A steady culture in a rapidly shifting industry
The tech industry has long grappled with swift and unpredictable change. With more than 25 years' experience at World Wide Technology (WWT), Ann Marr, executive vice president of global human resources, has seen disruption take many forms— from the dot-com bubble in the 1990s to digital transformation in the 2010s to the advent of the artificial intelligence age today. Through it all, Marr says, the St. Louis–based company has always fostered a culture of collaboration and innovation and invested in its people.
"Our commitment to our people, customers, partners, culture, and core values has stood the test of time—and is as relevant today as ever before," says Marr.
Fostering a world-class, employee-centric culture is as central to the company's mission as helping its customers, which include Fortune 500 companies and government agencies, grow by connecting them to the right technology solutions for their needs. This collective mission underpins WWT's success to date, according to Jim Kavanaugh, the firm's CEO and cofounder.
Kavanaugh, recognized by Glassdoor as one of the industry's top CEOs during the pandemic, said accountability for WWT's culture starts at the top and remains with every leader throughout the organization. These leaders have helped the company hone in on supporting and empowering employees with its Integrated Management and Leadership (IML) program, health and well-being benefits, and diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives.
The IML program, Marr says, spans the entire global organization with the purpose of developing visionary leaders and maintaining a workplace that makes employees feel inspired, connected, and valued.
"We dedicate significant time and resources to train our leaders and discuss IML concepts with all employees," says Marr. "We focus on topics like building trust, displaying empathy, having difficult conversations, and coaching."
Beyond investing in the IML program, WWT maintains a flexible work environment by providing global remote work support and encouraging working in the office if employees so choose. WWT also offers competitive benefits and mental health counseling provided on-site at health clinics—and hasn't raised health care premiums in 20 years.
"You just never know what a person is going through," says Kavanaugh. "If we want employees to speak up when they have world-changing ideas, we also need to be there for them when they need help."
D&I is another element of WWT's investment in its culture and has been part of its DNA since Kavanaugh and chairman Dave Steward founded the organization in 1990, helping turn WWT into the largest Black-owned company in the U.S. Today, a dedicated D&I leadership team oversees employee resource groups, unconscious bias training, listening tours to better understand employees' views, and efforts to ensure diversity in talent recruitment and suppliers.