88 THE POWER OF POSSIBILITY NISC | 50 YEARS OF INNOVATION AND MEMBER SERVICE Just as importantly, NISC makes good on its commitment to teamwork by sharing information about its operations. At quarterly employee meetings, the leadership team talks about budgets and financial results, strategic plans and business prospects, hiring and employee initiatives. NISCtracks“Pulse”surveysoforganizationaleffectivenessandotherkey metrics and strives to perform better than the “best in class” of all employers using the survey tools. In 2017, for the first time, NISC asked employees if they would like to still be working at the company three years from now. The answer was a strong “yes” — a positive score of 4.43 on a scale of 5.0, higher than the “best-in-class” average of 4.38. Employee satisfaction in working for the organization can be seen in its low turnover rate of 3.1 percent. That parallels the findings of the Computerworld survey, which showed a turnover rate among NISC’s programming and technical staff of just 7 percent, below the overall turnover of 8.7 percent of the 100 best workplaces. Computerworld highlighted NISC’s “collaborative team environment” and “sense of camaraderie.” NISC has garnered other accolades for its workplace culture. It was named a 2017 top workplace by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the NISCMembersformadisparategroup,spanningtheUnited States and beyond, ranging from sparsely populated mountain- sides and valleys to bustling small cities to expanding suburbs. NISC designs products with their varying needs in mind, says Harry Barnes, NISC Board Chairman and a Board Director for 3 Rivers Communications Cooperative in Fairfield, Montana. “That diversity of customers helps us develop a better, more effective product line and make meaningful changes that could potentially affect all of our customer-owners,” he says. “That enables us to continue to grow because we offer a more complete package.” EMPLOYEES SCORE NISC AS ‘BEST IN CLASS’ Ping-Pong tournaments. Red Letter Day celebrations of success. All-night gaming. The folks at NISC know how to have a good time — but don’t let that fool you. That’s not why the company has been named a “Best Place to Work in IT” by Computerworld magazine for 15 of the last 16 years. Something much bigger keeps employees engaged and loyal. It is the corporate culture that revolves around shared values, the message of “servant leadership” from Vern Dosch and the leadership team and the practices that back that up. Employees share in NISC’s success, earning incentive bonuses of up to 3 percent of total wages, based upon the company’s financial performance. NISC pays 100 percent of health insurance premiums and contributes annually to Health Savings Accounts that employees can use to pay for prescriptions or other out-of-pocket costs. They also can earn up to $1,000 for referring successful new hires. With the addition of new products and new Members, NISC becomes stronger. NISC has not increased rates to Member co-ops since 2009 — while margins have grown. Over the years, NISC took advantage of opportunities to benefit Members. In 2002, a subsidiary, iGEAR, began providing products imprinted or embroidered with logos to Members and other companies, including shirts, fire- retardant gear and caps. In 2015, it became an LLC, and the following year, iGEAR became an authorized distributor of Under Armour products, adding to a stable of top manufac- turers such as Adidas and Nike.