Count Jennifer MacKinnon among those who believe – strongly – that no company can succeed unless it puts people first. No exceptions.
And no surprise that Jennifer, CEO of the Ottawa-based web technology and design firm, Fenix Solutions, credits her company’s enduring success to its excellent client relationships. Relationships, she says, that Fenix strengthens daily by listening and responding to the needs of its clients.
But she is quick to point out, the spotlight that Fenix shines on its client relations also illuminates the dedication and skills of those whose job it is to serve those customers – the 10 professionals who make up Fenix’s elite team. Giving them the time and opportunity to nurture their skills and enhance their knowledge contributes as much to Fenix’s success as customer experience, says Jennifer.
And if you thought Fenix brings a high level of innovation to web software development, check out what it does to encourage employee growth.
Start with flow Tuesdays and Thursdays. No internal meetings, no external meetings, no disruptions. These two days belong solely to the employees so they can – as Jennifer describes it – get in the flow. “We found that because employees were often interrupted it was difficult to get work done efficiently. Introducing flow Tuesdays and Thursdays gives employees the chance to focus 100% on their work. That, we’ve found, has elevated the quality of service we provide our clients, and our employee well-being.” Then there are Fenix Fridays. Ten days a year for team members to work on their personal and professional growth. A time to take courses, research work-related tools and processes, or simply to take a deep breath and consider what lies ahead.
But does it work? Yes, according to not only Jennifer, but her clients and employees. “They love it,” says, Jennifer. “It has been all positive feedback from everyone. And it works.” And what would any female led web agency be without pink champagne? At Fenix, all celebrations include pink champagne.
“We’re fortunate to have an exceptionally gifted team,” says Jennifer, “one that combines impeccable customer service with quality deliverables. We want our team to have every opportunity to stay engaged and up-to-date. Flow Tuesdays and Thursdays, Fenix Friday and, yes, even the pink champagne, makes that happen. Employee recognition is key; so, we celebrate.”
While Jennifer is clearly proud of each team member, she acknowledges that she is excited when women join the company, as the industry tends to be male skewed. “There are tremendous opportunities for women in technology.”
Our clients tell us our service is impeccable, and that we consistently deliver a perfect balance of client experience and innovation. Simply put, that’s our brilliant team at work.
“I started Fenix Solutions 20 years ago. I took the skills I had acquired and used them to start my own agency. Today, I see those same capabilities and skills in the women working at Fenix. I’m thrilled, and gratified, that they have chosen to put their considerable expertise to work at Fenix.”
Jennifer’s ultimate goal? “To develop the careers of those around me. To build up the employees by providing learning and development opportunities and empower them to lead.” That approach has clearly paid dividends. “Our clients tell us our service is impeccable,” she says, “and that we consistently deliver a perfect balance of client experience and innovation. Simply put, that’s our brilliant team at work.”
That focus has enabled Fenix to attract top-tier clients such as Nokia, Kinaxis and St. John Ambulance. The Nokia Corporation was an especially notable feather in the Fenix cap. Based in Finland, the multinational telecommunications, information technology and consumer electronic company does business in more than 130 countries. In North America, however, Nokia opted to go with just one vendor – Fenix.
“When all is said and done,” says Jennifer, “we emphasize quality over growth. Twenty years ago, we made the decision to do only one thing – wed development & design. Looking back, I think we made the right decision. And we do it very well.”
That kind of success deserves to be toasted. On the cusp of 20 years in business this year, pink champagne anyone?