On May 23, 2018, Inc. Magazine released its “Best Workplaces 2018” with Smokeball law practice management software as one of the selected winners. “We’re really proud of this achievement,” said Smokeball’s President, Jane Oxley in reaction to learning of the win. “We put a lot of effort into making Smokeball a place you look forward to coming to every day,” she noted. Along with this tremendous honor, Inc. featured Smokeball in a new article, “How This Award-Winning Startup Brought Australian Values to the Midwest”. The award embodies a zenith achievement of a relatively young tech company that puts its people and community involvement first.
The Best Workplaces honor is determined by Inc. Magazine along with research and statistics teams at Quantum Workplace. Candidate companies are assessed on benefits offered and analysis of company culture. Candidate companies needed to be based in the United States, privately held, independent (i.e., not subsidiaries or divisions), and have a minimum of ten employees.
“We put a lot of effort into making Smokeball a place you look forward to coming to every day.”
Inc. Magazine’s annual awards gained even more rarified air this year, as Inc. included employee surveys to ensure candidate companies truly have their employees’ backs in a multitude of ways. “By including an employee survey into this year’s Best Workplaces selection process, we’ve really raised the bar. Companies that don’t score at the very top of their peer group don’t make the cut. So, our hats are off to the winners,” said Inc. Editor-in-Chief James Ledbetter.
The honor comes with gratitude, but with really no surprise to Smokeball’s sixty plus employees in its downtown Chicago offices. “This comes as no surprise. Truly. Since I began working at Smokeball, I have never felt more valued as an employee, colleague, and friend. This is the greatest team of people I have ever had the honor of working with, and that in itself is the biggest perk.”
That was the reaction of Amanda Wiszus, Smokeball’s Content Manager for Criminal & Family Law (and Smokeball’s resident most-likely-to-win-Cupcake-Wars baker). In fact, it’s exactly one of the themes that Inc. and Quantum Workplace found in their winners: “When employees feel valued by their organization, they are far more likely to be engaged. This single factor proved to be one of the largest drivers of employee engagement.”
Clients also notice the employee difference with Smokeball, touting its incredibly attentive, accessible, and friendly Client Success Team, which was recently awarded a Stevie for outstanding service. The company is set up for successful support of clients because its internal interactions are so supportive, Jonnell Simpson, Senior Onboarding Specialist, illuminated in her reaction to the award win: “Smokeball encourages us to take ownership of our clients’ satisfaction. Customers tell us how much they appreciate what we do and how we treat them. And the entire team is so supportive and fun, that culture carries over to our interaction with our clients.” Pool, ping-pong, Friday hangouts, and free snacks all day long in the office certainly helps with the “fun” part.
The reviews are in, and the company culture certainly does trickle down to client interactions, which is why Inc.’s mostly internal facing award is so important. One client stated that interactions with Smokeball staff was more like getting coffee with friends: “[M]y account rep was more like a friend I met who happened to help me with Smokeball new features and any questions I had. That’s how close I became with the Smokeball staff as I started my practice and signed up with Smokeball.”
“[M]y account rep was more like a friend I met who happened to help me with Smokeball new features and any questions I had. That’s how close I became with the Smokeball staff as I started my practice and signed up with Smokeball.”
In all, Smokeball’s latest honor is truly its most humbling. It means that President Jane Oxley’s initial goals are coming to fruition, with Smokeball’s company culture making it a great place to work and that fact spilling over into extremely happy clients.
As Jane puts it, “Caring about each other, our clients, our work helps us create this environment and also to create a beautiful product and service for our clients. It’s win-win!”