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Employee-centric Mint Mobile in Costa Mesa given accolades for workplace culture

Stacy Morris, director of employee sxperience holds a Mint Mobile SIM kit inside the supply chain center in Costa Mesa.
Stacy Morris, director of employee experience, holds a Mint Mobile SIM kit inside the company’s supply chain center in Costa Mesa.
(Susan Hoffman)

Not only was Mint Mobile named the fastest growing company in America, it was also listed among the best places to work by Orange County Business Journal in 2021.

Headquartered in Costa Mesa, the budget-friendly wireless company with an ownership stake purchased by actor Ryan Reynolds, has become a hyper growth brand. The second brand subsidiary of Ultra Mobile, Mint Mobile has grown even faster than Ultra, which in 2015 was the fastest growing company in America, according to Inc. Magazine.

Mint Mobile LLC started operating as a separate company in October 2019 as an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator), a reseller of wireless communication services, in this case on T-Mobile’s network.

”What makes us special as a rapid growing business is our five-year growth rate of 90,000%,” said Aron North, chief marketing officer for the company. “When you’re in an environment built around hyper growth you behave and act differently, specifically around employees.”

In order to grow, a business can’t have a high turnover of employees, North points out. The Southern California location makes Mint Mobile a destination employer and the firm looks after the well-being of its employees by providing attractive benefits.

Aron North catches up on emails in the work space in a restored fire truck parked on the site of the Mint Mobile office.
Aron North catches up on emails in the customized work space in the restored fire truck parked on the site of the 36,000 square foot office in Costa Mesa.
(Susan Hoffman)

“As an employee-centric company we did not terminate or furlough a single employee during COVID,” said North. “We looked for creative ways to keep everyone happily employed.”

Among the creative perks is an executive chef who had been accustomed to preparing lunch for 200 employees daily. But when the pandemic hit, they went from 200 plus employees in the building to 20-25 working onsite in customer care and product fulfillment while others worked remotely.

Chief executive David Glickman came up with an idea that allowed chef Amy Schwan to continue doing her meal prep work: curbside meals were offered for pickup by employees who were working off site.

“We sent care packages to employees working from home,” said North. “We bought hand sanitizer in 55 gal. drums from a chemical supplier and pumped it out in individual size containers to distribute along with mailing toilet paper and masks. And any employee could check out office equipment and set up at home rather than buy it.”

Chef Amy Schwan prepares a charcuterie board in the Mint Mobile kitchen as assistant, J. Valerione looks on.
(Susan Hoffman)

The incentives seem endless. North said the company does not specify a maximum number of vacation days an employee can take off per year.

“It’s unlimited, not unreasonable,” he said. The firm’s vacation policy is based on taking the time needed to rest and recover.

Mental wellness is connected to a reimbursement program. When an employee spends $100 on something that gives them mental wellness, for example a massage, gym membership, a dog or dance classes, they are compensated.

“It gets people more in balance in their lives,” said North. “We really want employees to use it.”

Part of that balance is creating a more diverse workplace that encourages innovation in the way of giving employees the right to choose where they want to work. When employees were asked their preferences, some wanted to return to the office at least some of the time, if not full time, while others were happier working remotely, according to North.

“Those who work four to five days a week can have designated permanent office space,” he said. Those who choose not to come in, including executives, give up an office for a temporary workspace, he explained.

Jo Anna Carmean, lead of data enablement for the company, said she was happy to return to the sense of energy her workspace provided.

“I enjoy being at work with my team and to be able to collaborate with everyone in the office,” said Carmean, who uses the treadmill during lunchtime. “I also came back for ‘Bagel Mondays.’”

Mint’s 36,000 square feet of open concept office space includes some casual meeting spaces, according to North, ranging from a 1930s vintage fire truck to a fully decked out Airstream trailer that’s great for team collaborations. The space also includes a full gym with Peloton bikes, video game lounge, ping-pong tables, cruiser bicycles and a “Fox Den,” giving a nod to their mascot.

An Airstream is decked out to accommodate a not so serious meeting place inside the Mint Mobile office in Costa Mesa.
An Airstream trailer is decked out to accommodate a not so serious meeting place inside the Mint Mobile office in Costa Mesa.
(Susan Hoffman)

Other perks include an on-site car wash, EV charging stations and access to a massage therapist. Dogs are welcome to join the work environment.

“I’m fortunate to be part of the fabric of this growing company,” said Stacy Morris, Mint’s director of employee experience since May 2019. “Collaboration and ownership is part of our cultural DNA and it’s what I value most here…and I love the dogs.”

As for working with Ryan and his team….it’s a dream, according to North. “They are very involved, strategic thinkers that have a gift for reading culture.”

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