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Profiles of the 2011 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon

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Articles - March 2011
Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Rachel Shelton (front), Jewel Miller (at right) and other employees at Ruby Receptionists strike a tree pose during a company yoga session, just one of the many perks for those who work at the 8-year-old virtual receptionist company.
When customers give positive feedback, Ruby Receptionists employees add the kudos — and their own personal designs — to company compliment books.
Stacey Thompson plucks a banjo at Ruby Receptionists. One of the things employees appreciate about working at Ruby is that they still have time for creative side projects like playing in bands or making movies.
Jill Nelson, president of Ruby Receptionists, says she and a friend chose the retro name Ruby because it harkens back to a time when friendly, personal service was the norm. // Photos by Eric Näslund
Jill Nelson herself admits it: sitting at a desk, answering phones all day long — being a receptionist — is not traditionally a fun job.

But the founder and president of RUBY RECEPTIONISTS (NO. 2 BEST MEDIUM COMPANY), a virtual answering service in Portland with more than 1,000 business clients across the nation, says that core values like “foster happiness” and “practice wowism” truly permeate her company, leading to satisfied clients and smiling employees.

“People who like making people’s days do a great job here,” says Nelson, who started Ruby in 2003 as one of its three original receptionists.

The receptionists at Ruby — there are 40 now, as well as 20 other employees — pride themselves on their mix of professionalism and good cheer. It’s a blend that helps drive the company and make it a good place to work. The average Ruby receptionist makes about $14 an hour, gets health benefits at 32 hours and, new last year, can participate in the company’s 401(k) plan.

The relatively young staff, many of whom are involved in bands or films or other creative side projects, also have opportunities to grow professionally and personally within Ruby. And three years ago when employee morale seemed to sag, Nelson zeroed in on staffing shortages as the main culprit. The company has since stayed on top of its hiring needs, which has helped drive average employee longevity up from 275 days to 521.

Nelson is also a big believer in celebrating her company’s success with those who help make it happen. For Ruby Receptionists, which doubled its revenues in 2010 to $3.9 million, it means company parties that Nelson herself calls legendary.

“I think you really want to create an environment where employees feel rewarded and treated well,” she says, “one where, if it ever did get hard for us, our staff would be right there with us.”



Gern Blenston
+1 #1 Great Photos!Gern Blenston 2011-03-12 10:23:03
Whoever this Eric Naslund guy is, his work just rocks! The one of Matt Lonsbury is just epic.
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