I’m pleased to announce that LegitScript has been named one of the Top 100 Workplaces in Oregon and Southwest Washington by the Oregonian, Oregon’s leading newspaper. The award is based solely on employee surveys: for the last four years, companies throughout Oregon and SW Washington have been invited to have their employees complete anonymous surveys that identify what’s good about the workplace and what needs to be improved. This was the first year LegitScript was eligible to compete (based on number of employees).
I’m really happy with the result: LegitScript ranked in the top 100 businesses in the region based on employee happiness, motivation and overall job satisfaction. Among only 45 small businesses in Oregon and Washington that made the cut, we were in the top half.
The results were overwhelmingly positive, and it made me really happy to know that LegitScript employees like working at LegitScript, believe in what we do, and like each other. And it’s a multi-cultural atmosphere: in our press release announcing the award, one of our analysts, Luca Jarone, said “And with the international scope that we have, every day I hear no fewer than four different languages being spoken around me.” This accords what one of our developers, Layne McNish told USA Today a few months ago: that working at LegitScript is “something I really love doing…I like what I am doing with my life, and it can offer the flexibility that many women want out of a job. It seems like the perfect place for women.”
When we hire someone, what we’re looking for boils down to three things: we want someone who is smart, who gets stuff done, and who we like working with. After all, if the hiring team finds the applicant personable and enjoyable to be around, chances are that the rest of our staff will as well — and who wants to work with unlikeable people?
In the years since our “coffee shop days” — the period in 2007 – 2010 when LegitScript had no customers, no revenue, and my two co-founders and I were working out of coffee shops and off our credit cards — we’ve tried to implement some other things that we hope our employees will like. We have a free office barista (and he makes damn good lattes) and an open policy on office dogs. We have standing desks (I confess I usually don’t make it all day standing up.) We’re in a great, very cool area of Portland not far from food carts, climbing gyms and child care. Perks include free massages and financial support for existing or new hobbies that people want to take up.
The survey itself was a good exercise — and as CEO, I learned a lot from it. Even though we did well, there were some areas where our staff pointed out things that I personally could do better, and offered some suggestions about company policies that would help with work-life balance and overall productivity. On my end, I learned that I need to do a better job communicating what’s going on with the company as a whole — business ideas, cool opportunities, and Internet policy or cybercrime developments — to everyone else, and I’ve been trying to work on that. Based on other employee feedback, we’re going to be introducing some additional flexibility into our workplace schedules and doing some creative things to improve communication among our various teams.
But more than anything, I think a couple of factors shined through in the employee surveys. First, I think that people really believe in what we do. When we talk to a parent who lost a child due to prescription drug abuse or fake drugs, and learn that’s it’s a website we urged a registrar to shut down prior to the death — but they didn’t — it’s a reminder that what we do as a company really does save lives, and we really are in a battle against those who put profit above integrity. Second, I think that people at LegitScript have confidence in each other: we’ve tried to develop a “team of experts” — developers and analysts alike — and I think that expertise creates an atmosphere where people know that others have their back.
Every company has things they can learn to improve, and LegitScript is no exception: we’ll continue to try to understand what can make our workplace even better. But I’m very glad that in 2015, LegitScript was one of the best places in the Northwest to work — and I’ll continue to do everything I can to keep it that way.