Hyland brings Silicon Valley vibe to Clemens Road

Congressman Jim Renacci, left, and Hyland Software executive Ed McQuiston walk between buildings on Hyland’s Westlake campus during an April 21 tour. Photo by Denny Wendell

Around here we know it as Hyland Software, but globally the Westlake-based technology firm has made a name for itself with its enterprise application, OnBase. To solidify its identity worldwide, the company recently adjusted its marketing approach with new branding. Signage around the campus on Clemens Road has been changed to “Hyland creator of OnBase” and the international brand name of “OnBase by Hyland” was introduced to represent the evolution of the company from its founding more than 20 years ago.

“When we started talking about how our brand would continue to evolve, OnBase took center stage,” Bill Priemer, president and CEO, said in the company’s corporate blog. “Hyland serves as the creator and innovator of OnBase, but OnBase is the star.”

OnBase has more than 12,700 lifetime customers across the globe, a number prominently displayed on a large scoreboard inside Hyland’s headquarters. Every Monday during a company-wide staff meeting, the board is updated with new customers acquired during the previous week.

In celebration of the company’s new direction, Hyland welcomed Congressman Jim Renacci, State Representative Nan Baker, Mayor Dennis Clough and leaders of the West Shore Chamber of Commerce for a tour of its campus April 21.

The Observer was invited to join the group on their afternoon visit with Hyland executives.

The highlight of the tour was a walkthrough of the company’s newest addition – the fully renovated former Five Seasons building in the southeast corner of the Hyland campus. Once inside, the 167,000-square-foot building is almost unrecognizable as a former fitness facility – although one visitor joked he could still smell chlorine from the swimming pool, which has been filled in and turned into a conference room.

A second level was added to the indoor tennis courts, creating two enormous workspaces filled with rows of desks for Hyland’s development, quality assurance and technical support staff. Rep. Nan Baker inquired about a common workplace sight conspicuously absent from the room: tall partition walls separating the cubicles. The open floor plan is very much by design, said Ed McQuiston, vice president of global sales and the leader of the tour.

"We consider it critical to the culture of the company,” McQuiston explained. “You’ll notice you don’t see any of the high cubes anywhere. It is meant to be a collaborative environment in every department of the company. … Our environment is meant for sharing.”

That open environment extends throughout the three buildings that make up Hyland’s campus. Offices and meeting rooms are walled in glass to promote an open-door policy among customers, employees and executives. A comfortable, relaxed atmosphere is part of the culture – including the dress code.

“I always joke, if you’re wearing a belt at Hyland Software, you’re dressed up,” McQuiston said, adding that he and the other executives leading the tour wore suits for the occasion. “It all comes back to people feeling comfortable, being excited. The last thing they need to be told is you need to wear khakis and a polo in order to develop software.”

There is an energetic feel in the air as employees – most in their 20s and 30s – mill about, going to and from the two diner-style cafeterias, blowing off steam with a game of badminton or pinball, or enjoying a manicure or massage. A number of amenities are available at a reasonable cost, allowing employees to balance life and work more easily.

“It’s a fast-paced environment. When you grow at the rate we’ve grown over the years, people work hard, so being able to access things [on campus] like day care, having their dry cleaning picked up and dropped off, being able to see a nurse practitioner … it allows employees a little flexibility,” McQuiston said.

“We’ve found that if you treat your employees well, then those employees treat your customers well,” added Drew Chapin, vice president of marketing. “And customer service is one of the foundations this company was built on.”

A workplace culture that may have been dismissed as a distraction in the not-too-distant past is now commonplace among Hyland’s competitors in Silicon Valley. Hyland can hold its own in attracting talented developers from across the country, but still remains true to its hometown roots.

Recently named one of Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For, Hyland recruits heavily from area colleges and brings all of its new hires to Westlake for four weeks of training. Nearly 80 percent of its 1600-plus employees work from the Clemens Road campus, with the rest working in smaller offices in the faraway locales of Tokyo, London and Sao Paulo.

The company and its owners have earned an honorable reputation around town for supporting local causes and giving back to our community through employee volunteering initiatives and corporate giving programs.

Hyland may be a $280 million-a-year software giant but, as Chapin said: “The heart and soul of the company will always be here in Westlake.”

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Volume 6, Issue 9, Posted 9:39 AM, 04.29.2014