“You work with your husband?!”
That’s the typical reaction I get when I tell people I work with my spouse. They seem so surprised, and I never understood why it was so shocking. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how different HCSS is from other companies.
The Start of Breaking the Norm
Ten years ago, my husband, Tim, referred me to HCSS. After I was hired, we kept our relationship quiet to make sure we kept it professional. During my first day, the Major Accounts Manager asked how we knew each other, and I let him think we were “just friends.” Later I was told it was cool that I was so close to “my brother.” It was within that same week when someone said, “I had no idea you guys are actually together!”
Even after our secret was out, nothing changed. Tim and I continued to act like two professionals at the office, and that’s how everyone treated us. I refer to Tim’s job title when I reference him, and we even stay in separate hotel rooms during our Users Group Meetings. It doesn’t seem out of the ordinary for us.
Recently, I noticed we now have five married couples working at the company. It dawned on me that it’s actually uncommon for most companies to let married couples work together, and sometimes it’s even considered “taboo.” Are they afraid the couple will break up? Or bring personal issues to work? Whatever the case, HCSS is obviously different. My relationship with Tim was not an issue when they hired me.
I decided to go to the source — Sophie Rydin, VP of Human Resources and wife of CEO Mike Rydin — to ask her why they decided to hire me 10 years ago despite knowing my relationship with Tim.
“When we see a good, qualified person to hire, we are willing to take the risk,” Sophie explained. “We want to break that taboo when we see talent. We want to prove that a husband and wife can work together, like Mike and I can.”
And they did prove that. Tim and I have worked well together for a decade already.
HCSS didn’t hire another employee’s spouse until eight years after I started. I asked Sophie if she was initially worried about their marital status after this long gap. She shook her head and explained that it didn’t even come to mind.
“In a professional environment, we proved that a husband and wife can work together and be productive employees,” Sophie said. “If you are a cultural fit, chances are your spouse is a cultural fit too.”
That makes sense. Tim and I are a lot alike, yet different in ways that complement each other. Tim has a strong work ethic, and so do I. We are both self-driven. When we have strong opinions, we voice them, although Tim will be more direct about it than I will. We’re both analytical, but he’s more “big picture” while I’m more detailed-oriented, which is why our opinions are impactful in business matters.
Overall, working with my husband has made us both better employees because we help each play a valuable role in the company. We truly care about each other’s success, so we put in the extra effort to ensure we exceed our potential. That’s the real value in having spouses work at the same company, and we’re lucky HCSS has given us that opportunity. With five couples at the company, we’re practically a family business, caring for each other like family so we can care for our customers.