Military-Passionate Employer Highlight - Rethink Innovations in Mt Laurel, NJ
I sat down with Allyson Christoffersen, the President of Rethink Innovations to chat about their business, their goals, and where they are going in 2017. What I learned was that there is more than meets the eye to Rethink Innovations. On the surface, I believed the company to be about conference room setup and security cameras. What I learned is that Allyson has a deep belief about work being fun and she believes that she can help work be fun for more people through the services Rethink provides. How does that work?
Work should be fun
I have worked with people who were truly offended by this comment. They felt that work was called “work” for a reason and that it wasn’t about having fun. They griped that this was a millennial idea and how dare people demand to be entertained. “You’re here to provide a service to a customer”, they would say, “It isn’t about your happiness”, they’d continue. It was almost like they felt a badge of honor was to be earned by the amount of misery they could endure while simultaneously delighting a customer. I have no idea where this concept originated, but I know that I totally disagree with it. It is certainly not your employer’s job to “entertain” you, but we no longer live in a world where our career choices are dictated entirely by external forces. We don’t have to work the farm just because our parents did. We don’t have to be a cobbler just because that’s what our dad was. We can decide to move across the country or around the world to pursue something we are truly passionate about and bring that joy and light to others wherever we land. And we should! People who do work that stimulates them and feeds their souls are happier, live fuller lives, and raise families that do the same. If you’re doing what you love and finding fulfillment in your work, a natural outcome is fun. It just is. So, yes, I think, if you’re doing it right, work should be fun!
One thing that makes work not fun is poor communication
Allyson shared with me the fact that she has seen the power of clear communication to drive a workplace culture. When a team can clearly communicate with its customers and each other, they get it right more often. However, when your communication networks fail, it creates frustration, which is the opposite of fun.
Poor communication can be aided by great technology
Increasingly, organizations serve customers outside of their immediate geography and more companies are hiring more remote workers, causing clear communication to be impeded by distance. We all know long distance relationships are difficult to maintain for this reason, but the advent or Skype and FaceTime made deployment so much easier for military families. Rethink Innovations brings that same connectivity to businesses. By understanding what their clients need to meet their communications goals (not what they think they need based on trends), Rethink builds custom solutions that reduce the frustration associated with the complex technology. They add functional automation, and simplify otherwise-complex systems into understandable tools. Rethink creates pathways for clear communication and relationship building. Reducing the frustration associated with complex technology makes work more fun!
What’s next for Rethink?
Allyson’s team is moving out of the office and into the great outdoors. They’ve partnered with Sync to build connectivity kiosks that will extend wireless networks throughout stadiums, industrial complexes, city centers and more. These kiosks provide a free wifi signal to anyone in their vicinity, area maps, and tech charging stations. Imagine going to a football game and having strong, reliable signal to post your Facebook updates, live stream the event, etc. This all becomes possible with a stadium outfitted with Sync kiosks.
What’s it like to work at Rethink?
Rethink values trustworthiness, expertise, love of learning, and empathetic action. Their team demonstrates these values in their relationships with one another, their customers, and the community. The office is an open setup with conference rooms as needed. Allyson has decorated beautifully and the team enjoys the comradely of being able to chat throughout the day about work and family. There are currently only six people in the company, but with the growth they anticipate from the Sync partnership, it’s anticipated they’ll add at least two more staff members in the near future. To be a Rethink team member, you need to be curious, interested in learning and growing, able to talk/think about technology and IT real-world applications while also dealing well with customers who have less IT knowledge. There are a lot of moving parts in an installation and many components to be tracked, so attention to detail is key for the Rethink team. Because the group is small, it's important to be friendly with your co-workers, but noone is trying to be best friends and hang out every hour on the weekends so you still get a personal life. Allyson and Eric have a young son, so they understand the need to balance work and family commitments. This is a group of people who will look after you if you also look after them.
The Rethink Dedication to the Military
Rethink aspires to be a technology company that gives back. When Allyson and I met, she told me she’d been looking for ways to give back to the men and women who serve our nation. Their office is a drop-off location for Operation Yellow Ribbon of South Jersey, a charity that sends care packages to our troops and orchestrates incredible welcome home ceremonies. However, Allyson wants to do more. Next week, their first military hire starts work at Rethink. Kari is a military spouse who has been traveling an hour and a half each way to work. With her husband still on active duty and the possibility of deployment always looming, this wasn’t ideal for their family. Kari is bringing an incredible skill set and great attitude to Rethink and they’re excited to have her joining them.
Who else should apply?
Rethink is looking to make their next military hire ASAP. They need an IT Technician with AV experience who will perform installations for their current clients and work on building and installing the Sync kiosks as they grow. Their ideal candidate will be able to work independently, like to try to figure things out on their own, but know when to call for help, and be is interested in constantly learning new technologies and applications. The vet they hire will be the kind of person who has self-taught themselves many things through Google and YouTube videos and who has a love of computers and thinks LINUX is fun. Someone who knows about home based security systems to an extent, but is open to learning more will fit right in. If the words Cisco and CompTIA and Security+ don't scare you and you would want to put a puzzle together to make a company's life easier, you might be their ideal candidate.
Veterans & Milspos - If you are interested in working at Rethink Innovations as their newest technician, apply on the Hire Served Website or share this article with someone you know who came to mind as you were reading it.