A couple of years ago, I was working a remote leadership consulting position that gave me great flexibility to work from any location. As I traveled the country, I had the opportunity to visit many US cities, thumb through copious amounts of books on my flights, and learn about the intricacies and dynamics of the organizations I was visiting. I have always been fascinated with how organizations and companies “work” – how they recruit, hire, engage, train, and retain employees. How is it that some companies are able to retain individuals for years while others are a revolving door?
What I found is that it comes down to the people. People join people and stay where they feel valued. The companies that have the most engaged employees and strong retention numbers are those that focus first on their people, then their product.
I started to do some small-scale research on companies in Philadelphia who were known to be excelling at putting their people first. I met with dozens of folks who served in “People Operations” roles to learn more about their companies and what led them to high engagement, low turnover, and happy employees.
That’s when I learned about Wil Reynolds and Seer Interactive. Here is a blog article from my visit in 2016 to Seer Interactive, one of “Philly’s Coolest Companies”. Enjoy!
January 30, 2017
As the rush of the holiday season approached, I wanted to get one more visit in the books for 2016 to learn about companies that have a unique workplace culture. So, I made the trek from South Philadelphia up to Northern Liberties to Seer Interactive, another one of Philly’s coolest companies. Just when I thought it couldn’t get “cooler” than my first two visits to Vynamic and FS Investments, I walked into the Search Perch.
Seer Interactive, a digital marketing agency specializing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and Analytics services, founded by Wil Reynolds, moved from what was fondly called the Search Church to the newly designed and built Search Perch in Northern Liberties in 2015. As other businesses moved out, along with developer Bart Blatstein who was living on the top floor, Seer took over six of seven floors leaving space for Marky Mark’s Wahlburgers restaurant on the ground floor.
I met with another November Project tribe member, Lindsey, who happily showed me around the space and talked to me about the awesomeness that is Seer Interactive. Talk about an amazing community-minded culture!
Here is what I learned on my trip to No Libs:
Seer was founded in 2002 when Reynolds decided to start his own company after being told he couldn’t leave early one day to serve in the community. This commitment to the community has carried into the everyday operations of Seer Interactive from the unlimited time off to serve in the community to the quarterly professional development speakers that come to the Perch. (There is a fee for attendance, and all funds collected go to the speaker’s favorite cause or agency.) On top of the time offered for community service, Seer also has unlimited sick and vacation days.
Speaking of vacations… Reynolds makes it his priority to send out consistent emails that include great flight deals to encourage his team to take time off and see the world. When someone within the company commits to a trip, Reynolds will send an email letting all of Seer know who is going on vacation and the deal they used for their trip. A magnet wall, with magnets from staff members’ trips around the globe, demonstrates that time off is not only supported within Seer, but encouraged.
Further encouragement comes from Reynolds in the form of professional development, in particular for women within the company. All employees are encouraged to practice and participate in public speaking opportunities, such as at conferences. Reynolds feels that this is a great way for the Seer name to get out there, and moreover a way for his team members to develop confidence and public speaking skills that are integral to their own professional development.
I find it fascinating that Reynolds’ goal was to keep his company at a max of ten employees. Fifteen years later, Seer Interactive has over 100 employees and has experienced a 5-year growth rate of 236%. With offices in both Philadelphia and San Diego there is no sign of slowing down.
As you walk around the Search Perch, you can feel the innovation, the excitement, and the love that each person has for this company. People are proud to work at Seer and enjoy coming into the office each day, even when they are able to work from home. Maybe it’s the autonomy, the days off, the log cabin built into the 6th floor, the women’s room for working mothers, the casual atmosphere that allows for dogs and babies to visit the office, the smell of bacon that floats up from Wahlburgers, or the 100th Employee Celebration. Or maybe it’s the fact that Wil Reynolds cares so much about his people and creating a culture of trust, respect, gratitude, and humility, that you have to love this company.
I don’t know about you, but I can certainly see why Seer is one of the cool kids. From the commitment to the community, commitment to staff development, and commitment to their clients, this place has heart! I look forward to watching Seer continue to take Philly by storm as they grow and leave their mark on the SEO industry.
Wil Reynolds, Founder of Seer Interactive, will be speaking to the Young Professionals Council at Meet the C-Suite program on October 10. Register here for this professional development conversation and to learn more about unique company culture.