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The power of positive experiences

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in Admins,Office Management

Jill Nelson is founder and CEO of Ruby Receptionists, the nation’s No. 1 small company to work for, according to Fortune magazine. She is widely celebrated for her innovative approach to company culture, so we reached out to learn more about how she creates powerful and positive employee experiences at her virtual receptionist firm.

APT: What makes an admin happy on the job?

Nelson: Having a mission that resonates with employees is essential to a happy workplace. At Ruby, our mission is to perpetuate human connections in an increasingly virtual world. Rather than seeing 250 calls a day, our receptionists see 250 opportunities to make a difference.

APT: Do the things that make admins happy on the job change as they move up in an organization?

Nelson: For every five years at Ruby, employees receive a five-week paid sabbatical, $1,000 and coaching with a positive psychologist to realize a dream. They can take this time to do anything that would make them happy; for example, an em­­­­ployee just returned from exploring the California coast and visiting aquariums with her daughter, who wants to be a marine biologist.

APT: In what way has your company utilized fun and happiness to create a successful business?

Nelson: We incent, inspire and em­­­­power employees to go above and beyond and make meaningful connections with callers and clients. Thanks to a suggestion from a re­­cep­­tionist, we have a prepaid Ama­­zon account that employees can use to buy anything for any client at any time, no questions asked. We also have a fully stocked “WOW Station” complete with goodies, boxes and brightly colored tissue paper to make it fun and easy to foster happiness with clients.  

“Wow stories” and thank-you notes from clients line our break room walls and fill our email inboxes. Like­­wise, our clients rave about this unprecedented customer service and share the stories on social media and frequently refer their friends to Ruby.

APT: Are there any specific programs or exercises that your company utilizes to help build a sense of community within the company?

Nelson: Each quarter, we organize incentive campaigns around one of our Core Values: Foster Hap­­pi­­ness, Cre­­ate Community, Practice WOWism, Innovate and Grow. These can be anything from a “happiness journal” to a bingo competition where receptionists get to know clients and win prizes. Campaigns re-energize the team while strengthening connections.

APT: How does happiness with­­in your company affect the happiness of your customers?

Nelson: As the first impression for more than 2,500 small businesses across the country, having a staff of cheerful virtual receptionists is in­­cred­­ibly important. Callers can hear the smile on each receptionist’s face, and when they’re happy, our clients are happy.

APT: Has creating a happy at­­mo­­sphere for your staff affected the business overall?

Nelson: Our happy staff has propelled Ruby to rapid growth; we’ve ranked as a top fastest-growing company in Oregon for six consecutive years and recently opened a spacious 30,000-square-foot second office to accommodate our expansion.

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