TASC wins Best in Business Award: Here’s why

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“While we’ve won other awards over the years, this one is special,” was the opening remark offered by Bruce Stein during an emotional Best in Business Award presentation Monday at the company’s national headquarters in Madison. To paraphrase, the marketing executive summarized, “This one is given to us by representatives of a wide group of businesses and organizations in Dane County that understand our role here as an industry leader and contributor to the community’s greater good. That’s a very meaningful and humbling honor.”

What sets a business apart from others operating in Dane County? To win a Best in Business award, a company has to exceed at three criteria: (1) be a successful business with proven customer service satisfaction, (2) be a good employer with solid or innovative benefits and a track record of employee satisfaction (measured by employee confidence in management’s loyalty to company mission and employee development), and (3) give back to the community in which it thrives and operates.

CEO explains TASC business philosophy

If you’ve driven to the airport recently, perhaps you’ve noticed the big buildings on the left-hand side of the road at 2409 American Lane with the TASC logo sign in the entrance. What you might not know is that both buildings on the lot form the national headquarters for Total Administrative Services Corporation, which is home to about 180 Dane County employees. (The company employs more than 500 people nationwide.)

The awards presentation, videotaped onsite to share with the employees who could not attend the ceremony, was hosted by CEO Daniel Rashke, shown in this photo accepting the award from presenter Donna Gray. During his remarks, Rashke acknowledged his wife, Patti’s, role in the family business, too, and noted that the company was founded by his father, Don Rashke, in 1987 with a mission to help farmers and small businesses access and afford employment benefits. He gave the most credit, however, to the employees who embody and demonstrate the values his father established for the business early on.

The committee responsible for selecting the winners represents United Way of Dane County, the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, the Verona Chamber of Commerce, the Middleton Chamber of Commerce, Edgewood College, Heartland Credit Union, and the UW Family Business Center. Sponsors include Total Awards and Promotions, In Business magazine, and Industry Connection. The group presents the awards to the company onsite so that employees can share in the honor and celebration, since they are instrumental in the organization’s achievements, with sponsor Donna Gray having delivered every commemorative plaque for the past 35 years since the award’s inception.

During his presentation, Rashke acknowledged the company’s annual revenues of $60 million, putting it in the fifth or sixth notch in the industry because it has a presence in all 50 states, explaining that his legacy is to build on a foundation that has three guiding principals – to be a high-performance organization, to establish and reinforce a “funfessional workplace culture,” and to give back to the community – in the forms of money (through the family business foundation), time (paid time for staff who volunteer in the community), and individual and business talents.

Toward those ends, TASC practices the open-book system of management, sharing financial status and long-range planning companywide. There are many ongoing team projects, including that previously mentioned “fun factor,” when employees help plan holiday parties, corporate cookouts, and special event days. Staff in all departments also may earn additional perks such as cash, prizes, gift certificates, and free trips, and all employees are eligible for four days of paid volunteer time per year.

The company sponsors an employee “Meals on Wheels” team and is an active member of the Business Volunteer Network. Rashke also participates on United Way’s Board of Senior Citizen Initiative. This year, the company increased contributions to the UWay campaign 60%, one of the highest increases logged by the organization.

With an expanding benefits product line – FlexSystem, COBRAToday, DirectPay, etc. – customer satisfaction remains at an all-time industry high of 90% on average, according to customer survey results. But, Rashke said, the pleasure he gets from heading the business after his father turned over the reins is in knowing he has board support to continue with the volunteer programs, creating paid-time incentives to help people have first experiences with hands-on volunteer opportunities.

“It’s not just about the dollars at the end of the day here,” Rathke said. “It’s about the impact we can and do have every day. It’s about delivering what we say we will, and giving more than is expected.”

And that, my friends, is what it takes to win a Best in Business Award.

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