HB Communications HQ Overhaul Benefits Customers, Employees

Published: December 14, 2017

If you own or run a systems integration firm, ask the employees in your accounting department—or even in the sales department—if they know exactly what your company does. You might be surprised by the answers you get, but you probably shouldn’t be.

While that’s not the only reason HB Communications overhauled its North Haven, Conn., headquarters with a mammoth video wall at the center of a lounge that could change the way its employees work and myriad other upgrades we’ll share with you soon, CEO Dana Barron says that was part of the reason. [related]

“We have an opportunity to re-energize our organization,” Barron told CI editor-in-chief Tom LeBlanc and me during a visit to the new HQ this week. “Instead of just selling technology, we can help them understand it.

“[By building a video wall in our headquarters], it immerses our own employees in what we do. Many of our employees don’t know why big companies build spaces like this. It’s about creating a comfortable environment and increasing productivity,” Barron says.

I wrote earlier this year about a half-dozen integrators who immersed themselves in the technology they sell and the difference it’s made in helping clients understand what they’ll be getting if they hire that integration firm to do their installation.

During a similar office visit to Red Thread’s Boston Seaport headquarters last year, Tom and I saw how employees there adjusted the way they work from being only in cubicles to a variety of meeting spaces and huddle rooms.

The office has become a selling point for Red Thread customers and helps them see “what’s possible” for them with some new technology and updated furniture.

HB Communications

That’s another area where Barron sees a benefit for HB Communications employees to taking what was expected to be a simple renovation and turning it into a building-wide transformation.

But I’d never really given much thought to the idea that many of the employees at integration firms probably don’t have a complete understanding of exactly what the company from which they draw a paycheck does. I’m sure many will criticize that assertion, but I think it’s truer than you might expect.

Think about it: you don’t have to know much about technology to a client and tell them they owe you money. Really, you don’t need to know that much about technology to sell a client a solution that helps them upgrade their conference rooms, either.

By investing in themselves, HB Communications is helping its employees better understand the industry in which they work — that’s a great thing, and something more integrators should consider.

I’ve written a lot about how and why young people aren’t gravitating toward AV, and in many cases don’t even know what it is.

Maybe more companies should follow the lead of those who realize they need to create environments and experiences—to borrow a term—their employees enjoy to make their companies more attractive for young people.

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