Inside SEP’s Best Place to Work Award

July 13, 2012

Software Engineering Professionals (SEP) takes pride in its work environment. Through active engagement of employees in and out of the office atmosphere, SEP strives to ensure everyone at the Carmel-based company feels part of the community. The employees are the reason SEP once again ranked among the Best Places to Work in Indiana, placing 4th on the 2012 list compiled by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Honored for workplace practices and dedication to employee well-being, SEP was among 40 companies recognized. This is the third year in a row SEP has placed on the list, including earning the top spot during the company’s first year as part of the awards, since it became a participant in 2010.

“For [high-tech grads] to know there’s a top company in the state at least gives them pause to stop and look at Indiana instead of immediately assuming they have to go to one of the coasts,” CEO Jeff Gilbert recently told BizVoice. Gilbert further elaborated, “We’ve been able to hire the people we want to hire, even in this competitive market. I have to think this award has something to do with that.”

The award is just as important to SEP employees. “It provides validation of what we ‘feel’…that we are truly one of the best places to work in Indiana,” explains COO Traci Dossett. Human Resources Manager Laura Terry takes it a step further, “The only reason we continue to receive this award is because of the efforts of our employees. Everyone wants to work at a great place; we just work together to make that a reality here.”

Rankings are determined through comprehensive employee surveys and employer reports. Businesses are split into two divisions: small and medium companies of 15-249 U.S. employees, and large companies consisting of 250 or more U.S. employees.

Dossett and Terry credit the survey as a great tool beyond the award. “The survey given in conjunction with this award is one of the most valuable tools we have,” explains Dossett, with Terry adding “We take the feedback and benchmark data we receive and use it to make SEP an even better place to work. Sometimes that means tweaking or changing something, and sometimes that means staying the course. I think of it as [us] doing better.”

The reward of SEP’s continued presence at the top of the Best Places to Work list is its recruiting power. “This award says everything about the efforts of our employees and our work environment,” Terry explains, “Everyone wants to work at a great place.” Dossett adds “To tell potential employees that we have a company that has won awards for our atmosphere, our culture and our truly employee-owned mentality has a significant impact on what they think of us.”

SEP boasts a strong work ethic only matched by a jubilant and creative office environment. The ends of projects are celebrated, often including the clients we work with to achieve their goals. Special breakfast and lunch gatherings, cookouts and picnics also encourage community throughout the office. “We have monthly social events arranged by our own SEP Social Team, company events like our Summer Picnic and Cabin Fever party,” states Terry. “In addition, we do quite a bit of training and professional development. We have brown bags once or twice a week where we bring experts in for training, we host book clubs, and more.”

Use of company bikes to ride to lunch or sight see along Carmel’s Monon Trail provide escape from the rigors of the workday and the SEP Commons hosts an assortment of gaming options as well as a ping pong table are also perks of the casual office environment at SEP.

Terry sums it up: “Using our Best Places to Work ranking helps us tangibly show potential recruits that we don’t just market ourselves as a great place to work – per our employees and facilities, SEP really is a great place to work.”