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Q&A with 2018 Atlanta’s Best Places To Work finalist Clean Hands-Safe Hands

By Chris Hermann

Atlanta Business Chronicle has just named the finalists for the 2018 Atlanta’s Best Places To Work awards. (Check out the list here.) The rankings will be announced at the Chronicle’s annual Best Places To Work awards on the evening of Sept. 6 at Flourish Atlanta. (Learn more about the event here.)

We asked one of the finalists, Dr. Chris Hermann, founder and CEO of Clean Hands – Safe Hands, to share some of the company’s secrets to becoming a Best Place To Work. Here’s what he said:

Q: How has being one of Atlanta’s Best Places To Work helped your business?

A: It’s early yet – we were just named to the list for the first time this year and just found out we made it a couple of weeks ago. I anticipate this will help boost our reputation in the community in general, as it’s a very prestigious award. I also expect it’ll help us in our recruiting efforts this year – candidates want to work for companies that are Best Places To Work. The most immediate impact we’ve seen so far is internal. Once we found out, we popped a bottle of champagne (at 10 am) and celebrated with the entire team!

Q: Is being one of Atlanta’s Best Places To Work meaningful to your company’s employees?

A: Yes. Everyone at Clean Hands – Safe Hands is very excited and proud to have made the list. They know it’s prestigious and that only a fraction of the companies that are nominated make it. They have known the whole time how wonderful it is to work here – they’re happy that the rest of the community will know now too!

Q: Tell us some of the things you’ve done to become one of Atlanta’s Best Places To Work that other companies can do, too.

A: The company’s culture is that of a family. The team typically eats lunch together every day. Everyone is positive, supportive and team-oriented. Our company is overly transparent and exposes team member to all aspects of the company operations, including finances. The CEO is more of a coach or mentor than a boss. Everyone’s voice counts, whether it’s interviewing new employees or voting on office snacks. And there are endless opportunities to learn, grow, and explore a new direction.

Our environment has what employees today tend to look for. Office design and furnishings chosen by the team. A giant (4+ person) beanbag and a hammock in the office. Multiple Nerf guns for spontaneous battles. Snacks and a well-stocked beer fridge supplied by the company. A Keurig coffee maker and “crunchy ice” machine. Beer and games starting at 3:00 on Fridays, with the occasional ukulele solo performance. A generous budget to “Bring Your Own Device” (whether that be a Mac, a PC, a tablet, a phone or a third monitor.) Dogs roaming the office. Regular one-on-one meals with the CEO. Fully covered benefits. A flexible, “make your own hours” schedule (while maintaining collaborative core hours). And unlimited paid time off.

One of the best things about the company is that people get to wear multiple hats throughout the day if they want to. We have recently begun a mentoring program where those who want the opportunity to learn new skills can do so. For example, there’s a developer who gets to do graphic design, a field engineer that has learned how to do machining, and an account manager that has learned how to use visual analytics to better answer customer questions.

Perhaps more importantly, we have a higher purpose, which is important to most people in today’s workforce. The company’s technology ensures that hospital staff clean their hands when entering and exiting patient rooms, which has led to a 75% decrease in hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). HAIs are the leading cause of accidental deaths, killing more people each year than breast cancer, car accidents and HIV combined. Even in its current startup phase, and in metro Atlanta alone, we already prevent one infection per day and save one life per week.

Q: If you could offer other companies one piece of advice on how to become one of Atlanta’s Best Places To Work, what would you tell them?

A: As much as employees today appreciate having a kitchen stocked with beer and snacks, and fun things like beanbags and Nerf guns, that’s not what makes a company a Best Place To Work. That’s all surface stuff. What’s more important is the deeper part of a company’s culture – that everyone has a voice, works as a team, and is fulfilling some sort of higher purpose. That’s what really gets everyone rowing in the same direction, finding meaning in their work, and having fun on a day-to-day basis.

(To read the original article on the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s site, click here.)

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