“At IQ Solutions, we not only care about people—we believe in them. Every one of our 300+ staff is considered a leader. From the bottom up to the top down, we encourage an entrepreneurial spirit where each individual is empowered, accountable, and responsible for growing and cultivating themselves and those around them for the benefit of our clients.” Read our and their enlightened philosophies below.
Helios HR: Congratulations on being named a finalist for the Helios Apollo Awards! Why is employee development important to you all at IQ Solutions?
IQ Solutions: Our employee development and engagement is very intentional because we value our employees and we want them to value their time here. It’s pretty simple; it becomes a revolving door if you’re not focusing on that. We provide our employees with opportunities to develop new skills and professional certifications to stay viable and marketable.
For instance, in 2011 we launched the pilot of our Mentor-Protégé Program (MPP) through an open application process. The focus of the pilot program was to supplement our management career track efforts with a mentoring program that would engage our senior managers in providing guidance and direction to individuals who wanted to be fast-tracked to a higher position. The program offers education and training, as well as exposure to the executive decision-making process. The selected protégés participate in operations meetings, receive 4 to 8 hours of training per month, meet regularly with their mentors. They also accompanied their mentors on a trip to New York to attend the World Business Forum to hear speakers such as Bill Clinton, Patrick Lencioni, Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, and Jack Welch. At the conclusion of the MPP pilot, two of the three protégés were promoted to higher level management positions and the third will be eligible for the next available position in her group. For those not selected to participate, they are encouraged to stay on the professional development path, and meet with the Director of Training to design an individual development plan. This year, realizing the need to be flexible with the Protégés busy schedules, the training component is now accessible on their iPads.
Helios HR: Given there are five of you in this meeting with us today, it’s pretty obvious you are a collaborative team. What’s an engagement project that your team is working on that you’re really proud of?
IQ Solutions: We have a structured corporate health and wellness program, called “Wellness for Life”. Our goal was to ensure that all of our employees are engaged in their own health and well-being with support from the company. We have an annual health fair where we invite all employees, and during different years their families, other tenants from our building and senior citizens in our community to come out and learn about healthy lifestyles and caring for your mind, body and soul. In 2008 during the financial crisis, we started to provide financial health workshops such as one we called “Debt on a Diet” to help educate employees on how to be financially fit. We have instructor-led workouts once a month at each of our three facilities. The level and types of workouts vary, so one month it might be Zumba and the next Yoga. We try to offer a variety of workouts to keep everyone engaged. The excitement and buzz around our wellness program has taken off since we first launched; initially, we would have about 2-4 people for the group exercise classes and now we have closer to 12-15 in each class. Our employees look forward to it and they receive incentive tickets for attending. The more you participate in the different health activities, the more tickets you receive to be exchanged for various prizes. At the annual health fair this past year we also raffled off an iPad, a gym membership to LA Fitness and two weeks’ worth of meals from Diet-to-Go. We removed the vending machines in our facilities and look forward to Wednesdays where we bring in fresh fruits for everyone to support healthy eating habits.” We also started Weight Watchers last year and are doing it again this year. In 2012, we had 20 employees sign up for the 13 week sessions and this year, we have 30 employees signed up. In the Spring and Fall, we have a softball team where we play ball in a local league in our IQ Solutions t-shirts once a week and our colleagues come out a cheer us on. Another team event we have is a walking fitness program where we create teams that have fun names such as “Walking on Sunshine”. Everyone receives pedometers and we track our daily and weekly steps to build our team stats for the event. The winning team enjoys a healthy catered lunch provided by the company.
The wellness program has contributed to creating our engaged culture. It’s not just about our physical health anymore, but also about making and maintaining connections. All of these activities have created an outlet for employees to interact on a more frequent basis and create stronger relationships. And as an added benefit, our health insurance rates did not go up this year.