KeyMark Employees Create Opportunities for Fun
When I arrived at KeyMark during the Fall of 2017, like any new employee, I didn’t know what to expect about the culture. I knew that the position was exactly what I wanted next for my career, but often you are taking a chance on what the work environment will be like. KeyMark was on my radar because it had been winning workplace awards for a few years and it had recently been named to the INC 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list.
Having been an employee at KeyMark for two and a half years now, I can attest that there is something catalytic in the air out here in Liberty, SC. Many may not realize the culture of agility, creativity and innovation that already exists in the Pickens County Commerce Park off of Cartee Road.
When I tell my friends I work in Liberty, the reaction is almost always the same: “UGH! How far is that drive?” (for me, it’s 30 minutes). In fact, did you know the average US work commute is 26 minutes? But what most people don’t know is that this little burgeoning Liberty hub is home to businesses that are doing significant things in our world. Our neighbors are companies like Taylormade, Abbott, Reliable Sprinkler Company, JR Automation Technologies and United Tool and Mold. They are sizeable, national companies who are doing big things in our world.
There’s something contagious around here that evokes creation. During the holiday season, KeyMark became the first company in the world to automate processes within OnBase content management software using robotic process automation. In simpler terms, KeyMark uses software to allow businesses to “set it and forget it” with digital processes, and we were the first to create a specific type of automation. In fact, KeyMark has a rich history of being first in the world to create several business automation solutions.
The competitive, first-place attitude previously mentioned is paired with a natural curiosity and a desire to create. While this is a benefit to our customers, its also a benefit to our employees. This is best explained through an example of an employee-formed video game club.
With a path paved by a an employee-led cooking organization, “Grillmasters,” and a group who plays “Dungeons and Dragons” after hours in one of our conference rooms, KeyMark had a few employees wanting to play their Nintendo Switch in the break room during lunch.
Over time, more employees started showing interest and before we knew it, the idea of a tournament had formed. Through an intense competition that lasted through the month of January, an idea started to form: “what if we could integrate this into our monthly lunch routine?”
The other thing that started to form was the name. The “KeyMark Gaming Society” put an official name on this trend that started happening during lunch in the kitchen.
As soon as this activity took off, people started taking ownership and doing things without being asked. Support Engineer Chris Butler formed a tournament. Then, KeyMark’s Brand + Creative Manager, Clay Tuten, dreamed up a logo and ordered shirts. KeyMark’s Marketing Coordinator, Joey Barrett, created a video detailing what is happening. More importantly, KeyMark employees could freely act upon their innate desire to create.
“Creativity is really something that unites us,” said VP Human Resources Stephen Middleton. “This group is constantly trying to figure out how we can do new, inventive things to achieve common goals.”
KeyMark hasn’t stopped at the Gaming Society. January 2020 marked the formation of the first ever “KeyMark Charitable Council.” This is an organization that will direct KeyMark’s charitable initiatives for years-to-come.
In October of 2019, KeyMark started “The Orange Chair Podcast,” a technology-focused podcast that broadcasts from Liberty in KeyMark’s very own WKEY studios.
There are more ideas in the works, too. From ideas of starting a “Code Camp” to an idea of a group of “Master Gardeners,” KeyMark employees are just getting started.
“This empowered, creative mindset is exactly what has made us successful,” commented KeyMark CEO Jim Wanner. “While we have been around since 1996, KeyMark has a ‘startup’ mentality where we are all responsible for our company’s success. It starts with our culture – this team is getting creative each and every day for our customer base.”
Wanner recently appeared in the Clemson University Business of Innovation Pawdcast, discussing this “startup” mentality.
“People simply don’t say ‘no’ in this organization. It is so refreshing,” said KeyMark VP Sales John Harrison. “If we understand the common business goals, we are free to both create and take action. It’s simply amazing.”
With all this encouragement to create and invent, it’s no wonder KeyMark has been a repeat winner for workplace campaigns for the last several years. Moreover, its proof that KeyMark is positioning itself in a way that its employees can be curious and freely invent for years to come.