A Culture of Trust

By: Jennifer Bogdanski

December of 2023 marked 11 years since I came to work at Finys. I started out in quality assurance (QA) and then moved pretty quickly into what we call a client partner role. I’ve been working closely with clients for almost 10 years. I currently maintain systems that have already been built or are adding large projects. That could entail starting from pre-implementation, putting them in live production, then working with them post-implementation.

I find the work very fulfilling. I pride myself in always trying to do what’s best for our clients and for our company, finding a mutually beneficial path. It might not be what either party wants out the gate, but we come to agreement on the best approach. I find that very rewarding when I can get to that spot because sometimes it’s a little challenging. That’s the value of communication. And communication is very important here, with our clients and within our teams.

At Finys, we’re given the authority to go along with our responsibility. That’s how we learn. We make mistakes and we grow. We move forward and do better. Being able to communicate to our peers that one way might be better than another way is part of that. Doing that respectfully can be challenging, too. But it’s very important to make sure everyone’s on the same page to work effectively as a team.

There’s also a distinct difference between management and leadership here. Management roles are specific assignments. But we’re all encouraged to be leaders, to contribute to the best of our abilities across team lines and given opportunities to support others and develop. It’s up to me to take that opportunity just like anybody else, but I do for sure.

I started my career at Enterprise Rent-A-Car in a management position. I enjoyed some aspects of that job, but there were things I just didn’t see myself going much farther in. I have a longtime family friend who also works at Finys, and she knew I was looking for a job. She knew I had no technical or insurance experience. But she knew my management experience and thought I might be a good fit.

I got an interview, got hired, and found so many people here willing to help kind of grow you up if you’re willing to take the help. As I learned the basics of insurance working as a QA tester, I got a better understanding of what insurers typically look for and what they do with our product. And from there, I grew into my present responsibility as a Client Partner.

The real difference between Finys and other companies is its culture. Beyond making sure you have the training you need, the people here give you the freedom to look into other aspects of the business that may not be directly assigned to you, to grow. I have worked with a lot of great people in my career at Finys. And people I don’t work directly with are always willing to help, and to check and see how I’m doing, see if I need a hand with something. Overall, it’s just a great community of people to work with. It’s a growing company that manages to retain its small company feel and working environment.

That cultural difference was evident in my interviews. It was much less regimented than I expected it to be. There was no script or list of questions. It was more of an open discussion in which the people who interviewed me let me talk, and they really listened. It was much more relaxed, in a very positive way.

Encouragement by Design

By: Shweta Porwal

I was pursuing my master’s degree in computer science when I came to work at Finys as an intern in September of 2018. The next year I got my degree, and I was offered a full-time position as a software developer with the claims team.

When I began my internship at Finys, I just wanted to step into the job market and didn’t know about my long-term goals. But every year or so, it feels as if I’m starting something new. I’ve been given new opportunities, and as the company’s grown, I’ve been able to venture into new projects and responsibilities. It’s never been boring. As examples, I’ve been offered roles in Data Analysis, Product development, and Integrations. One of the main benefits of working here is that we’re always given chances to try new things and to see where we fit best.

Finys is also very transparent about its direction and the new opportunities that will come up. In our company meetings and team meetings, we’re told things like, “There will be a lot of opportunities to grow in this area,” or, “We’re taking steps to move into this new technology.” Being involved, being a part of those conversations, and getting to know that information makes you feel respected.

Even as an intern, if I pointed out something that needed doing, fixing, or improving, they’d say, “Find a solution, present it, and we’ll consider it.” We’re always encouraged. And if you come here as a newbie, you won’t be benched for months of training. Rather, people will consider you as a part of the team and include you in the planning from get go. They’ll encourage you. You’ll be able to get your hands dirty, so to speak. You’ll be able to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. It’s an amazing place to be.

Here, you have mentors looking at what you’re doing, and being aware of anything that affects our clients. But your suggestions will be considered and tested. And you’ll have the opportunity to refine it. You don’t have to be nervous.

Some people may think of the insurance industry as boring. But if you consider the user’s experience with our software, our job is really about problem-solving. We’ve worked with customers who have legacy systems, and they’re frustrated. We give them new features and capabilities. We give them new ways of doing the work they’ve been doing. That makes it interesting for them and rewarding for us.

So, we’re always encouraged to listen to our customers, to pay attention to their emails, and to catch smaller things that will make a difference for them day to day, even if they don’t realize it or haven’t asked for it. That’s the kind of mindset we’re encouraged to have. Anything we can do to make our product better and the lives of our customers better will be supported.

That’s why I’ve been happy and fulfilled here since 2018.

Unearthing My Value

By: David Hilber

I’ve always been an insatiable learner, but the rigidity of learning in a school setting was difficult for me. After finishing high school, getting married, and starting a family, I knew being a bank manager wasn’t going to be enough to satisfy my creative and intellectual desires. So I did what I do best: I took up a somewhat unconventional hobby. I decided I was going to learn how to write software.

How It Began

As most hobbies begin, I was a self-admitted neophyte. I read as much as I could, and I practiced the information I gathered to gradually improve my skills. I started off writing macros and VBA scripts using Microsoft Excel. And then as luck would have it, a friend of mine gave me my first copy of Visual Studio 2005. I’m pretty sure I stopped sleeping after that. I began spending every waking moment designing, redesigning, and making small applications. I made applications for my wife to use for her work. I made applications for my father-in-law. At that point, I knew I found my passion. And I knew I had to find a way to use my knowledge and experience.

So, I did what most folks do in the age of information: I created a resumé and put it out there, hoping to find a career in this newfound passion of mine. And as luck would have it, my resume was found and I was brought in for an interview.

The Rest is History

As nervous as I was to have my first interview as a Software Developer without a formal education, I knew this was my chance. I confidently walked into the office and showed off what I had built. And from that moment on, my career took off.

I have to admit, it was difficult at first. I was previously leveraging VB.NET with Access databases. And at Finys, our primary language is C# with Microsoft SQL Server databases. There was a plethora of new knowledge I had to obtain. At first, I felt like I was drowning. And then, I met my co-workers. Everybody at Finys was welcoming, kind, and supportive. It was more like a mentorship than what I had expected. I expected to be thrown into the water to see if I was going to sink or swim. But because the environment was so welcoming, because everyone was so generous with their time and the things they’ve learned, I simply springboarded and accelerated even faster than I ever imagined.

I wanted to make sure Finys knew how serious I was. I wanted to make sure they knew they made the right choice by giving me a chance. After about three months of being mentored, I was put on my first project. I remember spending so much time reading the ISO manual for Commercial Auto. I presented my ideas to the team and was given the opportunity to work with the development team to build and implement my design. That project certainly seemed to separate me from the herd.

The Diamond in the Rough

Fast forward ten years, and I’m sure they would agree taking a chance on hiring me was worth it. While I still run technical projects and develop software, I’m also responsible for some of the hiring procedures at Finys. And I’m grateful for the opportunity because I get to look for individuals that share my passion and perhaps not the typical path of formal education followed by career. I try to watch out for those individuals who have the drive, a unique way of thinking, and for some, the ability to claw their way into a field like software development.

If I can find developers to add to the organization who have a similar mindset to my own, Finys will be a better company for the perspectives they’ll bring.

Family First

I’d also like to share the family-oriented perspective that Finys brought into my life. When I was working at the bank, my first child was born. He was born on a Saturday, and I was back to work the following Monday. At that point in my life, I figured that was just the way life was. But when I had my second child and I was an employee at Finys, I was given time off to bond with and care for my child. That experience was invaluable, and I’m grateful to work for a company that saw the value in my absence for the purpose of my family life. I may not be the poster child for the optimal work/life balance. I get passionate about my projects. But with a family-oriented employer like Finys, they see the value in supporting me to be equally as passionate about my wife and children.

We’re looking to add team members who fit into our culture. We’re looking to add team members who want to succeed. And I’d say we’re looking to add team members who not only add value to Finys, but want to find their personal value and true potential. It’s more than a job. And I’m grateful to be a part of this organization.

Leaders by Design

By: Zoran Topalovic

Since we’re a software company, we’re most often looking for software developers or software engineers. But regardless of position or title, we’re looking for leaders. Since we don’t expect all the applicants to be natural born leaders, we empower our hires to be strong, competent, outspoken, and compassionate. After all, those are the skills all leaders need to be successful.

How Do We Do It?


We bring everyone up to speed as fast as possible, understanding individuals have different abilities or ways of learning. We teach people what our technologies are, assess their knowledge gaps, educate them on our product and the insurance industry, and help them feel comfortable. That enables them to jump in and feel good about their progress, rather than being on the job for three or four months before they feel like they’re contributing.

We do that because we don’t function with a typical hierarchy of middle-managers. Rather, we prefer to develop leaders — project leads, team leads, and others — because leaders aspire to make others around them better. As one of our people has said, “The ceiling at Finys is a ceiling you make for yourself.”

If you come with the intent to have a career at Finys, you can contribute to the best of your abilities and take on any responsibilities that are up for grabs. We’ll support you and guide you all the way. You can also expect to have a significant tenure.

Why Do Our People Stay?


I’ve been at Finys for 15 years. I started off as a junior developer. Within two years, I was leading a project team for one of our insurance companies. There were seven people on the team, and I was constantly creating backups for myself on the team. I may have been doing too good a job because my people were continuously promoted to leads on other projects.  I took that as a pat on the back because I developed those people to the level at which they could take on additional responsibilities, grow their own careers here, and continue to develop other people.

Around forty-five percent of the people who work here have been here for eight years or more. Some of whom have been here for more than 20 years or are approaching their 20th year. Our people stay because of the unique leadership opportunities and career paths we offer. Our people stay because they realize that’s what they want.

Our people also stay because our pay structure is based on performance. We start our hires at competitive salaries. Then their salaries increases and bonuses are determined by performance in a given position. If they perform above expectations for a particular role, taking on responsibilities, growing, and becoming a project or team lead, their compensation is an outcome of that performance.

As Our Leaders Grow, We Grow


We encourage our employees to share their ideas. If they find ways to improve something or to do something better, we want to hear about it. And if they are feeling underutilized, we want to hear that, too. We’ll work with them to find a spot where they contribute more. We encourage people to be honest with us. We want to learn from them. We won’t be able to grow successfully without listening to the people who are doing the work.

We think our approach is fair to everyone in the organization. When I was hired, there were 15 of us. Since then, the company’s grown to more than 100. But our approach to people has remained the same. It works for us. It works for them. And we have no desire or need to change it.

After all, designing software isn’t the only thing we’ve been good at. It’s also designing our leadership. And we wouldn’t be half the company we are today without our leaders.

To Us, HR Means Healthy Relationships


By: Kurt Diederich

The good news is we’re in the New Year. The bad news is we still have some of the challenges we had in the old year. More specifically, we have to determine whether return to office (RTO), work from home (WFH) or a hybrid model work best for our companies and for our people.

While we weren’t deliberately trying to create a new abbreviation, we were deliberately trying to create a model that varies slightly from those models and that entails the best of both and then some: We decided to call our model work from office (WFO). To us, that means we have to take care of the people who take care of our customers and our business.

Two-Way Streets

To earn the right to work here, our people have to be committed and conscientious. To earn the right have them here, we have to make sure:

  1. Total compensation is meaningful and competitive: The combination of salary and benefits has to attract the talent we want.
  2. Recognition and rewards are consistent: Performance-based reviews, rewards, and promotions have to be suitable to retain the talent we want.
  3. Policies and procedures are clear, current, and accessible: We can’t expect people do know what to do, what to expect, what’s acceptable, and what’s not if we don’t tell them.
  4. Career opportunities are clear and available: In addition to letting people know what’s expected of them, we have to let them know what’s possible for them. And we have to be engage in those conversations with them.
  5. They know their feedback is welcome. Employee feedback: We can’t know what our people want and need — and we can’t know what contributions they’re capable of making — if we don’t converse with them. “We’re only as good as our people” is so much more than a cliché. It has to be.
  6. We provide the necessary flexibility: Open-ended flex time isn’t manageable or constructive. But we give our people the time they need for family commitments, necessary appointments, vacations, and PTO. Those aren’t gifts. They’re signs of respect and appreciation for what our people do every day.

That’s Healthy

We’re successful. We’re growing. And we’re committed to making Finys a place in which people feel comfortable, fulfilled, recognized, and rewarded. Since those things are true, we believe WFO is fair and favorable for all of us. And we believe it creates healthy relationships.

Trust as an Element of the Sales Process

By: Scott Hinz

I’m a sales guy. I’ve sold for other companies. What makes Finys different is that we don’t treat our sales prospects the way other companies might treat their sales prospects. We treat them as peers who have a need and whose trust and respect we have to earn.

We earn that trust and respect, in part, by offering what we call Project Risk-Elimination Planning (PREP). There are eight steps to PREP, each equally important:

1.    We schedule a comprehensive visit to our prospects’ locations. There’s nothing like handshakes and eye contact to plant the seeds of trust.

2.    We get to know their people, their organizations, and their operating styles. Just as important, they get to know us.

3.    We review their systems, the functionality of those systems, their lines of business, and the states in which they write that business.

4.    We demonstrate Design Studio, our configuration toolkit, including its capabilities and its workflows.

5.    We list and validate all the systems and sources with which the Finys Suite will need to integrate.

6.    We share our implementation methodology, step by step.

7.    We discuss the roles, the responsibilities, and resources that will be required to make the implementation successful.

8.    We thoroughly review the project management and data migration plans.

A is For Accountability

One other way we earn trust and respect is by being accountable. If we commit to doing something, we do it. If that something is complicated and time-consuming, we’ll say so. We won’t sugarcoat or mislead. We’ll tell you what you need to hear, even if it’s not what you want to hear. We’ll finish everything we start. And we’ll work as hard as we can to meet and to exceed your reasonable expectations.

Why doesn’t every company work the way we do? We don’t know. But we do know what works for us and for our customers. And we’ve been succeeding with what works for us and for our customers since 2001.

That’s a pretty nice track record if we do say so ourselves.