Building a Strong Company Culture in Unexpected Places: The Story of Probe Information Services


When we think of companies with “rich cultures of recognition and appreciation,” it’s easy to envision the most modern of tech startups filled with millennial workers living off a wave of VC money. We visualize open floor plans, Warby Parker glasses, nap pods, a sales gong and a keg in the kitchen. It’s true that tech startups tend to go above and beyond for their employees, but at Fond we’ve learned that there are culture-rich companies in all industries and of all sizes.

One of our customers, Probe Information Services, certainly falls outside of the above stereotype. Probe is a full-service investigation firm that provides SIU, surveillance, background and field investigations, among other things, for workers compensation cases. When you hear “full-service investigation firm,” you might imagine a squad of hard-nosed detectives spending endless hours in their cars, living on coffee and feeling jubilant when they catch the objects of their surveillance on camera. You probably wouldn’t imagine a company that goes out of its way to build culture and reward performance. But you should.

Probe faces the same challenges many leading brands face: they have a highly remote workforce, with 75 employees working from home and traveling for work across 18 states, but they want employees to feel appreciated and connected to each other. We caught up with Emily Wingo-Schneider, the Director of Human Resources at Probe, to hear how she’s tackling that challenge at Probe, and we were impressed with what she had to say.

Here are 5 forward-thinking ways Emily is helping Probe employees love where they work:

  1. Managers at Probe get the ability to reward their employees with credits for ad hoc recognition. This lets them reinforce core behaviors in-the-moment—a surefire way to see employees perform at their best on an ongoing basis. (Note: Emily recently implemented Fond Rewards to help streamline this and some of her other recognition initiatives listed below.
  2. With their performance recognition initiative, employees who have delivered the highest % of film and the highest quantity of film taken while on assignment get whatever gift cards they most value.
  3. Probe recently clarified their core values and continually socialize the importance of living according to those fundamental behaviors. This is particularly important for a distributed workforce, where it’s even harder to make employees feel connected and encourage them to exhibit the same critical behaviors when they don’t see their colleagues every day.
  4. They implemented an “every other Friday off” policy for applicable units. This lets Probe employees take care of their lives outside of work, and it also tells them that Probe trusts them to achieve their goals with fewer formal work hours.
  5. They pay meticulous attention to holiday celebrations—even some of the more obscure ones. According to Emily, “For St. Patrick’s Day, we sent everyone scratchers with notes that said, ‘We’re lucky to have you!’ (pun intended). And for National Jelly Belly Day, we sent everyone jelly beans and simply said, ‘Thanks for be’an part of the team!’

So now when you hear the phrase “culture of appreciation and recognition,” consider a different image: remote investigators coming back to their offices enthused about the quality of footage they’ve gathered, hoping their work is among the best for recognition and arriving at their desks to find bags of Jelly Bellies with notes of genuine appreciation.

The bottom line: you don’t have to be hot tech startup to create a culture of appreciation and recognition. If you don’t believe us, just look at Probe.

Learn more about how Fond Rewards can help you request a demo or download our new ebook The Insider’s Guide to Employee Recognition – The Secret to Building a Super Successful Program for helpful recognition tips.

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