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The Zencos Company Culture That Will Fuel the Next 20 Years


Sarah Septoff



Over the last 20 years, I have had the privilege of watching Zencos grow and evolve in numerous ways. My father has been at Zencos for 20 years, so I watched from afar as Zencos strengthened as a Company, increased employees, and established itself in multiple new locations to accommodate.

Watching from afar and then joining the company as an employee was an easy transition for me. What I was able to observe from both seats was the strength of the company culture. But, of course, my opinion is a bit biased. So, as we enter the new year and continue to celebrate our 20-year milestone, I reached out to my co-workers to see what memories stuck with them.

There are a few big themes that stuck out when talking about Zencos

  1. Involving people’s family’s is huge
  2. Being small has its advantage
  3. Unique and creative team bonding activities are unforgettable
  4. Projects that make a difference MAKE a difference
  5. Working among good people makes the workday more enjoyable

Family > Everything

The importance of involving employees’ families is valued across the board (as it should be!) People appreciate the opportunities to get their families involved with the company and have fond memories of our annual dinners and summer events where employees and their families come together. It’s clear that the in-person events are greatly missed, but the number of virtual opportunities from happy hours to company dinners has allowed everyone the chance to stay involved in each other’s lives. 

As we grow and our families grow, it has been great to receive baby photos welcoming the newest additions of the Zencos family and celebrating numerous other life milestones. Family events have allowed the company’s newest members to introduce significant others, family members, friends, and children to their co-workers and allowed veteran employees to stay connected.  It is exciting to learn more about co-workers year over year and let their plus-ones learn a little more about us!

Small Company Perks

Being a small company seems to create a few benefits, but the number one would be the accessibility to higher leadership. We have leaders who are always accessible and create a trusting environment through open communication and transparency. When time permits, we have the opportunity to expand our professional goals through online learning, webinars, training, and or certifications. We have regular check-ins with our managers to discuss our performance and what goals we want to set for ourselves. We are pushed to meet our goals and have someone on our side as we work to achieve them. 

Another advantage is how open our teams are to help one another and learn from both veteran and new employees! After talking to some of the newest members of the Zencos team, I learned how great team collaboration and communication are within larger Zencos teams. Experienced consultants and managers can be found asking more junior consultants for their opinion or how they would go about solving a problem. Junior consultants can also be found asking the same questions of their superiors. If someone reaches out with questions or requests for help, whether across a team’s channel or an email, their questions are always met with help and advice. The willingness to jump in to help solve problems is unparalleled. 

Whether the support comes from a team member on the same project or the leadership team, it is always all hands on deck. The cross-company accessibility has also made remote work an easier transition. As a company, we have always had remote employees and I think this helped guide us into our “new normal”. Since we were used to working with people remotely, we already had some pretty great guidelines in place on how to operate. The flexibility Zencos offers has allowed former frequent flyers peace of mind and creates a comfortable work-life balance.

Impactful Team Bonding

Reaching out to people, the memories that seemed to be brought up the most were from our annual meeting team bonding activities. Our COO, Ben, puts together unique activities for the entire company to participate in every year. These have always been incredibly fun and original activities that have forced us to think creatively and act as a team. 

The fan-favorite seems to be the year we did an escape room activity. Every year the activity is a complete surprise, and it’s safe to say the escape room was the biggest surprise we had. These have been such fun activities. They have brought us closer with our co-workers and pushed us to “think differently”. We have also had the chance to work with members of the company we might not typically interact with. I think it’s safe to say these activities aren’t going anywhere, and Ben has even found creative ways to bring these activities into our more recent virtual annual meetings to make sure the tradition is alive. These have truly been unique, and some have even allowed us to give back to our community!

Meaningful Projects

Work isn’t work if you are doing something that you love. This is something I have been told time and time again from my dad. I think that shines through when people talk passionately about the projects they have been involved in. At the end of the day, providing high-quality solutions is something people feel passionate about. Likewise, working with intelligent, engaging, and smart teams keep people driven to solve the most challenging issues. Another thing I have loved to hear is people getting to bring their interests and passions from outside of work into work. I must say from a personal perspective I fangirled over the work we got to do with Ocearch for numerous reasons, but mostly it was so exciting to see people use their expertise to help a cause I had been following for the longest time. 

This year we have had a team working on a Veterans workforce portal. This is something that everyone involved is really passionate about. It’s great to see your work being utilized to better people’s lives and futures. This leads me to my next point: working with good people means everything.

Surround Yourself with Good People and Positive Energy

When you know the person next to you has all the right intentions at heart, it really can make all the difference. Working for causes you believe in and next to people you want to work with and for makes life so much more enjoyable. Better yet, working with people you like creates better friendships and relationships. Being small, you can interact with everyone in the company if you involve yourself. This also allows for such great friendships and relationships to form. Whether it’s a conversation in the break room that leads to a team trip to a hockey game or some friendly banter over the company march madness game of fantasy football league, it is clear that people are working with co-workers they don’t mind spending a few extra hours of the day with. After being at Zencos for the last four years, I know I have numerous people that I could call for a favor, help, or advice that would answer immediately. These are the kind of people you want to surround yourself with if you can.

At the end of the day, it’s clear to me that the “Zencos Way” has paved the path for the last 20 years of success and great people here. While we aren’t extremely big in size, we are big in heart, which speaks volumes. I am excited to see what the next 20 years bring.

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