Actively Practices Inclusion
Inclusion is at the forefront of everything we do.
We believe photography has the power to create positive change in the world, and people have the power to create positive change within our company. We work every day to build inclusive products, and this includes fostering an inclusive culture. We provide interview training to every hiring manager and interviewer to ensure every potential employee has a consistent, inclusive, and equitable experience with our company.
We foster an inclusive environment through several programs, including quarterly engagement surveys, ad-hoc employee health surveys, and mandatory diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training to help ensure every person feels supported and has a place to share their concerns openly. We also operate a formal, structured quarterly performance assessment process and ensure that employees receive valuable, actionable feedback.
Since 2017, we have actively engaged DEI thought leaders to execute various meaningful projects related to our ongoing diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, including internal process and policy audits, employee surveys, interviews, and more. These projects resulted in recommendations that have shaped our DEI efforts as a company. We strongly believe that company-wide DEI education is valuable to every role and individual within our company and have introduced required training to prioritize this critical education. Creating an inclusive workplace is an ongoing process that requires persistence, a growth mindset, and a willing team. We are fully committed to doing the work necessary to create the world we imagine for our people.
Engages with Community
We celebrate diversity in our community.
Part of what makes SmugMug and Flickr so unique is our incredibly diverse community. The Flickr Commons represents our commitment to increasing access to publicly-held photography collections and encouraging public information sharing around these often historical and culturally significant works. We spotlight the different life experiences of our members regularly, such as celebrating Black photographers during Black History Month and the women who make our community so vibrant during International Women’s Month. We amplify under-represented voices and highlight their work via hashtags like #ThroughHerLens and features on our Explore page year-long. SmugMug Films spotlights the photographers who amaze and inspire us. Our podcast, The Photography Lounge, features conversations with inspirational photographers such as Jill Heinerth on underwater exploration photography, Lou Noble on portrait photography, and many others.
Still, it’s not enough to celebrate our community – we actively work to protect them. Our Trust & Safety team proactively strives to keep our platforms free of hate speech. With more people spending time online at home, the pandemic has led to a dramatic increase in the online enticement of children. As part of our effort to eliminate Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) from the internet, we partner closely with organizations including Thorn and The Technology Coalition to ensure we’re leveraging the best technology available and continuing to improve our success in the fight against CSAM and other illegal content. You can learn more about the actions we’re taking here.
Finally, we encourage team members to participate in and give back to their communities around the world. We offer unique volunteer opportunities and encourage employees to spend some (work) time engaging in meaningful community service. For example, our teams have volunteered at coding camps in underserved communities and donated time to programs like Techtonica.
Customer Comes First
Thrilling our customers is more than a goal; it’s one of our core values.
We are the world’s largest photographer-centric community. Every product we build, strategy we design, or decision we make is driven by how we can continue to make our customers’ lives better. Our Customer Support Heroes interact daily with our users and regularly share their feedback with our product teams. This direct feedback loop enables us to continually address customer pain points and find innovative ways to improve their experience. Employees can participate in our Sidekicking program, which pairs them with a dedicated Support Hero for a 45-minute session to watch them respond to customer contacts, ask questions about our support philosophies, and learn about customer needs.
Another way we support our customers’ success in their photography journey is by providing educational and informational resources. For example, our SmugMug blog helps customers become better photographers, grow their photography business, or even find inspiration. Since our customers learn in different ways, we also offer a live webinar with shared recordings after the session for those who prefer to interact directly with a person. And throughout our site experience, there are tooltips and informational pop-ups to assist the customer within their account.
Fosters Psychological Safety
We believe psychological safety is key to thriving as a company.
Our goal as a company is to provide an inclusive workplace where all of our people can thrive. Policy is a powerful tool to ensure that acceptable and unacceptable behavior is clearly defined across the organization. Our Code of Conduct creates the guardrails for safe and effective interaction.
While every voice must be heard and valued, we want to make sure we’re doing so in a way that prevents trauma and isn’t harmful to others. That’s why one of our employee-led DEI groups was consulted in crafting our code of conduct and policies. We’re intentionally taking steps to ensure we operate as an anti-hate and anti-discriminatory company. In addition to requiring mandatory training on inclusion, we offer several places for employees to report issues and submit feedback or questions anonymously.
We foster psychological safety by emphasizing that failure is an acceptable outcome. The engineering team has regular retrospectives to ensure we reflect as a team. Folks are very open about providing direct feedback to each other and following through on identified action items. By creating a space where people feel safe discussing what could be improved moving forward, we’re able to do our best work. Mistakes and failures are bound to happen, but we see them as opportunities for us to learn.
We also make space to celebrate and recognize one another. Bonusly, a platform that lets you send points to one another to acknowledge team members’ accomplishments or acts of kindness, is one of our most popular benefits. At the beginning of the month, each company member gets Bonusly points to award and acknowledge fellow team members. Points can then be redeemed for rewards like gift certificates or converted into cash for charitable donations. By regularly recognizing each other’s contributions, we build stronger relationships, and it’s just fun!
We believe in transparency and communication that supports remote work.
Sharing information openly, in multiple ways, and in a timely fashion helps keep our teams informed and encourages a culture of open communication and trust. Since it’s physically impossible for all of us to meet at the same time of day, we record our meetings. As needed, we’ll also alternate weekly meeting times to accommodate employees in many time zones around the country or world. We also share important information via multiple channels such as Slack, email, collaborative shared documents, and in 1:1s to help keep everyone on the same page.
Our leadership regularly leads by example when it comes to open communication. The executive team answers all questions at our weekly all-hands and monthly AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions, while our CFO regularly presents company financials. Topics have included everything from approved work locations by state or country (the shift to all-remote work) to questions about specific tools and the future of our mobile strategy. Finally, our quarterly planning cycle engages several teams, including Finance, Legal, Marketing, and Customer Support, who present their priorities to all Product and Engineering leads, ensuring priorities and OKR alignment.
We lead with as much flexibility as possible.
We want you to bring your best self to work and have time to enjoy your hobbies and passions outside of the office, too. Many of our employees have an active photography practice, and we also have musicians, artists, archers, gamers, roboticists, and more. As a company, we prioritize a healthy work/life balance. In addition to unlimited PTO for exempt employees, we always try to be as flexible and accommodating as possible to support family needs or different schedules. As a distributed team spanning several time zones, we leave work schedules to you and your manager.
We recognize disconnecting can sometimes be challenging and that the added stressors of a global pandemic and racial injustice make taking time off for self-care even more important. That’s why we created a “Day for Me” mental health day, where you take a day off to do whatever makes you happy and allows you to recharge (the idea was a hit, so we’re now doing a few throughout the year). In addition to the typical bank holidays, we also observe Juneteenth, World Mental Health Day, and Election Day. We also host externally- and employee-led workshops on topics that help promote our mental and physical health to keep the pace sustainable proactively.
You’ll work with Customer Support Heroes, Trust & Safety, Marketing, and more.
Building great products is an all-company effort, and engineers can expect to work with many different people across several teams. We share resources by following a “Home and Away” model. Every engineer has a “home” team. When another team needs more resources, you’ll have the chance to lend your expertise, and be “away” for a short period of time. If you’re “away,” there will always be a transition back to your “home” team. This practice provides a level of stability so that you always have a home team, and you’re still able to “jump in” and leverage your expertise when needed on different projects, encouraging the cross-pollination of diverse perspectives from other teams. Another way we foster shared learning and insights is via our guilds, which allow team members within the same discipline (front-end, back-end, architecture, data, etc.) to get together regularly. Ultimately, this tight-knit collaboration and flexibility allow us to build our members’ best possible product and experience.
In 2020, we launched our Customer Advocates Program, embedding a few of our Customer Support Heroes in our Product and Engineering teams. They work collaboratively on product requirements and surface important customer pain points early in the process to ensure customer needs are understood and addressed.
Quarterly planning is a collaborative process across the company, and we actively seek input from everyone. We’re radically transparent about our priorities and work to ensure everyone feels they have a voice and a platform.
High Employee Retention
Our average company-wide tenure is 5+ years!
Not only is the average company tenure indicative of this great work environment, but our SmugMug Customer Support Heroes’ average tenure is also almost double that – clocking in at ten years! Part of why people choose to stay here is because we work hard to create consistent growth opportunities. Managers have their direct reports’ growth as an established and continued focus, and they are equipped with the knowledge and resources to succeed. We also publish career ladders and promotion processes, in addition to ongoing education opportunities.
Celebrating each other and our wins is essential to us, which is why we take the time to applaud work anniversary milestones with monthly recognition presentations. At your five-year mark, you can expect some awesome swag. Once you reach the ten-year mark, we’ll send you and your family on vacation to a destination of your choosing. Team members have enjoyed everything from diving off the coasts of South Africa to drinking from coconuts on the beaches of Hawaii.