Ownership helps IDR employees & consultants maintain culture, grow

Staffing firm IDR Inc. transformed its culture in 2010 when it offered employees a stake in the firm’s success through an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). Now, as the company continues to grow, it is using training and investment in its employees to maintain that culture, cut its turnover rate to 15 percent – and once again earn a spot on Staffing Industry Analysts’ 2019 list of Best Staffing Firms to Work For.

Based in Alpharetta, Georgia, IDR has 21 years of experience in IT staffing and works with businesses in a wide range of industries to connect them with high-quality IT professionals. It has branch offices in Denver, Dallas and Nashville along with 82 internal employees. The firm earned about $57 million in revenue during 2018 and has had revenue growth of 30 percent or more for the past three years.

Due to IDR’s ESOP, 98 percent of the firm is owned by its internal employees and IT consultants, who earn shares based on compensation and their tenure at IDR. It’s an unusual program – not only because employees own the firm, but because that ownership includes both internal employees and the consultants the firm places.

“At IDR, everything is centered around the employee stock ownership plan,” says Ashley Holahan, president and Chief Operating Officer. “Our commitment to our employees and consultants begins with the type of people we hire. We want employees that are looking for something bigger than themselves. Through IDR’s ESOP, we empower each member of our team to achieve their best work.”

Through their ownership shares, employees are invested in IDR’s success. They are also passionate about the firm’s core values:

* Be a Boss: Act with an ownership mentality.

* Never Settle: Strive for excellence and continue to grow both personally and professionally.

* Make it Happen: Act with urgency to deliver the highest levels of quality and service.

* Go All In: Celebrate success and give your best every day.

Staying Connected

In 2018, IDR opened a new office in Denver, and while the expansion has had many benefits, there have also been new challenges. Employees are more dispersed than they were before, so making sure staff and consultants are all committed to the same goals – or even that they know each other – has become more complicated. IDR’s leaders are employing several strategies to keep employees connected to each other and united around common goals:

* Team building: For the past two years, the firm has kicked off each year with an event for all employees in Atlanta. The gathering is mostly about team-building, with engaging speakers and other activities. In addition to the kick-off, IDR has quarterly celebrations to recognize milestones or goals that were hit during the quarter.

“It’s centered around all coming together and connecting. This is something I see us continuing to do in future years as we scale,” Holahan says. “Often, as companies grow, they lose that part of their culture, that purpose that brings everyone together.”

* Robust training: New recruits spend their first 90 days getting extensive training. IDR has also invested in a learning management system to supplement the in-person training. This system offers video examples of role plays in which successful account managers show how to handle tricky situations.

“This year,” says Holahan, “we focused on building a program to standardize our training processes. This way we can make sure we’re investing in each individual person so they get the training they need in order to be successful.”

* Individual attention: After the first 90 days of training, employees have weekly one-on-one meetings with their immediate manager to go over goals and learn what it means to be successful at IDR. Supplemental training sessions are held frequently so employees continue learning new skills and from each other, both formally and informally.

As a result, IDR has maintained its unique ownership culture while growing its presence and expanding into new regions. With IDR’s core values at the heart of all that they do, the firm continues to be one of the best staffing firms to work for in 2019.