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Top Workplaces 2022

No. 1 midsize Top Workplace 2022: Internet Testing Systems exemplifies balance and care

Trish Thomas, left, and Brodie Wise watch Mia and Max, two of the many dogs that are often seen at the office of Internet Testing Systems, one of the Top Workplaces for 2022. Portraits of some of the employees' dogs decorate the office space.

Even before the pandemic led to shifts in America’s workplaces, CEO Pat Ward of Internet Testing Systems recognized that a sound work-life balance was vital to employee satisfaction.

“We focus on creating a culture where employees enjoy their job and want to stay. A big part of this is having a great product with happy customers,” said Ward, president and CEO of the business he launched in 1997. “But it also involves focusing on employee growth and recognizing and believing that work should not interfere with personal and family time. This is especially important for a company like ITS, which has many employees with younger children.”

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Baltimore-based Internet Testing Systems was formed with the goal of providing technology and services to the computer-based testing industry, said Brodie Wise, the firm’s executive vice president of business development and marketing. ITS delivers testing programs for clients ranging from colleges/universities to global businesses.

The team has grown to 180 employees, who “build solutions that fit clients’ needs and provide a superior testing experience, both for administrators and examinees,” executives told The Baltimore Sun.

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The pandemic spurred a transition from a traditional brick-and-mortar office to a hybrid remote workplace.

“We leave it up to the employee how often they come into the office,” said Ward, noting that ITS team members are spread across the country and world. “When COVID first hit, we began a weekly staff meeting where we shared information, celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, and participated (in) ‘in spirit’ events to make work more fun. This temporary meeting became a standard part of our culture and has been one way we all get to visit with each other each week.”

The leadership has been creative with ways to gather the team safely for socializing with events like “parking lot parties.” Some activities are employee-only, but other gatherings welcome families. The firm expects to host future events with its geographically diverse workforce.

Ward believes that “happy employees means that you are doing things right and are considering everything from compensation and benefits to the actual job.”

“You need to have a vision that works at the top of the company. But the team members, especially your senior leadership, need to believe and buy into that culture,” he added. “When that happens, you get the benefit of having a lot of smart people who are focused on making things great. … We have a great team, and it is the individuals who work here that make a difference.”

A sense of being cared for and work-life balance came up in the employee survey responses for Top Workplaces:

Pat Ward, the president of Internet Testing Systems, gets ready to give a treat to Mia, one of the many dogs that come into the office with employees. Internet Testing Systems is one of the Top Workplaces for 2022.

“I am thankful to be a part of a team that genuinely cares about my success and my well-being. I also really appreciate the diversity at ITS and the inclusive environment that they’ve created,” one employee said.

Another said: “The work-life balance is a real and genuine thing here at ITS. I came from a work culture where the job had to be everything in my life, which caused major burnout for me. I am thankful for a company that actually cares about its employees and their work-life balance. I wish this for everyone. I love this company so much.”

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“We care about each other and our customers,” said a third. “It is more than a business.”


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