AnswerFirst is proud to be Certified™ by Great Place to Work® for the year 2021-2022.
The prestigious award is based entirely on what current employees say about their experience working at AnswerFirst. This year, 96% of employees said it’s a great place to work – 37 points higher than the average U.S. company.
Great Place to Work® is the global authority on workplace culture, employee experience, and the leadership behaviors proven to deliver market-leading revenue, employee retention and increased innovation.
“Great Place to Work Certification™ isn’t something that comes easily – it takes ongoing dedication to the employee experience,” said Sarah Lewis-Kulin, vice president of global recognition at Great Place to Work. “It’s the only official recognition determined by employees’ real-time reports of their company culture. Earning this designation means that AnswerFirst is one of the best companies to work for in the country.”
We are thrilled to become Great Place to Work-Certified™ as we consider employee experience a top priority every day,” said President and CEO, Matt Herron. “We owe our continued success to our team of dedicated employees at AnswerFirst. We celebrate and thank them for all they do to earn this incredible recognition.”
At AnswerFirst we believe in going above and beyond to care for our employees, our community and our environment.
The year 2020 was unprecedented for all of us because the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we live, work and play. And, although we’ve moved into a new year, we’re still not on the other side of the pandemic, yet.
AnswerFirst is extremely grateful for the slight advantage our organization had in facing some of the challenges brought on by the pandemic. Fortunately, the majority of our workforce already worked remotely. So, while other businesses had to adapt to a completely new way of operating, we were able to continue doing business as usual. Also, as an essential service, our 24/7 call center provided relief to our clients by handling their business communications while they transitioned and adapted their business models.
Thousands of businesses around the globe were able to hand off their business phone calls, emails, texts, faxes and more to AnswerFirst. We are grateful that we had the opportunity to step up and serve these businesses as their communications partner during those difficult times when most of the world was essentially shut down. Business owners and managers didn’t have to worry about who would answer their business phone lines, how those calls would be handled or how missed communications would impact not only their businesses, but also their customers.
As an essential employer we were granted permission to continue working in-office to support critical business operations around the globe. Instead, AnswerFirst decided to support our community and help slow the spread of the virus by developing additional remote work policies and fine-tuning our existing procedures to transition our back office staff to a fully remote workforce, too.
Working from home for a few months allowed AnswerFirst, as a company, to evaluate our office building and put new health and safety measures in place for when our staff could transition back to the office.
Taking steps to keep our employees safe while also supporting our community were both important to who we are as an organization and held us accountable to our vision statement:
“AnswerFirst envisions a healthy world filled with happy people enjoying exceptional customer care.”
As a result of our ability to maintain normal operations, all of our employees were able to continue to support their families financially during a time when many people were losing employment. And, working from home allowed our employees with families to manage the new requirement to virtually school their children in their homes. Our call center staff worked together to adjust employee schedules to accommodate staff members who were challenged with juggling work and their children’s school schedules. Many of our employees expressed that they were relieved to work with a team that was willing to make these accommodations.
Unfortunately, we lost a few of our valued team members to coronavirus during the Summer and employees were also losing family and friends to the virus during that time. The losses we all suffered due to COVID were abrupt and devastating. We noticed the upsetting impact this had on our employees, so we decided to add an Employee Assistance Program as a free benefit to all staff members. As part of this benefit, we opened up a mid-year open enrollment for our Telemedicine Program to all employees. Normally, this program was only available to our full-time employees. Giving all employees a way to access medical assessments from home as needed rather than take a risk by going into a medical facility or clinic was very appreciated by all.
Our Culture Committee took on a whole new purpose in 2020. Our Culture Committee was created in 2014 as a way to foster a healthy and engaging culture where our diverse team can enjoy its work while also thriving in a remote work environment. The committee is made up of employees who volunteer their time and their creative minds to achieve that mission. The Culture Committee crew had to be extra creative in 2020 because at times our entire workforce was remote. It became the committee’s priority to not only keep our team members engaged, but also to lift spirits and be supportive during some very dark times.
The committee hosted fun events like a pandemic edition scavenger hunt which allowed our staff to run around their homes searching for different items during Zoom sessions. They also hosted game nights called “Wild Card Wednesday” and each week there was a different game to play; some weeks we played virtual bingo and others we played trivia games. Every game was focused on encouraging participation and interaction.
On social media, we shared photos and stories in our private group on Facebook. We also held competitions to share silly things like toilet paper stashes or how employees geared up in their PPE anytime they needed to go out of their homes. We even had discussions about what shows they were binge watching, new hobbies they picked up or any new recipes they were trying out. The goal was to provide interaction while focusing on positivity and fun. Our employees seemed to enjoy anything that distracted them from the sadness and uncertainty happening around them.
Typically, we encourage and support employees to volunteer in-person at local charities and non-profit events. Unfortunately, social distancing guidelines and lockdowns kept us from being active in our local community in the same ways that we have been in previous years.
However, we were still committed to contributing at least 1% of our company revenue to local charities. While we were not able to volunteer our time, we were able to make monetary donations to A Kid’s Place of Tampa Bay, Team ADDO, CHS Drives and Champions For Children of Tampa Bay.
A Kid’s Place provides residential services to children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. This local organization makes an incredible difference in our community! Team ADDO is a Tampa Bay based nonprofit that was created by Veterans who wanted to continue to serve their communities. Donations help support Veterans Closet and Pediatric Cancer Center. CHS Drives has helped more than 100,000 local children. For the last several years they have set their sights on helping sick and terminally ill children via the Child Life Program at St Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. Champions for Children supports families in the prevention of child abuse or neglect. We are proud and honored that we were able to provide financial support to these wonderful organizations that do so much for our community here in Tampa Bay.
Even though 2020 presented us with many challenges, we adapted and persevered – not only as an organization, but as individuals.
We are thankful for the opportunities we were given to support our team members, our community and our clients during challenging times. And, we are committed to continuing to care for our employees, the community and the environment no matter what the days, weeks and years ahead may bring.
According to Great Place to Work research, job seekers are 4.5 times more likely to find a great boss at a Certified great workplace.
Additionally, employees at Certified workplaces are 93% more likely to look forward to coming to work, and are twice as likely to be paid fairly, earn a fair share of the company’s profits and have a fair chance at promotion.
Looking to grow your career at a company that puts its people first? Visit our careers page.
Learn more about AnswerFirst and our services by visiting our corporate website.
About Great Place to Work Certification™
Great Place to Work® Certification™ is the most definitive “employer-of-choice” recognition that companies aspire to achieve. It is the only recognition based entirely on what employees report about their workplace experience – specifically, how consistently they experience a high-trust workplace. Great
Place to Work Certification is recognized worldwide by employees and employers alike and is the global benchmark for identifying and recognizing outstanding employee experience. Every year, more than 10,000 companies across 60 countries apply to get Great Place to Work-Certified.
About Great Place to Work®
Great Place to Work® is the global authority on workplace culture. Since 1992, they have surveyed more than 100 million employees worldwide and used those deep insights to define what makes a great workplace: trust. Their employee survey platform empowers leaders with the feedback, real-time reporting and insights they need to make data-driven people decisions. Everything they do is driven by the mission to build a better world by helping every organization become a great place to work For All™.