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What They Do
Combines public cloud, private cloud and dedicated hosting to provide customized infrastructure solutions for each customer's unique needs.
Headquarters: San Antonio, Texas
Annual Revenues: $1000 Million.
What Makes Rackspace Hosting Great
Rackspace Hosting puts a worker in a straitjacket every month — and it's not a punishment.
Instead, it's about commitment to customers rather than being committed. Employees nominate a peer who has gone above and beyond in customer support to wear the treasured "Fanatical Jacket." A senior leader straps the honoree in in front of an audience of new team members to inspire them to reach the same heights of craziness in support of customers — and gives them a peak into the quirky culture they've joined.
The quirks don't end there.
One employee’s day at Rackspace Hosting gives another hint into the out-of-the-ordinary work environment at this cloud technology company, a place that blends challenging technological know-how with plenty of workplace fun.
“On a busy day, I had people from three different departments come over to my section to help out,” the employee says. “During that time, you would have Nerf darts flying overhead, making the environment more light-hearted. To make that day even more spectacular, a guy on a unicycle rode by my desk out of nowhere.”
That kind of playfulness helps perpetuate a light, startup atmosphere at Rackspace, which was founded in 1998. So do monthly team celebrations, First Friday dress-up days and the adult-size slide between floors in the company’s headquarters — known as the Castle — a renovated shopping mall in San Antonio, Texas.
It should come as no surprise, then, that 94 percent of “Rackers” say this is a fun place to work.
“There is a real sense of work and play, where people take their jobs very seriously but don't take themselves too seriously,” one employee says. “A lot of talented and fun people make the company great to work for.”
The casual environment, which includes a relaxed dress code, helps keep employees comfortable even when they’re busy. It also meshes with a more hands-off approach from managers, who aren’t considered micromanagers. In fact, 92 percent of employees say management doesn’t look over people’s shoulders. Sabbaticals after seven years of employment and extended paid maternity leave coverage also help bring balance to workers' lives in this flexible workplace.
“It's an extremely laid-back environment where the management trusts its employees to get their work done as they see fit,” one employee says.
Friends and family
Lots of employees speak highly of Rackspace’s core values, which include statements like “Fanatical support in all we do,” “Committed to greatness” and “Treat Rackers like friends and family.”
Rackspace employees enjoy each other’s company — 97 percent say it’s a friendly place to work — and many treat their co-workers as close friends and family. When one Racker lost his home to a fire, not only did team members raise more than $4,000 in just three hours by selling breakfast plates, but employees from across the country flooded an account set up for the family with more than $37,000 in a single week.
“The sense of family is breathtaking,” one employee says. “I don't think I have ever heard of a company that dedicated as much resources to instilling that value.”
Rackspace employees also appreciate the company’s commitment to the community, which it expresses through financial and in-kind donations as well as time. The total contribution of all three in 2012 topped $1.1 million. Every employee also gets three paid days off each year — on top of their 30 days of combined vacation, sick and personal leave — to volunteer.
Despite the startup feel, Rackspace is now up to more than 4,100 employees in the U.S. — and more than 5,000 globally — and it grew in revenue by an average of 25 percent between 2010 and 2012. As a result, some employees are concerned that the company is growing too fast and is bound to lose some of the fun they value so highly. Some people also suggest that pay could be improved, however, this does not appear to be a widespread issue, as three-quarters of the group assert that they are currently paid fairly, enjoying stock options and quarterly bonuses amongst other awards.
All in all, 95 percent of Rackers say that they've found a great workplace in Rackspace, citing a hard to beat combination of fun times, rewarding work and friendly coworkers that most of their staff enjoy.
“It's great to see a company that gives so much to its employees, customers, and the community we surround ourselves in,” one employee says. “People really seem inspired to give their best here.”
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