus and benefit programs, not to mention the required foosball table and beanbags,” said Leach, Unboxed’s president and CEO. “In addition to continuing to improve our total compensation and PTO [paid time off] package over the years, we decided to play to our strengths of being a small company.”
For example, each team member is close to the company’s clients and is empowered to make key decisions to create moments and advocate on their behalf.
“Nobody at Unboxed is a number on an org chart,” Leach said. “Each team member is empowered to enhance our culture and improve business results by providing real-time feedback.”
Unboxed regularly conducts anonymous workplace surveys and encourages workers to suggest new processes and methods to improve client and business results.
Unboxed takes showing appreciation to employees seriously, Leach said.
“When we started Unboxed, our belief was, in addition to leadership recognizing team members in written and verbal feedback, we needed to create a culture that allowed for frequent and sometimes spontaneous recognition from employee to employee,” he said.
For example, during the company’s weekly all-employee meetings, Unboxed’s employees recognize fellow co-workers “for living our company values, achieving a big milestone on a project or for going above and beyond expectations.”
Unboxed also acknowledges other achievements.
“What makes Unboxed even more special is how we embrace our team members’ milestones and passions outside of work achievements,” Leach said. “We love to celebrate, and every month you’ll find balloons tied to someone’s chair for their birthday, a baby basket being assembled, a champagne toast for an engagement announcement, a guac party for a new book signing or high-fives given out for hitting a personal fitness goal.”