Employees' Choice Awards: Plenty of 'energy' at Martello

David Sali
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The Employees' Choice Awards were handed out Feb. 25 at the Marshes Golf Club. From Feb. 29 to March 11, OBJ is profiling one winner a day. Today, we feature Martello Technologies.

Martello's executives strive to keep customers in contact with company staff.

Bruce Linton knows all too well the angst that can come with being in the software business.

Unlike car manufacturing, for example, it’s not always easy to stand back at the end of the day and say, “This is what I built.” The process happens in fits and starts, and it can be a long time, if ever, before an initial idea comes to fruition.

That’s why the president and CEO of Kanata’s Martello Technologies says providing employees with constant feedback is so important.

“Software is an abstract art,” says Mr. Linton, whose firm makes performance management software for Mitel unified communications systems. “You’re creating something that is difficult for most people to fully appreciate and understand what you’re working on. It’s very difficult to know, did I do a great job? Did I build something people need? Have I fulfilled some specific expectation?”

To that end, the company’s software engineers have “daily scrums” where they talk directly to clients to make sure Martello’s products are meeting their needs and find out what areas could be tweaked or upgraded.

While at many companies such discussions are theoretical, Mr. Linton says, “Ours are real. That’s what gives the energy to everybody.” It’s easier to create a positive work environment, he adds, if employees are doing “real work for real end users.”

It must be working. Not only did Martello just receive its first Employees’ Choice Award, the company also topped OBJ’s list of Ottawa’s fastest-growing companies last spring, with three-year revenue growth of more than 600 per cent.

So while the firm does offer many of the typical perks of the tech world such as exercise programs and team social events, Mr. Linton says what really matters to Martello’s staff is that they are part of a dynamic organization that is delivering practical software solutions to thousands of clients.

“Fifteen, 20 years ago, a lot of the work environment stimulus was intended to be that open kitchen and those things, which are all great,” he explains. “Those are nice, but it really is, at least for our sector … what (employees) are looking for is a place that isn’t just a concept but has actual traction. The charge in our atmosphere has been driven by getting over the hump and generating profit. That really is a positive thing in the workplace.”

He says the company’s success has sparked “a chain of events that results in meaningful work done for real clients in an environment that’s pleasant. I think all those things kind of went together quite well this year.”


Martello Technologies

Founded: 2009

Employees: 22 in Ottawa; 28 overall

ECAs: 1

What they’re doing right:

Offering employees constant feedback

Making staff feel like they’re part of a growing success story with a significant upside

Organizations: Kanata, Mitel

Geographic location: Ottawa

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