Four-time Best Places to Work honoree Irish Titan continues to invest in its people over the years — in benefits, culture and compensation. For example, it rolled out a new program where Titans who reach their five-year anniversary receive a paid one-month sabbatical. It also has weekly lunches, high school fight song performances, personalized rugbys at a Titan’s first anniversary, and business education opportunities.
For more about why this company is a BPTW, we asked Founder and CEO Darin Lynch:
What new policies or benefits did you introduce because of the pandemic that you will make or have made permanent?
Defined our return-to-hybrid approach, where all Titans are in the office Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with Mondays and Fridays considered flex days; created a Heads/Hearts/Hands team that spearheads Irish Titan’s efforts to do our work for good (Heads), support charities (Hearts), and participate hands-on in group charitable activities (Hands); greatly expanded our maternity and paternity benefits.
Irish Titan team members participate in a 'back to school' program on how to return to the office.
How have you maintained your award-winning workplace culture this past year, especially if you have been primarily working remotely?
It’s going to sound contrived, but we didn’t maintain our culture in this past year — we improved it. Our team is tighter, more cohesive, more trusting and more powerful (and bigger — our headcount has grown). That’s because of our communication, but more specifically, the genuine, transparent, caring, trusting and accepting nature of our communication. We discussed things directly, avoided culture wars, and made sure everyone felt taken care of, protected, heard and valuable. Informal one-on-ones, where I (the CEO) check in with all Titans on all fronts (work, personal, cultural, political, community) on a periodic basis (two times a week during first three months of pandemic, weekly following three months, monthly thereafter). We transitioned our monthly all-company meeting (EOS best practice) into a weekly Zoomcast, which took on a life of its own, becoming entertainment, as well as information (mostly entertainment, actually). This Zoomcast gave all our Titans a way to remain connected and hear company updates, plus it was genuine — not forced fun or awkward Zoom happy hours. It included rotating weekly agendas (for example, Titan birthdays and anniversaries, trivia, company metrics, potato (“rocks” in EOS speak) updates, team updates, and free beefsteak and carrot slice giveaways (that’s not a typo), all preceded with an impressive sequence of CEO-driven video, songs and KISS-related banter.
Did the pandemic change your definition of what makes a great workplace?
It didn’t change ours, but I think it changed some. We didn’t have an office because we needed to “see” what people were doing. We had an office because culture is what happens between the meetings. Zoom is a poor substitute for breathing the same air, seeing the greens of our eyes, and collaborating with all of the benefits provided by body language, nonverbals, etc. I think companies that weren’t already based upon a timeless set of core values (POTIS is our core values: passion, ownership, teamwork, impact, skills) may be the ones needing to revisit their definition of a great workplace. But our culture today is almost exactly what it was before the pandemic, just more proven now.
Do you have a formal or informal company policy regarding diversity and inclusion?
We’ve permanently incorporated BrandLab (a Twin Cities-based nonprofit marketing firm that focuses on enhancing diversity in our industry) into our annual Ecomm Forum event, which began with raising $3,000 for them during our October 2020 event. We built, for free, the website and continue to support New Vision Foundation (www.nu-viz.org, a nonprofit offering coding and digital literacy classes to impoverished youth of primarily African descents). We revised our employee handbook to include more specific mention of DEI efforts. Additionally, we’ve created new positions to broaden our funnel of potential DEI candidates, and our Heads/Hearts/Hands group participates in hosting schools, student groups and associations that are rich in DEI efforts.
- Category: Small
- Rank: 17
- Score: 93.0041
- Repeat wins: Three-time winner
- Top Minnesota executive: Darin Lynch
- Minnesota employees: 28
- Business: Builds e-commerce channels
- City: St. Louis Park
- Web: irishtitan.com
- What is your company culture in a #hashtag? #professionalshenanigans