Editor's Note: LiquidAgents Healthcare is one of Inc.'s 2017 Best Workplaces, our annual recognition of companies creating employee-centered organizations.
When you hear the perks LiquidAgents provides its 85 full-time employees, you'd think it was yet another startup in Silicon Valley. Instead, the health care staffing company is located in Plano, Texas, just down the street from the headquarters of Toyota and Frito-Lay.
In its new office, just opened in January, the 14-year-old LiquidAgents Healthcare, which places nurses for short-term contracts in hospitals around the country, boasts almost 29,000 square feet of open-plan office space. Walls are painted bright green, magenta, and blue, and snippets of the Eagles, Blink-182, and Taylor Swift can be heard playing. A game room boasts a Ping-Pong table and shuffleboard. A kitchen houses an espresso machine, a beer fridge, and is filled with fruit snacks. There are private meeting rooms where no one looks askance if an employee spends her lunch hour taking a nap or catching up on Family Feud instead of hitting a nearby shop or restaurant.
Employees of the Month get a chance to spin a prize wheel and score gift cards, event tickets, or a car wash. And every few weeks, tickets to concerts are offered company-wide. "These are front-row seats to bands like Coldplay," says marketing manager Mallory Hatten. She's taken advantage of the perk herself, with meet-and-greet tickets last year to Citizen Cope.
Although it sounds like fun and games, in this loft-like space with floor-to-ceiling windows, each employee, speaking into his or her wireless headset, is trading in the high-stress world of recruiting and job placement. They work with so-called travel nurses, registered nurses who want to experience working in a different part of the country. These nurses may collect a housing allowance and can have a say over their hours and choice of hospitals, which need these contract workers to fill in for staff out on maternity leave (normally for 13 weeks), or felled by a bad flu season.
On average, the company places a few hundred nurses a month. Open jobs have to be acted on immediately, before the competition grabs that pediatric gig in Hawaii. "These nurses' jobs and careers rely on us," says Hatten. "If they don't get that job, it falls back on us."
Appropriate for a company whose employees spend a lot of time talking, LiquidAgents prides itself on an open communication style. Every Friday morning starts with a company-wide stand-up meeting that allows workers to voice any concerns, make suggestions, or ask questions of management.
CEO Sheldon Arora, who is always visible in his glass office, encourages employees to feel free to approach him to ask a question, deal with a supervisor issue, or just let him know about a personal problem. "It makes you feel that your issue, whatever it might be, someone is listening to you," says Hatten. "You're not lost in the crowd."