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Business Observer Friday, Mar. 4, 2016 3 years ago

Quest for more

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ReliaQuest is on track for employee growth of 150% in two years. How does it plan to manage that?
by: Steven Benna Staff Writer

Brian Murphy, CEO of ReliaQuest, knows the importance of putting his people first.

As the company continues to grow — it plans to add at least 50 employees before the end of the year --¬†Murphy has his work cut out for him. “It's easy to praise people when you have 10 employees,” he says. “It's hard when you get over 100.”

Early in 2015, ReliaQuest, a cyber security company for Fortune 2000 companies, had 60 employees. The employee count currently sits just above 100 and will exceed 150 by year's end.

A payroll growing so fast presents Murphy with a litany of so-called good problems. From physical space to management to training, the challenges run deep. There's also the issue of finding time to individually get to know employees, and Murphy says maintaining company culture is his biggest challenge as CEO.

Revenues at ReliaQuest have grown significantly in that same time period. Murphy says revenues increased 115% in 2015 over 2014. This year, he is projecting year-over-year growth of 120%. He declines to provide specific dollar figures.

Adding space is one key step to accommodating that growth, Murphy says. ReliaQuest, with core offices in Tampa and Las Vegas, plus sales offices scattered throughout the country, plans to double the total size of its Vegas location. The company already expanded its Tampa location last year, but that wasn't enough, so the plan is to move into a new location by the end of this year, Murphy says.

Space aside, maintaining culture is the toughest task at ReliaQuest, Murphy says.

His plan at ReliaQuest to maintain a top culture starts with recruiting, where knowing what to look for is crucial. At ReliaQuest, attitude, energy and effort come first, Murphy says. “We look for those personality qualities,” Murphy says. “We want someone that's hungry and wants to learn. They need to be excited about being a part of this culture.”

Once a new employee is hired, the developmental process begins immediately. ReliaQuest has a 90-day training period that prepares its employees to help customers. “You can't talk about hiring without talking about training,” Murphy says. “To take care of customers, I believe the best way to do that is taking care of the people that work for you.”

To further that development, especially among those in management roles, ReliaQuest is launching a nine-month leadership academy and a program called ReliaQuest University to help further develop its staff members. With such a rapid expansion in the payroll, the management side is particularly important.

Murphy has noticed a strong trend of millennials applying for jobs right out of college, he says, but former members of the military also seek work at the firm. Hiring from the military, says Murphy, is a big part of the strategy at ReliaQuest. Moving forward, the strategy for ReliaQuest starts with increasing its marketing efforts. That includes elements such as a new logo and color scheme. “We've largely flown under the radar to this point,” Murphy says. “Marketing our brand will be a big focus in 2016.”

Employee total at the end of each year:
Employees: Percent gain:
2012: 26
2013: 38 46%
2014: 60 58%
2015: 100 67%
2016: 150* 50%
*projected

Follow Steven Benna on Twitter @steve_benna

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