Cybersecurity company Acronis SCS is heralding the benefits of its diverse workforce after winning the US Department of Labor’s 2020 HIRE Vets Gold Medallion.
The award recognizes a commitment to hiring veterans that the company has long held.
“We started interviewing veterans with these great skill sets across the board; with leadership and determination, which is what we value in our organization, and they were working at Home Depot,” said Acronis SCS Vice President of Human Resources Eva Adams. “So just taking the time to really invest in people, invest in our veterans and train them, challenge them, and engage with them.”
Acronis SCS is a cybersecurity company based in Scottsdale, Arizona, providing innovative and comprehensive protection to public sector organizations. It is a proudly American-run company, with a 100 percent American citizen workforce, with a commitment to supporting employees traditionally under-represented in tech.
That dedication to supporting employees traditionally under-represented in tech means more than just hiring diverse people. It also means they’re fully supported as they integrate themselves into the company.
Each veteran is paired with a fellow veteran as a mentor, to help them to understand the company culture and their role within it. They do everything together, from being set up together through to having lunch together, to assist with the transition into their new workplace. The company has also taken steps to understand how to accommodate veterans.
“People in the military are very direct, and sometimes people from corporate America get scared of that directness,” said Ms. Adams. “So we’ve educated our leadership team to understand veterans and the way that they communicate and their transition and what they're going through as well.”
Diversity goes beyond just the hiring of veterans too; of the 42 employees, 40 percent are women. Inclusivity is a key feature of the company’s culture, and its flat organizational structure helps to actively encourage communication across different levels.
“Individuals can reach out to the CEO, John Zanni, directly. They can send him a message, or give him a call, so everyone knows that and it's great because it cuts down the time of waiting,” said Ms. Adams. “We need to get stuff done, let's make those decisions immediately.”
“It's not lip service either, he really means it,” said Public Policy and Communications Manager Nicole Magney. “He really values ideas and that open exchange on all levels of the company. A lot of leaders say that but they don't necessarily follow through, so it's really refreshing to have a leader that does that.”
That communication exchange has been tested throughout 2020, with a large number of staff working from home during COVID. The company that prides itself on its employee culture recognized this was leading to employees feeling burnt out, and missing in-person interaction.
Acronis SCS conducted anonymous surveys to help identify changes could be made to day to day business and onboarding that would foster greater connectivity between staff. The company also had to get innovative with how it maintained its positive culture virtually.
“We've had contests amongst departments, and we're even doing a virtual holiday party with all kinds of games and prizes,” said Ms. Adams. “So it really took a turn very quickly, and the morale has really increased. We had to be creative and really give it back to the employees and say ‘you know what, what would make you happy?’
As for the actual running of the business itself, the current focus is on building a strong team that can deliver its new AI cloud product once the country gets out of the grips of COVID. Ms. Adams says they’re itching to get this process underway and are eager to set themselves up for success while they wait for that day to come.
“It's almost like a whole bunch of race horses, getting ready to start the race. And by the time COVID lifts, we want to be the first horse out of that gate, and by preparing ourselves with this cloud product.”