Location: 920 Broadway, New York, NY
Number of employees: 136
Number of years in business: 11
What they do: Arkadium creates online, casual games for the web, Facebook, and smartphones.
Why they are great: In 2001, Jessica Rovello and Kenny Rosenblatt were dating and working at a tech company when they got into an argument about who was the best Ms. Pac-Man player. A search for somewhere they could play the game online turned up nothing. “We thought, ‘Hey, that’s potentially a great idea for a business,’” says Rovello. “A couple of months later, we started Arkadium.”
More than 10 years later, Arkadium, which creates casual games for the web, Facebook, and smartphones, has 136 employees and offices in New York City, Toronto, and Simferopol, Ukraine. For the last five years, their employee base has grown by approximately 15 percent, year over year, and in the next year, they’re planning on hiring around 17 additional employees for their New York office. And for the last five years, Arkadium has grown revenue, year over year, by approximately 30 percent. Arkadium has also recently partnered with Microsoft to provide games for all their platforms, including their upcoming operating system, Windows 8.
Rovello and Rosenblatt, now married, credit the family-friendly company culture as one of the reasons for their success. “We spend a lot of time in the office, and it’s really important to us that we like the people that we work with,” says Rovello. “I think the more you know people on a personal level, the more you understand them and the easier it is to work with them.” Part of the way they accomplish that is by allowing their employees to invite friends and family to the company-wide events, which take place about four times a year, and includes a holiday party, a beach party, and a field day and barbecue.
Rovello and Rosenblatt are also big enforcers of manageable office hours, as they don’t want their employees missing out on time with their friends and family. “Part of the reason we started the business was to do things in what we thought was a different way and a better way,” says Rovello. “It’s always been one of our core values that, more than anything, people love coming to work every day. And I think one of the best ways to achieve that is for people to feel like they’re able to have a life outside of work; that they’re not slaves to their position.” Rovello leaves the office by 6:15pm each night, and hopes that the rest of her company sees her as an example. “I find that I’m super effective in the time that I have and knowing that my time is limited makes me even more effective,” she says.
Open communication is also a large part of Arkadium’s company culture. Rovello has weekly open office hours, where any employee can come to her with questions, and every employee is given the chance to run and plan the company’s weekly Monday meeting, which also includes 10 minutes where they can speak about anything non-work-related that they want. Arkadium holds company-wide goal reviews every quarter to discuss company successes and where things need to improve. Individual assessments take place every six months. Each department has its own weekly meeting, and each manager has a weekly one-on-one meeting with his or her direct reports, just to make sure everyone stays on track. Every year, the company also conducts an anonymous survey. “With all those levels of communication,” says Rovello, “there is really not a lot of room for things to fall through the cracks.”
Michelle Court is the managing editor at The New York Enterprise Report. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.