Tigerpaw Software’s Employee Recreation Center Takes Center Stage
As soon as you enter the offices of Tigerpaw Software in Bellevue, you realize that it is not your typical workplace. Maybe it is the executives you catch a glimpse of as they hurry to a meeting, not dressed in the traditional business suits, but in comfortable jeans and t-shirts. If this does not convince you, then the two large black dogs (Harley and Trina) that rush out to greet you certainly will. This casual environment did not happen by accident. It is a focused effort by CEO Dave Foxall coming from a corporate environment background, that wants to make his own company different. “I wanted a place where everyone looked forward to coming to work and enjoyed being here,” he explained. I wanted our staff to be like a family, so I knew I had to create a home-like environment at the office.”
He did this by deciding to bring his dogs to work with him every day and giving his employees the option of a casual dress code. Then, when the pet store that leased space from them next door moved, he decided to expand on his idea. Instead of leasing the space out to another business, he made it into a recreation room for Tigerpaw staff. The room, which is 7,000 square feet opened in August of 2008 and staff have been enjoying everything from regular meetings to Friday afternoon social hours to weekend parties with their families. The room includes a ping-pong table, popcorn machine (popcorn is made daily at 3:00 and an email is sent out to remind everyone), huge home theater with all the amenities such as a Wii, Play Station and Xbox 360 next to a large working waterfall. Employees have 24 hour a day, 365 days a year access to the room and are encouraged to bring family over to enjoy a weekend movie or game of ping-pong. “I really wanted to let my employees know that I trust them with full access to the facility,” Dave says. “When your employees know you trust them, it just creates a higher morale and more productive work environment.”
Tigerpaws philosophy of a casual, family-style work environment has clearly been successful. The company, a leading developer of end-to-end business automation and service management software, has been in business since 1984 and has gone from ten employees to 41. Their software, which is sold globally, boasts more than 20,000 users in 28 countries. Daves family-centered office is not just about treating his staff as family, it involves his actual family as well. Daves son, James Foxall is Sr. Vice President and was featured in MBJ 40 under 40 article. His wife, Linda Foxall is President and has programmed for years. His daughter, Chris Wright serves as the financial officer and human resource administrator, playing an important role in the day-to-day operations at Tigerpaw since the early days.
Dave Foxall has succeeded in creating a work environment that is not only highly profitable, but also a fulfilling and fun place for his employees to come to work every day.
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