Mission: To deliver information technology solutions and services that are Member and Customer focused, quality driven and value priced.
I worked at National Information Solutions Cooperative full-time (More than a year)
The innovations team is doing some really cool stuff at NISC, and they seem to be exploring new stuff all the time. When I was with them, some of the cool tech they were using included RabbitMQ, Hadoop/Pig/Zookeeper, Cassandra, Ginjector/Guice/GWT, Splunk, HipChat, etc. and last I heard they were moving on to Spark, Angular, etc. You can tell the managers and coworkers are very bright. Time-tracking is very relaxed, and I found management to be very hands-off, which is great for a software team who's supposed to be exploring a lot. Working from home is fine, flexible hours, good PTO, etc. Senior management is friendly and motivating. All in all, a very forward-thinking group. There are lunch and learns that people can attend for career development. There are monthly get-togethers for everyone in the building to mix and socialize, drink beer, and relax. There's even a yearly conference called the Member Information Conference held downtown for their clients and partners. The benefits are amazing too. Free health insurance and the very generous 401k policy were great. HR is young and energetic. The exercise room is awesome, and there are showers. The ping pong table is ok but I found a lot of people are way too good at ping pong for me to play with. There was a volleyball field for a while, but they had to build a new building in that space recently. There's a frisbee golf group that goes out to local parks, and there are people that take walks around the next-door mall during breaks (one lap around the perimeter is one mile). There are also bikes you can borrow. Also as a company, they seem to be kicking butt in their sector.
The feeling of exploration doesn't always filter down to everyone on the team, and some of it can feel like it's already pre-digested and routine by the time you get to work with it. Ultimately, I left for several reasons: First, I didn't feel as connected to the team as a whole as I felt I was at other places I've worked. The turnover rate seems high, and you get all kinds of personalities; everyone's nice but to me it seemed like many would never reach out or say hi unless I made a real concentrated effort to connect with them, and even sometimes after that it wouldn't "stick", and they'd revert to their clique or whatever. I wonder if, because of the turnover, some people don't really want to connect to you until you've been there a while. I do know that one of the big reasons for the turnover is that they hire a bunch of young people fresh out of school, and of course those kinds of people tend to not stick to their very first job. Another was the commute, since it was a 45 minute drive out to the place and a 45 minute drive back, which cut into family time for me. I often think of going back (they've said the door remains open), but the commute thing is too much for my wife. Another was that I was feeling kind of run down from asking for help all the time with broken local configurations/setup which drained my morale and productivity. Another was that I felt like I wasn't really getting a lot of experience with new things (the exciting tools seemed to be handled by only a select few, often by interns, and since there was not much pair programming, this experience didn't really spread too far). Also, I was a little surprised that they don't spend as much on letting their people go to conferences and such. At least, my requests didn't get approved. Not a lot of code coverage or documentation, but there are efforts here and there. Like I said, I often wonder whether I should go back, as many of these issues seem surmountable with a redoubling of effort. Not sure if I ever will get the chance to though.
Advice to Management
I'm not sure if you can do anything about the cliques, but maybe innovate around that. Also, consider pairing or shuffling people more so they can all get a feel for the more innovative efforts.
I applied through a recruiter. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at National Information Solutions Cooperative (Lake Saint Louis, MO).
It was a good interview, and I loved the fact that they got back to me the next day or so. Basically there was a pair programming part to solve some simple problem, then there were some questions, then there was a tour of the place and benefits info. There were two managers that interviewed me, and a senior team member paired with me for the skills exercise. There was also an HR lady who presented benefits and stuff.
I don't remember there being a negotiation phase. One thing they did accomodate was hiring me directly into full time instead of as a contractor in order to accomodate the fact that I have a family to take care of and stuff. That was a very nice gesture and one of the reasons I went with them instead of my other offer.