Best Places spotlight: Heartland Payment Systems grows autonomous, collaborative teams

IT staffers take ownership and set the technical direction for projects at the No. 84-ranked company on our 2013 Best Places to Work in IT list.

Team players love working for Princeton, N.J.-based Heartland Payment Systems, the nation's sixth largest payments processor. Heartland invests heavily in its technology, enabling IT teams to work hands-on with the latest tools. Its 400-plus IT employees, most in their 30s and early 40s, are often found working on cloud technologies, application and Web services security, and iPad-enabled CRM projects at one of the company's six locations.

IT staffers at Heartland Payment Systems
IT workers Daniel Burton, Christy Spence, Ramesh Nimmanagoti and Philip Bailey. Credit: Josh Bartley / Heartland Payment Systems.

Executives place great emphasis on developing autonomous teams. Leadership "lets teams grow and take on ownership of the work they're doing," says Alex Shull, a solutions architect, and IT pros can quickly become decision-makers on their teams. "It's almost the feel of a startup," he adds.

Shull, who works at Heartland's Jeffersonville, Ind., service center, says the complex is "very open and collaborative," and he describes the IT department vibe as "fun and relaxed."

Betsy Alegnani, a product owner in the Plano, Texas, office, works from home one day a week and travels monthly to Portland, Ore., to work with Heartland's marketing solutions group. "In the IT department, we get the training and the tool sets we need," she says.

"From senior managers on down, there's open communication," Alegnani says. "We've got a great management group who sets goals and communicates them. If we have questions, we can ask; when we have suggestions, they listen."

Next: Spotlight: No. 91-ranked Coca-Cola Enterprises encourages the exchange of ideas

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