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Silicon Valley Company Wins "Psychologically Healthy Workplace" Award: OMIX Co-Founders to Accept Honor on March 30th

MENLO PARK, CA-- March 12, 2001--OMIX, Inc., a leading designer and developer of customized e-Business solutions headquartered in Menlo Park, California, announced today it is a recipient of the "Psychologically Healthy Workplace" award from the California Psychological Association, the second largest association in the world for licensed psychologists. The award is being given to recognize organizations "providing for the well-being and growth of their employees."

With a reputation for being always at the cutting edge of new ideas in both technology and human relations, OMIX is the only Silicon Valley company to receive this special honor. OMIX Co-Founders Terry and Sandy Lillie will accept the award on March 30, 2001 at the Awards Luncheon at the annual CPA convention in Costa Mesa, California.

Privately owned, OMIX was founded at the birth of the Internet boom in 1994 by Terry Lillie, a technology guru, and his wife Dr. Sandy Lillie, a licensed clinical psychologist. From the very beginning, their goal was to use their combined talents to make a difference in the corporate world by demonstrating how good business and a solid commitment to human values can co-exist and even thrive together.

The company's Web site at www.omix.com states, "OMIX's commitment to technical excellence is matched by an equally strong commitment to creating a humanistic company culture, where work is accomplished in an atmosphere that is supportive, creative, and passionate." The CPA’s "Psychologically Healthy Workplace" award suggests that OMIX and its 37 diverse employees are fulfilling this commitment.

Boasting an incredibly low employee turnover rate (under 5%) for a high tech company in the Silicon Valley, OMIX is organized in ways that reflect Dr. Lillie’s more than 20 years of experience counseling employees who were grappling with issues of workplace politics, frustrating communication, and wasted energy.

In her efforts to create a better culture at OMIX, Dr. Lillie devised an organizational structure that is more circular than hierarchical, fostering an atmosphere of mutual support and idea sharing among employees, instead of the usual scramble for higher position within a hierarchy. Communication focuses on creativity and learning in an atmosphere of mutual respect, without wasting energy on who gets credit or blame.

Compensation is reviewed and adjusted in an ongoing manner, to immediately reward increased levels of contribution rather than wait for an arbitrarily scheduled salary review. Also, flexible work schedules and telecommuting options are not only offered at OMIX, but encouraged.

"At OMIX, we try to treat other people the way that we would like to be treated," said Dr. Lillie. "We’re not trying to bribe our people with goodies. We’re trying to relate with them as fellow human beings deserving of care, appreciation and respect."

Passionate about improving the quality of working life in corporate culture, Dr. Lillie has been writing on this topic for several years, and has recently begun speaking about it publicly in television interviews and other forums. Her latest essay -- "Working Wonders with a Positive Company Culture" -- is currently being featured on TechRepublic at http://www.techrepublic.com, where more than 2,600 people downloaded her work in the first two weeks it appeared, giving it very high ratings.


The following are a few specific examples of OMIX’s extraordinarily positive culture:

Employee Involvement:
Organizational Circles, Not Pyramids: At OMIX, we structure power and responsibility in "circles" rather than in pyramids as much as possible. This means, for example, that Project Managers are not conceptualized as "above" the development teams they manage. Rather, Project Managers are the part of a team that is responsible for coordinating the group's efforts and communicating with the client. The OMIX circular organization fosters an atmosphere of mutual support and idea sharing among employees, instead of the usual scramble for higher position within a hierarchy. Communication focuses on creativity and learning in an atmosphere of mutual respect, without wasting energy on whom gets credit or blame. We are interested in discovering solutions for the future, not determining blame for the past.

For the same reasons, titles are minimized at OMIX. Employees get titles for dealing with customers and for their resumes, but inside OMIX the Vice President of Sales is just "the sales guy" and the Chief Operating Officer is mostly "Mom". (Even her business card says "Chief Operating Officer/Mom").

At OMIX, important decisions affecting the entire company have historically been made with participation by all or large segments of the company, not management alone. From strategies for dealing with acute cash flow problems to the possible sale of the company, employees have been heavily involved in the decision making process. This has fostered a spirit of "one for all, and all for one" at OMIX that is remarkable in the highly individualistic Silicon Valley. Employees are also actively solicited for input regarding choices like office allocation, furniture and other decisions that affect the quality of their lives every day.

OMIX promotes diversity by valuing people for who they are and what they can bring to the team. Individual differences are treated with interest, sometimes humor, but in a general spirit of fond acceptance. As a company, we are comprised of individuals from many different international and cultural backgrounds. We treasure our differences and support one another in working towards our common goals.

Family Support:
Benefits for Every Family Member: Employees and their immediate family members enjoy the rare benefit of having all the premiums on their medical, dental, vision, life and disability insurances paid for by OMIX. To balance personal and family needs with work demands, flexible work schedules and telecommuting are not only tolerated, but encouraged. Recently, two employees moved out of state (to Missouri and Texas, respectively), but continue telecommuting to OMIX each day.

Employee Growth and Development:
Work with Passion:

"As much as reality will permit, we encourage people to grow in the direction of their passions."
Dr.Sandy Lillie

At OMIX, we do our best to find out what interests and excites our employees and we weigh this information heavily when making decisions about project assignments, training opportunities and the like. Opportunities for career advancement and employee cross-training are highly encouraged. And as much as we can afford it, OMIXians (as we call ourselves) are encouraged to take advantage of outside training. Also, we offer weekly "OMIX School" where employees share their knowledge of any particular topic (e.g., java programming, Internet topology, effective communication) with other co-workers over lunch.

At OMIX, insofar as we are able, we want people to feel well and fairly paid for the work they do. We deliberately avoid regularly scheduled salary reviews with employees, choosing instead to quietly review the list of employee salaries as needed on an ongoing basis. In this way, we offer raises immediately when people have assumed new levels of responsibility, developed new skills, or otherwise demonstrated merit. (At times, employees have as much as doubled their salaries within a single year because their contributions to the company increased dramatically). This approach lets people know that we are paying attention and that we care about them. Also, in the spirit of wanting to share the fruits of our labor with everyone who contributes to the harvest, employees receive generous stock options and are able to hold vested stock even if they leave the company.

Employee Morale:
Open Communication and Mutual Feedback: OMIX employees are actively encouraged to express their ideas and feelings about every aspect of their participation in the company. Through "management by walking around," Terry and Sandy try to give and receive ongoing feedback. At our monthly company meetings, there is an open forum for the discussion of any issues affecting the community at large.

OMIXians have periodic Employee Conferences, which are not evaluations, but opportunities to get the undivided attention of Terry and Sandy to communicate about anything of importance to the employee. These conferences provide an opportunity to offer suggestions, discuss preferences and goals, express appreciation, and also explore difficulties that may be occurring.

The morale at OMIX is very high, and has remained so even through tough economic times. Although our employees are distinguished for their cutting edge technical skills, OMIX rarely loses people to other companies. We are proud of our incredibly low employee turnover rate (below 5%), a rarity in the high tech Silicon Valley.


OMIX, Inc.

OMIX, Inc. is a leading designer and developer of robust, scalable, secure e-Business solutions for Internet, intranet and extranet applications.

Headquartered in Menlo Park, California, OMIX was founded at the birth of the Internet boom in 1994, and has consistently been in the vanguard of Internet professional service companies, always among the first to embrace and integrate powerful new standards-based Internet technologies as they emerge. Privately owned, OMIX provides its engineering and design expertise to a wide range of organizations, from Fortune 500 companies to venture-backed start-ups. For more information, contact info@omix.com.

© 2001 OMIX, Inc. All rights reserved. OMIX is a registered trademark of OMIX, Inc. All other products or brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

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