The top company in the medium-size category is IT firm CTS. The privately held, regional firm provides business intelligence, quality assurance, application integration, software development, portals and collaboration consulting services to a range of clients, from small businesses to large enterprises. The company’s mission “is to deliver superior solutions for its customers, careers for its employees, and growth in its communities, ” says Marketing Coordinator Jennifer Lyles.
CTS, an abbreviation for Computer Technology Solutions, was founded in 1994, and has operated out of Birmingham since 1995. The company currently has branch offices in Mobile, Atlanta, Charlotte, Chattanooga and Nashville. The Microsoft-partnered company has served more than 200 clients across multiple industries and has gold competencies in all of its major services.
“I think people are attracted to our company in part due to our steady growth, ” says CEO Larry Lilley. “We’re a growing business and have been since our inception.” As CTS expands across the Southeast, it has continued to draw new employees with a host of incentives, from generous benefits to branching advancement opportunities. “People have more than just jobs here, ” says Lilley. “They have careers, and those careers are an investment to us.”
“Employees have the opportunity to promote from analyst to consultant to senior consultant, and eventually project manager or architect, with clearly defined prerequisites along the way, ” says Lyles. Each chance for advancement requires the employee to meet new qualifications and skill sets specific to the new position. “The prerequisites are designed to keep employees learning new skills throughout their careers and provide constant goals and challenges for their professional development, ” she says.
CTS has several training programs to help employees advance in their careers, including classroom training with self-study materials and an internship program that allows rising seniors to build software. “Many leave holding job offers right after graduation, ” says Lilley. They also offer a 4-6 week boot camp that provides specialty training and job shadowing. “You can learn a lot in these programs, ” he says, “like how to conduct meetings and general business etiquette.”
“Here, people maintain a good work-to-life balance through transparency and good communication, ” says Lilley. “We can talk openly about where we excel or need to improve, and we take consideration of everyone’s wellness.” CTS uses various resources like SharePoint, Yammer, Facebook, newsletters, blogs and regular emails to keep the team well informed.
“Our executive leadership team is 100 percent available and approachable, ” says Lyles. “Even our new hires have lunch with the CEO.” In addition to their comprehensive performance review and career planning guidance, CTS holds annual small group meetings with the CEO to address corporate goals and employee questions. The company also circulates a bi-weekly email called “Wellness Wednesday” to share health tips regarding nutrition, exercise, stress management, ergonomics and more.
A comprehensive benefit package is available to all full-time, regular employees. Insurance covers dental, vision, life, plus short-term and long-term disability. Other benefits include a 401(k) plan and profit sharing program, flexible spending accounts for health and dependent care expenses, travel and certification reimbursement programs, flexible paid time off and an employee wellness program.
Employees also receive 40 service hours per year to give back to the local community. “We work in our own communities, ” says Lilley, “so it is important to give back. That’s an important part of our culture.”
“People choose CTS because of the career advancement opportunities we offer, the continuous training we provide, our dynamic and challenging project assignments, and our fun, team-oriented culture, ” says Lyles. The CTS leadership values its team, and has gone to great lengths to make all its members feel confident in their career choice. “I consider the CTS team a family, ” says Lilley. “We do all that we can to make CTS a good place to work and are grateful for the excellent people that work with us.”
Thomas Little is a freelance writer for Business Alabama. He lives in Birmingham.
Text by Thomas M. Little