We love to celebrate Threadfellows customers who are doing great things for their clients and building great places to work. Adesys IT Specialists in Madison, WI, is doing outstanding work and has been for two decades.
For Adesys founder and CEO Jason Adamany, some of the most important business lessons came from his chief leadership mentor, his dad.
Jason said, “My dad was in business, too, and he always said, “Treat people the way you want to be treated.” I like that because it’s easy and basic, but not everyone does it. That ‘Dad-ism’ is a great reminder for me to always listen to employees and be interested in what would make this a better place for them.”
Another ‘Dad-ism’ Jason adheres to is, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” Hard work is paying off for Adesys. Last year, Adesys served more than 300 business clients. And they have a reputation for retaining almost all of them. “In the last five years, only 8 clients have left Adesys, out of hundreds. We feel like we’ve earned that ‘luck’.”
Jason’s father also patterned an employee policy that Jason adopted for Adesys, unlimited sick days for all employees. It’s Jason’s feeling that If employees are sick, they should stay home, but as Dad always said, “If you’re homesick, you’d better be sick.” Adesys hires carefully, so they don’t need to fear abuse of this generous policy, “If you find the right person, you don’t have to be concerned that they’ll take advantage of a policy like that. We have one employee who just took his first sick day in eight years.”
Jason started Adesys 20 years ago as a one-man operation. At the time, he was a senior in college at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. For the first five years, Jason worked solo, doing every job in the business from sales, customer acquisition, customer service, accounting and of course the actual IT work. His brother joined the company, and they ran the business together for a couple of years and started to make a name for themselves.
Now Adesys has a staff of 22 employees serving Madison area small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with anywhere from 5-300 employees. For companies requiring IT expertise and support that isn't large enough to justify their own IT department, Adesys fits the bill perfectly. “If companies didn’t enlist our services at that size, they’d basically need to have a one-person IT department. One person can’t flex up or down with the workload. And they would likely not have the breadth of expertise across different IT needs the way we do. We’re an outsourced IT department. When someone calls with network troubleshooting or application support, we can give them the right resource that can help with that particular issue, rather than hire one person who has to do it all.”
To define their service offering, Jason simply listened to customers. “We learned that what our customers were really looking for was a one-stop shop. They wanted to go to one place and be able to say, ‘Here’s what I need to do. Help me make it work.’ They don’t want to have to deal with different vendors for different types of IT issues. And they may not exactly know what they need. We make it possible for them to make one call, and we take it from there.”
Being able to communicate with clients who are not technically-proficient is important. Jason said, “We try to avoid the stereotype of the ‘nerdy IT guy’ who slips in, does the work and slips out without anyone even knowing he was there. We’re focused on getting IT guys who know their stuff who can also talk to people easily and effectively. We need to make things technically work, but we also work hard to make the client relationship work. Both are essential.”
For Jason, the secret is in careful, patient hiring. “Here in Dane County our unemployment rate is low, so finding the best talent can take time. We try not to make mistakes in hiring, and we’re patient until we find the right fit. We’ve had a situation where we were looking for more than six months to add to our technical service department and hadn’t found the right person yet. So we waited. Finally, about a month ago, we came across two individuals who fit the bill so we hired them both. I’ve learned that when you find the right person, you find a place for them because it’ll pay off in the end. In addition to technical skills and communication skills, chemistry with our team is a big key. You can’t just hire on one or two aspects. It has to be the entire package to be the right hire.”
Jason learned the importance of hiring the right people by experience, “I learned a long time ago it’s too expensive to hire the wrong person just because you need someone to fill a chair. As a result, our turnover’s very low. We have great success in retaining talented employees. That translates to great customer relationships and less loss of knowledge due to turnover.”
Once they recruit the best people, Adesys focuses on creating a great employee working environment.
The nature of IT isn’t always 8-5, Monday through Friday, so offering flex time to catch up on life after a big install is critical. Adesys tries to tailor the type of work to what employees most like to work on and how they like to work.
Jason said, “Some of our clients want someone on site for office hours each week. That’s a good fit for some of our employees, but others prefer to travel from client to client. We try within reason to tailor the work and environment to what each staff member likes. Our employees enjoy the variety of working with diverse clients and diverse software across a range of projects.”
EMPLOYER OF CHOICE
When asked about what it takes to be an employer of choice these days, Jason said, “I’m not sure it’s much different now than it used to be. We all want to work for a purpose instead of just working at a job. Employees need to understand and value WHY they do what they do. The workforce of today wants to have more feeling and connection with the work they do and know it’s valued. They want good values. Community involvement. Flexibility. And we ask for flexibility as well. It goes both ways. “I’m still trying to figure that out too.”
Keep doing what you’re doing, Adesys! It seems to work extremely well for your talented team of employees as well as your clients.