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Nerdery repeats as #1 on Best Places to Work list

Biz Journal list based on staff surveys of professionally-gratified nerds

Minneapolis, August 19, 2011 – For the second consecutive year, The Nerdery is ranked #1 on the Best Places to Work list (medium-sized company category) published by Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal.

"This honor is especially meaningful because the judge and jury for this award are the people we live with here at work," said Mike Derheim, CEO and co-founder of The Nerdery. "Our staff took the survey, spoke their minds and made this happen - not unlike how these same people shape company culture every day. We've created a work environment where people are empowered from day one make their mark on our culture, and they do the rest."

More from Derheim in Biz Journal's Q&A and more on our blog. And much more from Nerdery staff surveys (names withheld as independent survey company Quantum Workplace keeps employee comments anonymous):

"This is the first place I've ever worked that not only allows me to be me, but actually encourages it. The Nerdery encourages each of us to be our own individuals, instead of trying to make everyone fit within a predefined mold."

"They take the time to put the employees first. Making sure that developers are happy results in good code and a better place for everyone."

"Never have I felt such loyalty to an organization. I am continually impressed by the executive team and their passion about The Nerdery. It gave me goosebumps to hear our CEO say, and mean, that he doesn't want our employees to have to look for work anywhere else and have the opportunity to reach all of their career goals here."

"The Nerdery, even with its growth, continues to be like a second home to me. Work never feels like work and my co-workers are all just friends. We get work done but we have a lot of fun in doing so."

"It's great to work with so many talented and motivated people."

"Everyone has been very helpful, open to suggestions, and participate in maintaining a flat organization, from the new employees that joined with me all the way to the executive team. The nerd culture is strong with everyone here - it's celebrated, and provides a cohesive culture that permeates our identity both individually and as a company."

"The Nerdery isn't for everyone. But only because it takes a special person to truly appreciate the amazing culture that this job offers."

"This is the best/most unique job and work environment I've ever had. We are all encouraged to be the best we can be, and to have as much fun as possible along the way. Anyone who visits our office can see why people like working here, but I think one of the subtler things that makes this company successful is that important decision making is fairly well distributed across all teams and roles. In addition, almost everything that happens is done in a transparent way (e.g. by design, most company documents can be found and read by anyone)."

"Relaxed but fast-paced place to work. Love coming to work in the morning."

"The senior leadership is very interested in maintaining our unique culture, even as we grow rapidly. They have instituted town hall meetings, The Buzz (a chat/suggestion board that is WIDELY used), and now have a newsletter for employees."

"With a new addition to the workspace (including a small theater), and more perks (morning Yoga classes, for example), I honestly cannot think of anywhere else in Minnesota that I would rather work. The people here are friendly and committed to excellence (not to mention brilliant), and the Nerdery culture just can't be beat."

"This is such a great place to be everyday."

"I have always considered myself an artist, and have historically treated a day job as a necessary annoyance, to be tolerated while I watched the clock until I could go home again. Working at the Nerdery, however, is an actual joy. I wouldn't necessarily say that I actively look forward to Mondays, but I certainly don't mind them one bit. The Nerdery is, hands down, the best place I've ever worked. I'd be crazy to leave this place. It pretty much completely rules. Everybody here is a nerdy supergenius."

"The level of respect between teams and even managers is unlike any other organization. Free soda/coffee aside, I believe that The Nerdery really does want to nurture and care for their 'nerds,' financially, intellectually, and emotionally."

"I LOVE The Nerdery. I truly feel I'm making a difference for the organization."

"The workplace is always open and collaborative. Everyone is invited to share ideas on how to make this a better place to work. This is an employee-driven company that our leaders recognize and utilize the employees to help make decisions on how the company can grow and change."

"The culture of constant and sustained improvement at The Nerdery is embodied with complete transparency. Everyone is proudly united in their desire to actively maintain a culture of creativity, thought, and excellence in every aspect of daily work."

"I feel like I have a second family in my place of employment."

"They listen to us. We have meetings devoted to getting our ideas out as a company, no matter what level position you're at or how long you've been an employee, your opinion matters and The Nerdery makes sure you know that."

"They foster a culture where employees are valued as the most important aspect of the company. They also encourage people to pursue individual skills and hobbies, from programming training to gaming communities."

"They are aware of our family life outside of work and when things come up that are not planned we are able to take care of them without hassle. Creature comforts of home are also available at The Nerdery - we can bring pets and can dress comfortably while we work."

"TRUST. Holy cow, it's nice to have a manager that trusts my judgment and allows me to make smart decisions. OPEN CHANNELS. I can literally walk up to the CEO and not have to worry that I'm pestering him."

"Unlimited sick time, employees are encouraged to stay home when ill so they don't spread illness. Flexible hours and they allow dogs."

"We all share in every project. If someone needs help they ask and they get the proper support without judgment. We're allowed to be comfortable. The management cares. We have an open door policy. Nothing is too taboo to bring up."

"They realize that, as employees, we spend the majority of the day working. Therefore, they bring every convenience to us. Anything from free cereal, pop, coffee, pet grooming, car services, movies, games, clubs, etc."

"They set core hours so that you can schedule your workday with flexibility to your schedule or situation. They provide access to work with and for very smart people. They provide the necessary tools for and seek most effective processes for our work."

"I find that the work process/flow is tuned to keep me productive. Most things are ready to go when they hit my desk. I do not feel like I am invited to meetings unnecessarily. To sum it up, I spend little time spinning my wheels on unnecessary things. My coworkers are awesome and they help me be the best I can be. I don't know what our magic hiring formula is, but every person in the organization is able and willing to carry their own weight and then some. Everyone is able to get along. No one seems to be hung up on protecting their territory. Mutual respect abounds."

"Creates an environment where developers thrive and strive to be the best they can be. They continue to keep communication channels open. They allow employees to share their personality in a culturally rich setting."

"Having worked in more corporate environments in the past, I appreciate the commitment to open and honest communication between the executive staff and the rest of the company. I've never worked with an executive team that was more willing to take on the hard questions openly and honestly, and express genuine care and concern over the happiness of the employees."

"They organize easy lunch delivery and free food options (breakfast bar) when you're in a crunch. Weekly 1-on-1's ensures that communication is there. Managers are grateful and acknowledge hard work (such as working late)."

"Provide good tools, autonomy to make your own decisions and a good managerial support structure for when you need it."

"I feel the company leaders really care and encourage people to bring their non-job passions to work: From tea and health clubs, to yoga, free drinks, bowling and other clubs, the company is generally supportive of people's passions - even if they don't directly raise the bottom line. In general, I also feel that the company is interested to increase peoples' skill level and assist them in growing."

"They really empower everyone one at the company to do their best and be their best. Everyone has the opportunity to be who they want to be and to evolve themselves from production, to being a leader, to being a mentor and anywhere in between. They also believe in us and trust us that we are going to do what is right. How do they show us that? By giving us unlimited sick days, by letting us choose our own work hours, by letting us work from home whenever we need to."

"We're growing but finding new ways to communicate and stay connected with a combo of interactive tools and face-to-face forums. People are heard, and ideas are beyond respected - they are asked for and seemingly always appreciated. Nothing seems taboo. Very open lines of communication and leadership is both approachable and accountable."

"The philosophy here is 'we hire you because of who you are, so we'd be crazy to try to turn you into something you're not' -- hence everyone is encouraged to do what they need to do in order to be the best version of themselves they can be. The company even encourages employees to form after-work clubs for anything non-work-related that interests them, and the company funds the clubs, buys pizza, any materials required, etc. There's no dress code, you can set your own hours, bring your pets to work, there's free food and drink, there's nobody looking over your shoulder with suspicion, there's open and transparent communication between all levels and departments, and there's zero tolerance for mean-spiritedness. The company also provides yoga and massages. Sorry, that was more than 'two or three things' but I just couldn't decide."

"The Nerdery takes being a desirable workplace to heart and it's obvious that people at every level think about it a lot, and take action to make it so. I've never worked any place where such a conscious effort is made by people to not only do good work but also make The Nerdery the best place possible for all who work and play here."

To qualify for the Best Places to Work list, companies had to have an office in the Twin Cities 13-county metro area with 10 employees or more. Representatives from more than 220 companies initiated the nomination process. Once completed, The Business Journal used the scores from anonymous online surveys to determine the Best Places to Work. Omaha, Neb.-based Quantum Workplace managed the survey process.

About The Nerdery
The Nerdery is a developer-driven interactive production shop that partners with creative minds and big thinkers to engineer and execute their interactive projects, including websites, social media and mobile apps. With offices in Chicago and Minneapolis, The Nerdery has a staff of 200+ and was founded in 2003 by three programming pioneers. The Nerdery was honored in 2010 with The Quality of Life Award and The Jefferson Award for its record of corporate philanthropy through The Nerdery Overnight Website Challenge, at which volunteers have donated nearly two million dollars worth of web development services to 66 nonprofit organizations. The Nerdery has made the Inc 5000 and Biz Journal Fast 50 lists of fast-growing privately owned companies for several consecutive years.

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