Employees’ Choice Awards: Promoting face-to-face interactions at CORADIX

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When Tony Carmanico founded CORADIX Technology Consulting, he set out to create “a strong corporate culture, where people would like coming to work,” he recalls. It was something he believed would make his company more successful.

Coradix's Tony Carmanico.

By Jacob Serebrin

Now, more than 18 years later, he still believes it.

Around a quarter of his staff have been with the company for more than 10 years.

“In small companies, there’s often a lot of turnover,” he says. He’s happy to see that so much of his staff are staying around for a significant portion of their careers.

With experience, “people get better,” he says. The company does a significant amount of consulting work for the federal government, which Mr. Carmanico says is usually looking for a specific type and breadth of experience. Having veteran staff members allows the company to talk up the resumés of specific people when it’s bidding for work, and the experience that they have allows them to solve problems more easily, he notes.

For Mr. Carmanico, creating that loyalty in his workforce comes from building personal relationships with his employees. The idea is to break down the barriers that might make the president of the company seem unapproachable.

By being open to “talk about anything,” he hopes to make his staff more likely to come to him when something’s going wrong at the business.

Building these personal relationships also helps him gauge when things aren’t going right. He calls his sense of employee sentiment his “mutual appreciation index,” and when the company is dealing with issues, he makes an effort to talk about them proactively.

It’s important to talk with everyone on a regular basis … about how their life is going, not just about work.

He also tries to help facilitate the building of strong relationships between employees, by encouraging his staff to “deal face-to-face with people rather than by e-mail,” he says.

“Walk over, talk to them, look them in the eye,” says Mr. Carmanico of the approach he asks his employees to take in the office.

He also has “monthly luncheons in the boardroom,” he adds. “That’s just to get everyone in the same room, sharing food together.”

He also sometimes takes his staff to do something fun, like going bowling. While it might mean losing an afternoon of productivity, “you’re getting back more than you put in,” he says. “Loyalty comes back.”

CORADIX Technology Consulting Ltd.

Founded: 1995

Employees: 40

No. of ECAs: 2

What they’re doing right:

Focus on building personal relationships between staff members, as well as between employees and managers

Approachable leadership

Fun activities

Organizations: CORADIX TechnologyConsulting

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