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Best Places to Work 2012 – Constant Innovation Helps Make Work Fun

Caryn Pang is fighting a head cold, but, despite the discomfort, she’s at work answering customer calls – and loving every minute. Pang and the two other customer-service representatives at the Hawaii Information Consortium handle up to 200 calls, emails and online chats a day from people needing information about a government service. “They have to force me to go home,” Pang says.

That says a lot about what it’s like to work for HIC. The company, with 26 employees, contracts with the state procurement office, which authorizes it to provide online access for almost 100 services from state, county and federal government that affect our daily lives. Each year, the company adds up to a dozen more services.

That means employees spend every working day thinking up new ways to make it easier and more efficient for people to get help from the government. A recent example: The company established an appointment system for people needing a state ID after filling out paperwork online. Before that, people had to stand in long lines waiting their turn.

“We’re constantly working to add services,” says HIC general manager Russell Castagnaro. “We come up with ideas and our partners in the state come up with ideas and we say, ‘Let’s go do it.’ ”

“We work really well as a team,” adds Pang. “I always feel like my bosses and my coworkers have my back if I need help. I know I can turn to them if I need support, not just for work support but personal support. People are so excited to have someone on the line who can walk them through something. And when they tell you how grateful they are, it feels really, really good.”

Employee satisfaction is also boosted by perks like company-paid gym memberships and college-course tuition, and matching payments for charitable donations. Employees take part together in sporting and charity events, hold baby or wedding showers for one another, all with the support of the management team.

“Our parent company is located in Kansas and the CEO, Harry Harrington, has established three things as the company ethic,” says Castagnaro. “1) This is the best place everyone has ever worked; 2) We’re the best partner any government has ever had; and 3) We’re giving the best returns for our investors.”

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NIC Hawaii is now doing business as Tyler Hawaii. Read about the rebrand.