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How Omni’s recruiters found one man the perfect IT job – twice.

#WeAreOmni Community Staffing popular

Recently, I started leading the Talent Acquisition Team at Omni and have been amazed by the hard work and dedication of our seasoned recruiters. Their role is more than filling vacancies – they focus on finding long-term candidates for positions that require a specific skill set. They are passionate about working with each candidate to make sure a match is the best possible fit for both the candidate and the client. Here’s a story that demonstrates this dedication.

Omni in Your Community

#WeAreOmni Community Culture

In 2015, I made the transition from teaching marketing to high school students to managing marketing efforts for Omni. There are days I miss the impact I made in the classroom and the connections I made. So, when the opportunity came up this past year to volunteer in my son’s second grade class as a Junior Achievement rep I said yes without hesitation.

2017 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium: Omni's Key Takeaways

#WeAreOmni Community Culture Events

If I asked you to rattle off cities that come to mind when you think of startups, I bet you may list: San Francisco, Austin, New York, LA, Boston, Denver, or some of the other major names. All those locations would make wonderful places to get your startup off the ground, but more entrepreneurs are realizing the challenges those markets produce as well: the inflated cost of living & doing business and heavy competition. 

What's Going On!? (In Tech)

#WeAreOmni Community Culture

A part of being a nerd^H^H^H^H technologist is maintaining an awareness of what is going on out there. For me that awareness takes a few different forms. Meetups, Slack/IRC, and most regularly RSS. RSS may have been declared dead by content companies back in 2013 (they couldn't monetize it) but self-publishing, blogs, and the general internet community continue to publish RSS/ATOM feeds and aggregation, making the technology a viable way to stay on top of current events in tech.

3 Tips for Building Diversity in Your Tech Team

Culture Community #WeAreOmni

It wasn't so many years ago that diversity in the tech industry was the issue many people were aware of, but few talked about. Tides are turning. Slowly, maybe. And inconsistently, yes. But people are at least talking about it. Major tech and internet companies are posting their statistics: Etsy Google Pinterest Yahoo Facebook Three Tips? We know. We aren't going to fix the issue with a blog post and three suggestions. But we strive for continuous improvement with our own diversity. We write for ourselves as much as we do for you.

Empowering Girls to Consider Coding

Events Culture Community #WeAreOmni

I recently attended the Smart Girls Rock event hosted by Miller Electric and the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce, as a mentor to 100 high school freshman and sophomore girls from the area. This event was an opportunity for these girls to learn about STEM careers, emphasizing that careers in these fields aren’t just for men. The first half of my day was spent meeting with the girls and answering any questions they had about what I do, how I chose my career and what challenges I’ve encountered. Some of them had an idea what type of work they wanted to do and others were just gathering information to help them make their choices. While I personally didn’t speak to every girl, the careers I heard mentioned the most were medical/nursing or teaching. No one told me they were looking at IT, but I was able to explain to them that computers are likely going to be a part of any career they choose, so any knowledge in the IT area would be beneficial. When asked if they had considered a career in IT, many girls thought coding would be “difficult.” I heard the words “I don’t think I could do that” from multiple girls. My goal was to convince them that coding really is not out of their reach. The second half of my day was spent providing three separate groups of 10-15 girls the opportunity to do a hands-on activity related to IT. I demonstrated how to maneuver a Sphero robotic ball through a maze using just four lines of code from an app on a Bluetooth connected iPad. I also demonstrated how one could similarly write lines of code to direct the actions of an Ozobot. I then challenged them to write their own program to take an Ozobot through a pre-drawn maze that included segments where they could insert their own instructions, formulated from a cheat sheet, using red, blue, green and black markers. It was exciting to watch, as at first they weren’t quite sure what they were doing and then, just like that, it clicked. They started testing their code with the bots and making changes to their original codes. Some even added bowling pins to their completed mazes to see if their code would direct the Ozobot in a way that would take down all of the pins. It was exciting to watch them experiment with the different codes to see what they could get their bots to do. I handed out multiple copies of the maze, but also saw them flipping the paper over and drawing their own paths. I lost track of how many times I heard the phrase “These things are so cool!” As each group was wrapping up their time with the Ozobots, I was asked numerous time “Where can I get one of these things?” I do believe that I was able to prove to them that writing code is not out of their reach and that it can be fun. As I reflect back on what things were like when I was at the same point in my life as these girls are now in theirs, I can honestly say that I never really considered gender when I chose my career nor did I ever think I couldn’t do something just because “I was a girl.” You could say that with my career as an IT professional and my husband’s career as a flight nurse, we both stepped outside of what society considers “the norm.”

Ozobots, IT and 3,700 Eight Graders...Omni Style

Events Culture #WeAreOmni Community

“Hey Keegan…want to get out of the office for the day and staff our booth at the Greater Green Bay 8th Grade Career Expo?” Seems like a no-brainer, right? Of course I do was my answer! But, boy oh boy, did I forget what it was like to interact with students all day long. Don’t get me wrong. I had a ton of fun talking to 3,700 students about career opportunities in the technology field. Although, being a former teacher, I should have remembered what it was like to be on your feet most of the day and answering similar questions over and over. It was exhausting! But, it was also very fun and I left feeling like I helped expose some kids to our industry as a potential for a career in the future. With over 60 exhibitors participating in this year’s event at the KI Convention Center, it was obvious that many organizations in our community really do truly care about the future and investing in our children. It was really entertaining to see the level of engagement at each exhibitor’s booth too. There were real live calves in the agriculture area, the fire department had real gear for students to try on, and many companies gamified their booths to make things more appealing to the demographic they were serving. We used the kid favorite, Ozobots, to give students a quick glimpse into what coding can be like. We have developed a one-pager that gives the students the different command lines they can draw to make the Ozobot do certain things, like go fast or do a tornado. Kids tend to have a ton of fun in a real-brief period of time…which is all we had. In about 15 minutes we attempt to get them to “write their line of code,” test it, and then place it on the master code. We then answer questions they have about careers in the field of technology and try to apply some of the principles they learned with the ozobot to what they may be doing if they were programming. Why do we do it? If you work in the IT industry, you are well aware there is a shortage of qualified talent in the field. We have to figure out more ways to expose kids to this industry than what has always been done and this is one way to do just that. It also feels like something we should do. We choose to have our company locations in various parts of the state and we do what we can to give back in those areas as a party of our civic duty. And honestly…we have a blast doing it. If you take a look at the photos from the event, you can see we were all smiles all day long. The event is titled, “Find Your Inspiration” and we hope we were able to help do that. And thanks to the organizers, other businesses, teachers and students for leaving us feeling inspired as well.

Omni Takes on Employee Ownership Month

Events Culture Community #WeAreOmni Employee Ownership

For over 20 years, employee-owned companies have been encouraged by the ESOP Association to celebrate this unique trait during the month of October, which has been designated as Employee Ownership Month. Omni has done just that since it went from being privately held by one owner to now being owned by its more than 100 employees. Omni became an employee-owned company in 2009 and the employee owners have been fortunate to see individual benefits in the increase of their stock prices over the years. But being an employee-owned company is more than just having a financial share in the company. I personally feel like I have more of a voice in my company, because I truly am an owner. One area where I have had the most fun with my role as an owner is in the planning of Employee Ownership Month activities. I helped plan and coordinate the many activities last year and am excited about the plans we have in store for this upcoming October. We developed a calendar of events to share with all of our owners and just about every day during the month of October, we have something going on as part of our efforts for Employee Ownership Month. I would like to highlight several of them below that I find especially fitting for the month. Techies Day – Did you know it is National Techies Day on Monday, October 3rd? How fitting is it that this day falls in the month of October for a technology consulting company that is employee owned? It’s an easy way to recognize our team that day. Cell Phones for Soldiers Drive – At Omni, we typically have a charitable or civic cause we try to tie into some activity during the month. Each branch is asked to make a difference during Employee Ownership Month this year by bringing in old cell phones, smart phones, or tablets to be donated to the Cell Phones for Soldiers Organization. Donated phones are sold and that money is used to purchase calling cards that soldiers can use to make phone calls home. We figured it was time to try something related more closely to the tech world for our give back. If you want to stop by our branches in Appleton, Madison or Milwaukee and drop one off as well, you are more than welcome to. Running Man Photo Contest - Our branding has one image that has been labeled by many members of our team as the “running man.” We plan to have some fun with that element! We are encouraging employee owners to submit their best “Running Man” photos that feature them. They have free reign on creativity and they are allowed to use any graphics programs they wish to. Look for these photos on our Facebook page the week of October 24th and vote for your favorite entry by “liking” it. The employee with the most likes will receive a $100 Amazon gift card for their efforts! ESOP 5 Question Quiz – Each Monday, employees will receive an e-mail with 5 questions related to ESOPs, financial terms, Omni, etc. The employee owner with the most correct answers at the end of the month will be awarded an Omni branded item of clothing. This is a fun way to engage the owners in some ESOP and Omni education. Alien Recon Game – Members of our development team created a game for That Conference this past summer called Alien Recon. It is a photo scavenger hunt web app that can be played with a mobile device. It was a huge hit and we are doing our second go round with our employee owners because they also got a kick out of it. Look for a future blog on Alien Recon with a little more detail! ESOP 101 – While we typically give an ESOP 101 presentation to all new employee owners when they start, we try to have an offering at least once a year with our Chief Financial Officer that is open to all employee owners. After all, the longer you are part of the ESOP, the more invested you become, which typically means the more questions you have. It’s natural. This presentation is an easy way for us to educate our team. Halloween Costume Contest – With Employee Ownership Month being in October, it only makes sense to include a costume contest component to our list of events. Employees are encouraged to dress in costume or Halloween spirit on the 31st and also submit photos of themselves in costume. We award our most creative individuals with gift certificates. This is a small list of events. Our calendar also includes six different lunch and learns led by employee owners, presentations and attendance at business and community events throughout Wisconsin by our owners, a blood drive, a LAN party, and health risk assessment coaching. There is no doubt that our employee owners will find themselves involved in something at Omni during October. What are you doing for Employee Ownership Month? We are always looking to change up the plans year to year and welcome new ideas.

Aspiring Software Developers: Common Questions

Community #WeAreOmni

Are you interested or thinking about becoming a software developer? Maybe you are already doing some development and just want to know the right path forward. Here are a few of the questions I hear all of the time: