JenniferSoft's 'ideal welfare culture’

A ‘Dream Company’ JenniferSoft’s ‘ideal welfare culture’ allows swimming during work time.

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A 35 hour working week including 3 work-from-home days a month An in-office swimming pool and jacuzzi The hiring of a non-native employee to be a friend for company member’s children Allowing menstrual leave without mention

Is there such a company, really? Yes, it is a story about JenniferSoft.

JenniferSoft established its headquarter in Heyri Valley this past April, 2012. Heyri Art Valley is hidden away in an idyllic valley just one hour’s drive north of Seoul. There one can find a collection of art galleries, workshops, film studios, book shops and cafés. When I visited JenniferSoft on July 6th, I couldn’t feel any significant difference of their first floor cafe from the other cafe’s in the valley.

JenniferSoft’s CEO, Andy Lee said “The JENNIFER Cafe is an open space where company members can work and rest. Sometimes ordinary people come into our cafe to try to enjoy coffee. Therefore, soon we will open the JENNIFER cafe not only for company members but also their families, partners and anybody else who wants to come in the near future. The JENNIFER cafe has now opened with a beautiful garden at the first floor.

JenniferSoft has ranked #1, taking 70% of market share in the APM industry of Korea. APM solutions help system engineers to monitor their system’s overall statuses like CPU, traffic flow and overloaded transactions in real-time. Currently, more than 620 companies are using JENNIFER including banks, universities, e-trading companies and manufacturing companies. Looking at JenniferSoft’s revenue, net income in 2011 was $1.9 million, up 55% from the year before. The company’s total revenue came in at $9 million, up 23% from the previous year. A total of 22 members work in Korea, US, Japan and Austria.

22 employees, 620 clients and 55% of operating profits make a compact but strong company.

Andy Lee said “To provide reasonable welfare for members is our company’s bound duty, not to generate profit.”

Andy has stick to a 7-hour work day since the company first established in 2005. JenniferSoft’s members generally come to work by 10:00 and go home by 6:00. When they use the swimming pool, even their swimming time is included as a part of their working time.

“I thought every member and their families could really enjoy the swimming pool and spa facility. Andy remarked, “We don’t enforce a specific working place or time. Everything is flexible. It doesn’t matter if members keep the 35-hour working week. Additionally, JenniferSoft allows employees to work from home 2-3 times per month without mention to encourage the use of menstrual leave.

Andy Lee emphasized that giving members the time to think deep and rest is important to boost their individual intellectual ability, especially in a contemporary knowledge-based information society. That’s why we stick to a flexible 7-hour working schedule. Longer, more traditional time-based working schedules should be shortened.

After moving the company building to Heyri Art Valley at the end of April, Jamie Bruno, creative director of JenniferSoft, made an organic rooftop garden and weekly teaches swimming and drawing to the member’s children. She also manages the overall social sharing activities reflecting company’s values.

Andy emphasized again, profit earning is a result not a goal. Our ultimate goal is to sustain our value-oriented company mission and balanced life. He also pointed out that the welfare benefits are not tools to improve productivity. Providing sound welfare benefits are a natural priority. Welfare and productivity are not always in direct proportion. Andy Lee doesn’t care about stock listings or M&A. As a kind of exit strategy, the stock listing increases the corporate capital value and this just results in the company owner having increased power and accumulating more capital.

JenniferSoft has a role model company, the SAS Institute, a leading provider of business analytics, recording a surplus for 36 consecutive years. The company is also well-known for no extra work, temporary employee retirement and their ideal welfare program. In 2010 the SAS Institute ranked first in Fortune’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work for.

Reported by Sunsik, Kim/kss@hani.co.kr