Liberty Tax Service Franchise - Top overall honoree


Aug 14, 2009

It’s clear when you walk into the Liberty Tax Service headquarters in   Virginia Beach   that the company and its employees know how to have a good time.

What else would you expect   from a company whose franchises have a position just for dressing up as Lady   Liberty and waving to cars?

In fact fun is part of the   company’s mission statement to its employees to “set the standard, improve each   day and have some fun!”

This atmosphere can be   found in the dress code at Liberty Tax, which is always business casual. One can   find employees in T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops on any day. A few people even   dress up in the Lady Liberty costume to get some laughs. Others can be found   practicing their mini golf putting skills next to cubicles for an upcoming   team-building outing.

A putting match recently   took place outside the office of Elizabeth Failmezger, director of human   resources. She has been with the company for seven years and has enjoyed the   last year in human resources.

“You get to meet everyone   who comes in,” she said.

The number-one thing   attracting people to the company right now, Failmezger said, is its expansion. A   second building is under construction next to the company’s office on   Corporate Landing   Parkway in Virginia Beach.

“We have a lot of people   calling us, reading articles about our growth,” Failmezger said.

The other attraction is the   company culture.

“People love the lax dress   code, the friendliness, the competition in fundraising and the team-building off   site,” she said. “My favorite benefit is ‘monitor to results not   activities.’”

The saying comes from the   company’s culture of trusting employees to get their jobs done rather than   monitoring the times they arrive and depart from the office every day. Employees   can leave an hour early to pick up a child from school or come in late after   dealing with a home repair, and it won’t count against their paid time-off. The   goal is results.

Martha O’Gorman is the   company’s chief marketing officer and one of the original founding employees who   worked with CEO John Hewitt at Jackson Hewitt.

“I love coming to work   every day,” O’Gorman said. “I am able to come to work and never have a bad   moment, especially during tax season.”

As with most accounting and   tax firms, the bulk of the company’s business is crammed between January and   April. Stress runs high, but the company tries to offer opportunities for   employees to burn off steam, from chili cook-offs to employee video competitions   to breakfasts during tax season.

O’Gorman said she believes   the company’s success is the result of its culture and close-knit   relationships.

“Most everyone who works   here has been referred by another employee,” she said. “And I really believe the   key to our success is because we make it a fun   atmosphere.”

The opportunity for growth   is always present at Liberty. Many of the company’s corporate   employees have worked in various departments over the years. And some actually   leave the corporate office during tax season to operate their own Liberty Tax   franchises.

Failmezger of the human   resources department didn’t start out there. She came in as a paralegal.

Matt Woolsey, director of   the tax department, came to the company thinking he would manage a call center   but instead he was placed at the head of the tax department.

“It’s a very open place and   there are a lot of challenges,” he said, before heading back to his office to   play a little more mini golf.