LANCASTER – Of the numerous awards Nxtbook Media has won over the years, being named one of the Top 100 Best Places to Work in PA (BPTW) is the one Michael Biggerstaff cherishes the most.
“This is, by far, the single best award we ever get,” Biggerstaff said. “It is so weighted by the employee survey (75 percent) and that is very important to us because it gives us good insight into what our folks think about what we are doing and how we are doing it.”
Founded in 2003, the digital publishing company does more, however, than just “make the list.” Nxtbook Media has ranked in the top three for small/medium-size companies seven of the 15 years BPTW has existed. (Team Pennsylvania Foundation, the Department of Community and Economic Development and Central Pennsylvania Business Journal are co-founding partners.)
The company’s culture places a premium value on employees and encourages them to be the very best version of themselves for their co-workers, their communities and their customers every day. It is a culture that is evident from the smiles on employee’s faces to the creative and cleverly decorated office décor.
“What it boils down to is we (the four original company founders) made Nxtbook Media the place we always wanted to work, but couldn’t find,” Biggerstaff said. “Often times, people start a company, work hard to get it going and then start to think internally what can I do for me? We, however, think from a group standpoint: How does this impact the group? How does this impact Nxtbook Media?”
This philosophy has contributed to exponential growth that’s led Nxtbook Media to being recognized as one of the fastest 50 growing companies by Inc. 500 and a client base that spans the globe, according to Todd Reinhart, Sultan of Success. Some company services for its 600 clients include brand management, digital design, technology solutions and videography.
“These awards are a reflection of the work we get to do for people and the people we get to work with here,” Reinhart said. “It’s really an awesome environment.”
Some employee benefits for the 53-person staff includes professional development opportunities, flexible summer hours, Beer:30 on Fridays, Family Fun Day, and a sabbatical program that rewards employees for years of service to the company and the community. (Nxtbook Media has a second office located in the United Kingdom, but it does not participate in the statewide BPTW program.)
“You spend more time awake at work than any other place and for someone to come here, have a bad time and hate their job, that would be terrible,” Biggerstaff said. “It’s really important from our perspective that we provide a great environment that enables people to do their best work, which aids customer retention and helps us find new customers. It is also good for employee recruitment because who doesn’t want to go to work for one of the best companies in all of Pennsylvania.”
Brittany Loeffler, Design Diva, said working at Nxtbook Media has been a fun journey. She enjoys working independently as well as on a team, the latter providing opportunities to learn from her colleagues.
“There is never a day when I think, ‘I don’t want to go to work’,” Loeffler said. “They really support us and encourage us to better ourselves.”
Matt Witkovsky, Creative Captain, agreed with Loeffler, saying employees are treated as people first.
“They really care about us and once they know we’ve been taken care of, they support us to help make us better employees, giving us the tools we need to be successful,” Witkovsky said.
Nxtbook Media’s offices emulate the laid-back, family-like atmosphere that prevails among its employees.
A hang glider and hot air balloon basket filled with a cutout of Abraham Lincoln hang from the rafters in the same room as a replica of a Dr. Who telephone booth, which houses laundry waiting to be picked up by a dry cleaning service.
On the second floor, staff is huddled under an open umbrella attached to a patio picnic table, conducting a meeting.
Nearby, development team members pound away on their laptops from the comfort of living room couches. A movie theater and “graffiti-laced” atrium displaying the artistic talents of staff members add to the ambiance and charm within the walls of the old Armstrong Cork Factory building.
Each of the seven conference rooms, which are marked by digital displays noting meeting date and time, pay tribute to one of the company’s seven core values: collaboration, creativity, excellence, influence, integrity, passion and service.
Reinhart noted that staff is allowed to decorate their own office space and create their own job titles with the caveat that they live up to that title.
“If I were told I could no longer work for Nxtbook Media, you would have to put me in a straight jacket,” Reinhart said, jokingly. “We are really encouraged by the partners and leadership team to let our creativity and personality shine through, which makes for a better work environment and a better end product.”