Idea Fest 2021

It’s that time again! We recently hosted our fourth annual Idea Fest, a Shark Tank-style forum where employees present their ideas for company improvement. Presentations may focus on streamlining a particular job or task, better emulating our core values, improving the company’s bottom line, or enhancing the service we provide to our clients and partners. Instead of just identifying problems or areas that could be improved, Idea Fest focuses on solutions; presenters are expected to include a plan for implementation. We have two prizes: a $50 gift card for the best idea, and another $50 gift card for the best presentation.

Each presenter has 5-10 minutes to explain their idea, followed by a brief Q&A session with the rest of the team. At the close of Idea Fest, all attendees vote on their favorite idea and presentation, and the management team meets later to organize execution of the ideas.

This year, we had three presenters:

  • Natasha Herrera, our COO, outlined a Road Trip system for updating employees on recent company updates
  • Josh Insel, IT Engineer from Team 4, won Best Idea for his proposal of a longevity bonus
  • Rachel Roybal, our HR Director, won Best Presentation with her idea to create a “FIT Kit” welcome package for new hires

Best Idea: Longevity Bonus

Technology has the highest turnover rate of U.S. industries, so employee retention is a huge focus for most businesses. We are always looking for ways to make sure that we are providing a stable workplace with both room and support for growth. Idea Fest is one of those ways; it allows team members to share their innovations and ideas so we can all grow together.

Josh’s idea was to provide an extra incentive as a thank you to long-term employees; every additional year an employee sticks with the FIT family, they are eligible for a bonus that increases with their tenure. Color us (not at all) surprised: everybody loved this idea!

Best Presentation: New Hire Welcome Package

Keeping with the theme of employee retention and happiness, our HR Director Rachel suggested a “FIT Kit” to be sent to new hires before their start date. Especially while the bulk of the company is working remotely, a welcome kit is a great way to showcase FIT culture and help new team members get a feel for who we are.

The proposed kit would include a note from our CEO, employee testimonials, our core values, and of course, some FIT swag! One of our core values is to create a Raving Fan culture, both internally and externally, and we loved this idea on how to create raving fans out of our new hires! A big part of our team growth has been through employee referrals, underscoring the appropriateness of the Walt Disney quote Rachel used to kick off her presentation: “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and again and bring their friend.”

We’re stoked to see how the FIT Kit turns out!

Runner-Up: Virtual “Road Trip”

Natasha, our COO, tied with Rachel for Best Presentation. She pitched a virtual “Company Road Trip” idea. The road trip would be set up as an online presentation of company changes and updates over the previous quarter: new hires, internal job openings, new technology or applications we’re using, exciting new goals, an update on company growth, etc.

It would also include a “road closures” list: anything that is changing or being streamlined. Teams or departments could choose to complete the road trip together, or individually. After completion, employees qualify for souvenir swag.

A central figure in this road trip idea was Fitzgerald, or Fitzy, Natasha’s proposed new mascot for internal FIT functions. We enjoyed meeting Fitzy 1.0 and who knows, maybe we’ll see him again on some FIT swag!

We love that our team is constantly looking for ways to help us improve and move forward! That innovation is one of our core values, and Idea Fest is the perfect showcase for that creativity. Thanks for tuning in!

If you want to join a fast-growing team that thrives on ideas, team input, and raving fan culture, we’d love to talk to you! Head over to our Careers page to see if we’ve got an opening that suits you.

Measuring KPIs: Do Your Actions Align With Your Vision?

From the FIT Leadership Team

We always strive to be fair, both to our clients and to our employees, and to create the best environment in which to work. We also strongly believe in bringing what makes this team wonderful to more businesses without compromising on quality. To accomplish that, we need to grow—both in quantity and quality.

As some of our most senior employees will tell you, FIT Solutions has always been on a growth trajectory. From our ‘garage-operation’ days until now, we’ve consistently looked for ways to grow and improve. There is no point where you have nothing left to learn or improve, so as the leadership team, we try to set an example of taking in knowledge, seeking out counsel and coaching, and holding ourselves to a higher standard every day.

As part of that constant refinement process, over the last year we’ve put increased focus on strengthening the foundation of our organization: our vision, our mission, and our core values. These make us who we are as a company, shape our team, and define more clearly our passion for solving business problems for our clients. Having the entire team on the same page when it comes to where we’re headed and how we plan to get there has been of immeasurable value.

With growth, though, often comes growing pains. We do our best to take these as the positive indicators they are of movement in the right direction. One of our core values is to stay humble and adaptable. The humility is essential to recognize where we have room for improvement, and the adaptability is vital to survive and thrive in an ever-evolving technological landscape. Those qualities are what move us to seek out opportunities to better ourselves as leaders, as partners, and as problem-solvers.

Over the past few months, we’ve been examining how we track and achieve goals within our organization. Exercising that core value of humility helped us to identify the need for an adjustment.

As humans, what we believe in and what we care about don’t always align with our behavior. For example, we may be interested in being healthy, and we may believe strongly that being fit or exercising regularly is important for good health—but are we acting in harmony with that belief? Do we take regular, methodical action to improve our diet or exercise routine? This is not always the case.

Similarly, the things we believe in at FIT—growth, adapting, creating the best environment—are not always evidenced by our actions. To be clear, we’re not talking about our team! We love our people and are very proud of everything they do. Rather, what we’re discussing here is a commitment by us, as the leadership team, to align our actions more closely with our vision.

Successful sports teams are often spoke of as being “tight”: operating like clockwork, moving efficiently and effectively, not wasting time or energy on actions that don’t align with the ultimate goal of winning. A team gets “tight” when its coach sets clear expectations and motivates his players to meet and exceed these goals. Why are the best athletes drawn to such a coach? Because through that guidance, players are able to achieve far more than they thought possible. A great coach helps athletes refine their skills and makes a workable environment for improvement and success.

Setting clear expectations and goals for our team members dignifies each individual and allows for constructive conversation. We encourage each employee to make a habit of regularly writing down their goals—personal, professional, and financial—and discussing these with their team lead in 1×1 meetings to see how FIT can help them reach those goals.

In line with this, we are introducing new KPIs, or key performance indicators, for each department and team. We already have some KPIs in place, but they are not always closely aligned with our vision and with the specific goals of each department. Returning to our sports example, the entire team may follow a common workout regimen. But if the quarterback’s goal is to get more touchdowns, and we know that running sprints gives him an edge on the field, then having him run sprints is in harmony with that goal. At first it may feel uncomfortable or difficult, but with practice, it becomes habit, improving his on-field performance.

At the end of the day, our ultimate goal is to do right by the people that depend on us—our clients and partners, our employees and their families, and our clients’ employees and families. In everything we do, we keep in mind the responsibility that we have towards this multitude of people.

If you are looking for an elite IT partner that is committed to catapulting your business to success, give us a call today at 888-339-5694.

How to Quickly — and Securely — Enable Work-From-Home

In response to current events, your business may be faced with the challenge of quickly putting a work-from-home program in place for your employees. Here’s the hard part: those employees will be largely on their own, with varying degrees of technical knowledge, connecting from their own home networks and accessing corporate data and resources. You need not only to get them connected, but equip them to work productively, with ample security in place so you don’t put your organization at unnecessary risk.

Considering the Alternatives

The best-practices approach — under normal circumstances — is to distribute preconfigured corporate-owned laptops. Aside from the expense, time might be the bigger issue in our current situation as businesses everywhere are rushing to equip remote workforces. Currently, the time from order to delivery of new laptops is around 15-30 days, for some suppliers.

A tempting short-term fix is to allow employees to connect to corporate resources directly using their own personal home computers, laptops, or tablets. However, this exposes corporate assets to a wide variety of risks that are outside of your control. These risks include outdated or insufficient endpoint protection, access of confidential data by others in employee households, and rogue devices on a poorly secured home network — among other threats.

The Right Technology, Right Now: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is a widely used remote access approach with many advantages. With VDI, employees use their personal devices to access a virtual desktop — a computer that they control remotely. They view the screen, and control it via mouse or keyboard. The approach is much less expensive than provisioning and distributing laptops, and far more secure than a direct connection. With VDI, business owners can:

  • Provision remote access for tens or hundreds of users cost-effectively with a cloud-hosted solution
  • Allow secure access by a wide range of employees’ personal devices, from home PCs to laptops and tablets to smartphones
  • Tightly control access by combining standard login credentials with multi-factor authentication (MFA) to guard against weak or compromised passwords
  • Keep corporate data off of personal or public networks — the corporate data only appears superficially onscreen, and never actually enters or is stored on the user’s personal device
  • Provide a familiar environment and business access —the virtual desktop can be configured to look and behave exactly like an office-based system, with access to all corporate applications and data stores, productivity, email and collaboration software

At FIT Solutions, we can quickly set up a VDI for your employee remote access. It is housed in our data center in a private cloud, with all essential security measures provided. We connect the virtual desktops to any applications or data you need, whether those are in another public or private cloud, or in your own data center with access protected through a secure point-to-point VPN.

Have questions? We have the answers. For more information or to get started right away, give us a call at 888-339-5694. We’re also offering a free Remote Workforce Readiness assessment, which you can find here.

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