We are a fully remote company spread across 10 cities and six countries, and being able to work asynchronously is a must. This requires a high degree of trust in one another and effective communication, especially when faced with difficult questions. A quality we embrace at CoinTracker is being able to candidly say, “I don’t know.” It is far more impressive to admit not knowing than it is to deflect or bullshit. If you can readily admit that you need help, or don’t have all the answers, we know we can trust you.
In our day-to-day operations, we encourage folks to communicate in Slack group threads instead of via direct messages – 75% of Slack messages are in public channels. If you’re a new hire who has recently joined the team, we’ll ask you to post questions about your individual progress or how to personally prioritize your task list openly in our #eng channel as opposed to in direct messages to your manager. Everyone on the team (from interns to our CEO) has access to investor updates, financials, and key metrics. This allows everyone to be on the same page and act in the company’s best interests with full transparency.
A consistent refrain at CoinTracker is how trusting and transparent we are with one another, an example often demonstrated by our leadership team. At a time when we were just coming off of crypto winter (2020) and simultaneously at the height of the global pandemic, our growth wasn’t where we knew it could be. During this period, we relied on openness and honesty. We had a weekly all-hands where our founders (Jon and Chandan) shared in-depth status updates and discussed everything we were doing to extend our runway (such as expense reductions). They made sure to dedicate the time to answer any and all questions with complete candor. While some people decided the risk wasn’t worth it for them, we fully supported them in their transition to their next role. Keeping open lines of communication allowed us to successfully navigate this challenging period and become an even stronger company, with our values and mission closely aligned. We’re now growing 15x YoY. 🙌
It’s in our creed: “I will communicate as much as possible.” This starts with using our own team blogs, powered by P2, the WordPress theme for group collaboration. Fast, flexible, and fun, P2s make it easy to keep up with the company and our many teams in more than 75 countries around the world. Contributing to projects starts with P2s, too. We have a saying: “P2 or it never happened.”
Developers track about 70% of our projects on P2s, 25% in private chat rooms, and the rest on Slack. Only about 1% of communication is done through email, and that’s mostly to external sources.
Because of the geographic variance, we’re active 24/7 and are continuously working on our communication styles in all formats, including in person. There are many times when we cross continents and timezones to work together, most notably in our annual Grand Meetups, when the entire company gets together in a different location for seven days. Our Grand Meetups have previously been held in San Francisco; Budapest, Hungary; Park City, Utah; and Whistler, Canada just to name a few. 😉 We also have smaller team meetups (around 5–7 days long) where the focus is on experimenting and shipping products together. Recently, the pandemic has prevented us from enjoying these geographical get-togethers. But as soon as it’s safe to do so, we’ll be back at it!
31 Open Positions
We are a fully distributed company and have people working in over 30 different states across the US. Regardless of where you’re based, every Tuesday we have a company-wide standup. We’re constantly communicating with each other via Slack and Zoom videos throughout the day to make sure that everyone is on the same page and are collaborating effectively.
We have several tech teams at Cameo. We have product teams that focus on features like the Fan Experience, Talent Experience, Search & Discovery, etc. We also have a Platform (infrastructure and devops) team, as well as a Data engineering team. We lean toward over-communicating and written documentation wherever possible and always encourage folks to speak up. We’re at an exciting inflection point having just raised $100M in funding at a billion dollar valuation, and view transparency and open communication as the key to scaling healthily and happily.
14 Open Positions
At the most rudimentary level, we practice open communication by having open document standards: anyone can see the work of any other department. This extends all the way to the executive team’s weekly agenda and notes.
More importantly, we set the expectation that concrete, explainable reasons must back our decisions; this goes double for leadership. We have a company-wide all-hands every week and engineering has an all-hands every two weeks where leadership provides updates, and we raise topics for discussion ranging from things that affect our work/life balance (e.g. moving our daily production deploys so that east coast folks don't have to be online too late) to our process (e.g. how we want to use Asana).
Technical planning is done on shared documents open to everyone, so that architectural decisions and discussions about them are transparent. If we introduce tech debt, it should be a conscious choice, and every engineer should know why we made that choice, and how/when we plan to address it.
At weekly meetings for each stack team (backend, mobile, frontend), the agenda includes "emerging issues" - a space for everyone to bring concerns about problems they feel are creeping in under the radar. These are issues that cause (sometimes subconscious) anxiety in us, and making it safe to make that a shared responsibility – and not wait until it's a tangible problem – is something we value greatly.
We also practice frequently bringing up topics around our emotional health, stress levels, or even concerns about the future that can sometimes be hard to put precisely into words (like how we plan on preserving our values as we grow). For example, instead of a "what are you doing?" check-in in Slack, we have an optional prompt based on a mindfulness exercise: "As I start the week, I feel ___. The body sensation I'm most aware of is ___". We set an expectation that leadership is allowed to show vulnerability, to admit when they are feeling stretched, or worried about meeting a goal, or disappointed in their own performance. Every staff meeting begins with a Health Check where we report both on our own and our teams' mental health.
Every six weeks we have company-wide retrospectives. In the past, team members have felt comfortable sharing their feelings when UI designs change too often, when we've lost a team member, when our process has holes AND when it starts getting in the way, when OKRs don't provide any guidance, when deadlines aren't realistic, when expectations aren't being clear, or when we're exhausted with Zoom fatigue and need to set some boundaries.
As a company, open communication and transparency is important. For example, the same decks that are shared with the board are also shared with engineers. Within engineering, we share our JIRA boards with customer support teams, so we can openly discuss bandwidth and prioritize work accordingly. Engineers work on teams with a dedicated product manager and designer, so there’s a high degree of collaboration and open communication around the roadmap and features we’re building.
The engineering org is also designed in a way that ensures managers are not maxed out with direct reports. Many senior engineers choose to mentor more junior engineers. For instance, with the support of a senior engineer, two interns changed the user interface and revamped the script messaging overrides, so companies can easily tweak their interviewing scripts. Elayne, one of our engineering managers, likes to block time on her calendar for anyone to ask questions or seek help exploring a different part of the codebase. There’s also regular (optional) shared working time, where anyone can drop into Zoom to collaborate.
Our commitment to open communication starts with the executive team. We often talk about how important it is to keep all communication channels open, and we’ve been deliberate and thoughtful about making transparency a part of everyday life at ActZero. For starters, when you join us, you’ll fill out a questionnaire so that we can learn how you’d like to receive feedback and praise. Generally, we openly praise and privately coach, but we recognize that everyone has different preferences. We publicly encourage individual opinions and actively discourage behaviors which stifle individual contribution.
When it comes to code, data, and metrics, we operate as one unit. All information is available to anyone within ActZero. Our systems automatically push information to dashboards, rather than requiring information be manually requested and pulled from disparate sources. We have well-structured Slack channels for disseminating and discussing important company and team news - all work in other systems trigger notifications in Slack so employees can keep abreast of all activity. Everyone maintains publicly visible calendars, including our leadership team, who also host open-office hours.
Finally, we run a monthly employee satisfaction survey. The output of the survey is anonymized and shared with everyone at the company, and we all work to implement improvements based on everyone’s feedback. We welcome dissenting opinions. In fact, we invite them! Even if they’re most comfortably shared in an anonymous survey.
1 Open Positions
We strive for our employees to feel empowered to share any idea big or small, regardless of whether they’re an apprentice who’s been here for a month or an engineer like Emma, who’s been with us for over six years. What does this look like, you ask? We host weekly Friday Shares where staff are encouraged to take the mic and talk about what they’ve been working on or learning. For example, our Technology Director, Mike Burns, recently hosted a talk called “Failure is Always an Option,” and one of our Lead Engineers (and comic book creator) is hosting another titled “Not Just Another George Lucas.” From 1:1 relationships, to project teams, to the collective studio, we’re big on sharing openly and often so we can learn from each other (the good, the tricky, and everything in between).
Every engineer’s career goals are taken into consideration from day one. Bi-weekly 1:1 conversations with their managers and bi-annual reviews are baked into our processes. We also hold monthly engineering meetings where the internal processes and department goals are constantly re-evaluated. Although we have multiple teams working on different client projects, all of our communication is done within public Slack channels, so anyone can jump in and see the process.
Open communication is particularly important as we (and the rest of the world) have pivoted to remote work. While it's tempting to schedule a lot of meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page, we've worked hard to balance the need to feel connected with the burnout associated with a week full of Zoom meetings. We lean heavily on tooling – Figma for collaborating on design and presentations, GitHub for code, Dropbox Paper, and Google Docs for documentation, and Trello and Jira for project management. Being disciplined in using these tools to plan and execute our work asynchronously has helped us reserve calendars for the truly impactful synchronous activities (like our monthly Trivia Nights!).
Payroll, Benefits, and HR for Modern Companies
San Francisco, Denver, New York City, or Remote
Our leadership team believes that businesses run better when everyone knows what’s going on. We have a bi-monthly all-hands meeting with both offices (via video-conferencing). During these sessions, we celebrate new hires, walk through company financials, and reserve time for company Q&A. We use an app to let team members submit and upvote questions so that the most exciting questions get discussed first.
When we recently raised funds (a $200M Series D at an approximate $3.8 billion valuation), our CEO Josh held an additional all-hands meeting. He walked us through the pitch deck, who each investor was, and the rationale behind each decision. It’s easy to claim that your company believes in being open and transparent, but it’s another thing entirely when prioritized by the leadership.
18 Open Positions
Since our earliest days, Angaza has straddled an ocean. The challenges of keeping our San Francisco and Nairobi teams in sync have shaped our culture. We actively and explicitly practice open communication, both across the entire company and within each smaller team.
We put a lot of energy into ensuring the right conversations are happening between the right people. The entire company joins our monthly all-hands call, which emphasizes transparent communication and live Q&A. Leadership schedules regular office hours, where any topic is fair game. We distribute a biweekly newsletter, featuring both company updates and Angazan personal highlights.
Within the engineering team, much of our written communication comes in the form of PR comments. We provide thoughtful, constructive comments for our colleagues, strive to minimize bikeshedding and rubber-stamping, and foster an environment where every engineer feels both empowered to comment and heard when they do.
In cases of fundamental disagreements, whatever the decision, our style is to ensure that the cost of course correction is not prohibitively expensive, document the discussion, and then defer to the individual or team with the most at stake.
1 Open Positions
Our engineers often talk about code and product, but we also talk about our performance as a team, hiring, and fundraising. We default to communicating in person and in public Slack channels. We err on the side of more channels, so individuals can mute or set their notification preferences to not be disturbed (but catch up when they want). We only use private Slack channels for sensitive information, like discussing a specific candidate during recruiting.
We want everyone to feel comfortable voicing their opinions. We try to share agendas in advance so everyone will be able to prepare privately. At the beginning of each meeting, we often take the first few minutes for everyone to individually collect and record their thoughts before sharing. For example, during our retrospectives, each person is able to share their individual reflections first. Then, as a team, we decide what to dive into as a group.
A simple messaging workspace with tools for managers and staff on the go
San Francisco, CA or Remote
We understand and are respectful of the fact that people need time and space to focus on their work. At the same time, we also believe better decisions are made when all members of the team are well informed. By being transparent about as much as possible, we make information accessible whenever possible. Everyone knows how much runway we have, how investors meetings went, about strategic partnerships, and is included in all hiring decisions.
Underlying trust allows us to speak frankly with one another and enables us to build an environment where people are encouraged to voice their questions, criticisms, and/or concerns. Because we truly respect each other, open communication feels effortless. Whether you agree or dissent, all opinions are valuable and will be heard.
In terms of day-to-day communication, a handful of us work together in a shared co-working space in San Francisco (PARISOMA), and the rest of the team is distributed working remotely. We recognize that working remotely comes with its own set of challenges, and strive as a team to make this a good experience on all sides. We use a combination of Zoom, various collaboration software (e.g. Notion, Google Docs, Github), and messaging on Coast (our own product) to tackle each new project or goal together as a team.
We also bring the entire team together for regular off-sites in person to ensure we get to know each other on a personal level so our team gels as a whole. At the end of the day communication is everything: healthy teams move fast because they trust each other, and trust is built through good communication.
1 Open Positions
Every few months we have an anonymous culture survey executed by a third party. Part of this survey is giving honest feedback to the leadership team directly, which execs then share with the company. Our leaders openly discuss the personal feedback they received even if it’s hard to share and talk about what they’re working on to address; the good, the bad, and everything in between. Everyone in leadership also participates in 360 surveys (also administered by a third party) so they can get even more detailed feedback about how to improve.
As a remote first company, we heavily favor communication via Slack, so you can really know about and get involved in anything you’d like. However, we’re very mindful of Slack fatigue and don’t expect engineers to always be online. We also try to move longer discussions to documents. Our physical office is there for those who would like, but it’s not mandatory since all of our hardware can be accessed remotely.
When we onboard new engineers, we intentionally connect you with lots of different people across the company so you can forge relationships and gain the context you need to succeed. Engineers are encouraged to jump in from day one and can always grab time on anyone’s calendar. We find that because you have so much power to get involved with any project at any time, it’s hard to become cynical. We’d be lying if we said complaints never happen, but it’s usually not long before we ask, “What can we do about that?” and often the answer is only a meeting or PR away.
11 Open Positions
We value EQ > IQ and are humble, considerate, and tight-knit. Our founders talk to us regularly; they’re honest and transparent about how the business is running and there are direct lines of communication between every employee and our leadership team. It’s important that we foster an environment where every team member feels comfortable talking and empathy is key. As a growing team (currently we have ~40 employees), things are always a work in progress. Individuals often speak up and surface concerns or criticism when they want to, and we all listen.
During our most recent offsite, our entire company gathered in a circle one evening to give kudos to one another. The prompt was simply, “Feel free to thank someone who you’d like to recognize.” What started as an informal exercise turned into a two-hour event. The amount of transparency made us feel closer to one another and helped us learn what each member of our team really cares about and values. (We suspect giving kudos will become a tradition of ours!)
Lastly, we practice open communication every day at the office. The entire team currently works in one large warehouse. This facilitates a tremendous amount of conversation and provides exposure to all aspects of the company. During lunch, you might hear about which partnerships our business development team is working on or what optimizations our hardware engineers are focusing on. Having an open office space (and still being a small team) enables us to exchange ideas and collaborate easily. We have ambitious goals, and we can only achieve them by supporting and working with each other!
11 Open Positions
Connecting fintechs with banks to build great financial products
San Francisco, CA or Remote (US)
Each of us has experienced what it feels like at other companies when decision making is divorced from facts on the ground. It is extremely demoralizing when you are the expert and are not empowered to make important decisions or even sit at the table where they are made. Not only does it stifle individuals at a company, but it is also a sign of poor leadership that will likely make bad decisions, and eventually lead the company in the wrong direction.
Our approach is to practice email transparency and share all information (except when it specifically has to be confidential – e.g., HR information). We embrace the accountability that this brings. By having access to all information, individuals can make informed decisions. Additionally, it encourages people to reach out and get any additional information they need: engineers visit banks to understand how they work and form a relationship and our customer success team frequently collaborates with engineers on prioritization and debugging.
Our management philosophy can be summed up as: one team with each individual having the responsibility and authority to get their job done. If your problem goes beyond your domain, then it’s up to you to get help from another person and ultimately bring that project across the finish line.
As a fully remote team, communication is critical. Not just for getting things done, but also for team building. We lean into this by over-communicating, on Slack and on video calls as well. We use video calls for planning work, pair programming to tackle particularly hard challenges, and helping give context of a certain code area to team members who are missing that context. We also use video calls for fun things, from hanging out to celebrating wins to just sharing stupid videos.
We have two all-hands meetings a week to connect as a team and make sure everyone is on the same page. On Mondays, we spend half an hour reviewing high-level updates from last week as well as what’s to come this week. At the beginning of each kickoff call, Joe, our founder and CEO, always gets us started by talking openly about what’s on his mind. On Fridays, we spend about an hour wrapping up the week, which includes a show and tell section, where different team members share what they’ve been working on. We also have a section dedicated to an open floor Q&A – affectionately known as “Q&Chaos” – where you can ask anything that’s on your mind. In this time, people ask big picture questions about the business or dive into the details of a new feature we’ve shipped. People also take this as an opportunity to be silly and irreverent, like debating the merits of guac versus queso.
Our vision is that anyone here can see at any time how their work is contributing to the goals of our company. We want everybody to be able to quickly and easily understand why they’re doing the work they’re doing and how it's going to make an impact.
1 Open Positions
We work to create an environment where everyone’s perspective can be heard. However, that isn’t to say that we’re consensus-driven. Instead, we borrow a paradigm from Apple and identify Directly Responsible Individuals (DRIs) who are then in charge of collecting and synthesizing information, and making a call. (We should note that the DRI is often not the most senior person, but the person closest to the work.)
Transparency and inclusion are both core company values and product values of ours. You can see them in the way our founders openly discuss the corporate structure, equity, and the company’s financial situation, all the way to how our product builds trust between team members with daily questions.
Whether you’re a director or an individual contributor, everyone’s voice matters at Academia. We believe transparency is core to building a trusting environment and this starts at the leadership level. Every week our CFO presents financials and Richard is equally open about sharing the latest board deck and funding round. It’s our goal to be as transparent as possible in our communications not only with each other, but also with our partners and customers.
Engineers at Academia are always part of the conversation about how to solve problems and work closely on cross-functional teams. For each project, a team generally consists of a couple engineers working equally alongside a project manager and UX designer. As Isabel (one of our software engineers) puts it, “People here genuinely believe in the mission and are always looking for ways we can improve both the company and the product."
Continuous integration and delivery platform
Distributed across the US, Canada, Ireland, UK, Germany, Japan
At CircleCi, transparency is a core company value. Our leadership exemplifies a high degree of transparency with company calls every two weeks, where they share insight into business events, metrics, goals, and strategy. Similarly, we have department calls every two weeks, to dive deeper into how we’re tracking toward our goals. Managers also regularly communicate strategy, direction, and relevant tactical details to their teams – we believe it’s almost impossible to over-communicate these details. “Always repeat what’s important” is a motto we live by.
There’s also a high degree of visibility across teams. We have open team channels in Slack and also rely on open documentation (think shared docs and Confluence) to keep things visible and accessible. We’re also currently building out a knowledge repository, which includes info about each team (what they do, what they own), operating documentation about our services, architectural and system design documents, and how-to documentation for processes, tools, and best practices. We created an engineering competency matrix, which is woven into everything we do. From hiring, to structured feedback, to performance reviews, it helps us hold everyone to the same standards and clarify expectations as we scale.
How you talk about learning – especially the way you discuss mistakes – matters. That’s why we use blameless postmortems to help understand problems and drive solutions. We want everyone to feel safe while continually learning how to improve and better work together.
18 Open Positions
Since we are still a small team, we hold one another accountable for the responsibilities we’ve been assigned. We encourage 1:1s to be a safe space to discuss anything that might be bothering you, and we all sync up each morning at 9:45 am for a 10-minute standup where we share our progress from the prior day, today’s goal, and any blockers we are facing.
Communication across departments is an open dialogue – since our team is small, engineers directly reach out to Sid, our Chief Designer, or Andrew, our Director of Ops, if there are questions. Similarly, other team members feel comfortable reaching out to engineers whenever they need details about an integration or want to request a feature. We all work collaboratively and information flows fluidly in all directions.
Everyone at Mode has the resources at hand to answer questions or validate assumptions. After all, this is one of the core value propositions of the software we are building. Every team member is an owner of the company, so progress is reported frequently and transparently. This information is typically shared in the form of presentations about company financials and direction at our weekly all-hands meetings, as well as through reports that display core company metrics.
After much thought and consideration, we (excitedly!) decided to begin hiring fully remote engineers in 2019. While we knew it wouldn’t be perfect at first, we have been thoughtful about supporting distributed team members. We've invested in state-of-the-art telecommunications hardware and software, now run meetings as if all attendees were remote, and make decisions in forums where remote members can participate.
If you work out of our office in San Francisco, you’ll sit with your cross-functional team (product, design, engineering, and customer support). In that office, we have a quiet room for when you need a break from the open office layout and office pups who lovingly sit nearby.
47 Open Positions
These norms are especially important to us at Aptible since most of our communication happens over Zoom, Slack or email. Being remote forces us to communicate in a way that working in person may not allow. We often create explanatory collateral rather than simply pulling a co-worker into a meeting room and we’ve developed a culture of permanence and accessibility around documentation that we are confident will be invaluable as we scale. Being remote requires that communication between teammates and teams more broadly is thoughtful and intentional each time.
Whether it's the daily scrum standups (we’re constantly working to streamline and improve the efficacy of these), weekly 1:1’s (where you have free reign to set the agenda with your manager), or our Weekly All-Hands (where we come together as a team to hold ourselves accountable to our goals and enjoy some face time — we call it The Win Column), here are a few of the general practices we promote to ensure positive and effective communication:
There are many more norms where those came from – including more tips on how we use Slack and Zoom effectively and with empathy. If you’re interested, please reach out and we’d be happy to share our thoughts!
The Aptible Team at our 2018 Offsite in New York City.
1 Open Positions
Groceries delivered from local stores
San Francisco, Toronto, or Remote (US, Ontario, British Columbia)
You can be one of the best engineers in the world, but how impactful your work is, depends on how well you communicate and work with your team. To build the most meaningful solutions, you need context not only from your immediate teammates, but also from relevant and adjacent teams. Furthermore, we have three main offices in San Francisco, Toronto, and Atlanta (though our engineers are based out of SF and Toronto) and several smaller operational locations across the US and Canada. Communication between these hubs is equally critical to our success.
Instacart has many moving parts, so to facilitate cross-functional collaboration, we work with open office plans. To promote more focused conversations, all of our offices are outfitted with plenty of pop-in rooms, bookable conference rooms, and phone booths. As an operations-heavy company, real-time feedback is incredibly important to us and this has permeated throughout the entire company. We have set up several forums for people to ask questions in-person, including our regular AMAs with our executive team leaders. No topic or question is off limits.
39 Open Positions
Since we’re a distributed team, we have developed most of our company processes to be remote first. We deprioritize email in favor of Slack and Notion – they’re way more collaborative.
Being able to capture one’s thoughts in writing is a revered and celebrated skill at AngelList. Our weekly team-wide standup is done exclusively through writing (yes, with more than 16 people in the meeting). Updates are written in Notion before the meeting starts and we spend the next 20-25 minutes reading and commenting on those updates, in silence. It’s surreal and almost comical the first time you experience it, but the value of the meeting is that all of the micro-interactions are covered in writing and folks who can’t make it because of the time zone (or life) can read it when they have a chance and gain close to 100% of the context.
We’re open in the way we share information and feedback with each other. We trust our employees – whether it’s our financial numbers (which are made public for everyone to see) or the reasoning behind an important business decision, we prioritize being open and transparent at all times. We encourage each other to share feedback early and often, and have spent time discussing how to give and receive feedback effectively.
Despite our remote-friendly processes, we value being able to spend time together. We typically host one offsite every year to bring the entire team together; previously we’ve gone to places like Thailand, Tulum, Colombia, and Hawaii. We weren’t able to meet in 2020, but once it’s safe to do so again, we’re planning to make up for it with an even more glorious offsite 🙂.
Creating experiences that connect people through photography
Mountain View, San Francisco, or Remote in CA, CO, ID, IL, MD, MA, MI, MN, NM, NY, NC, OR, TX, UT, VA, and WA
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.
Enable immigrants to use their data to land on their feet
San Francisco, CA or New York, NY
Everyone has access to the same information, and no one is left in the dark about important company decisions.
The founders set a great example by encouraging us to speak freely about questions and concerns. At the end of every all-hands, they hold an AMA where no question is off limits, encouraging us to speak freely about concerns. Their transparency with the rest of the company about board meetings (they always share slides and documents presented), timelines, and dissenting opinions create a culture where Novans feel comfortable speaking up about any topic, which is why one of our core values is 'Challenge Without Ego'.
Almost all of the work we do requires cross-functional expertise and teamwork, which is why we rely on open communication about details, requirements, deadlines, and processes. We are heavily biased towards giving too much information rather than not enough.
In addition to the internal groups and brown bag lunches we have at Nova, we extend our open communications to those outside of the company. We host fireside chats with industry professionals, bringing in amazing, high-profile individuals into the office for open discussions on various topics, like our recent chat about leadership and hiring for diversity with Ken Chenault, former CEO of American Express.
We sit as product teams and there is open communication between all departments within the organization including support, operations, and the product organization. We share key company metrics openly with the entire organization including revenue and run rates, as well as the board deck with all employees on a quarterly basis. We use Slack for team updates and async communication, in-person conversations for decision making and direction, and company all hands for sharing company-wide information and metrics.
We’re dedicated to being transparent with one another, and it starts at the leadership level. At our 2021 kick-off meeting, we held an “AMA” (ask me anything) with our founders and nothing was off limits. The topics included deep dives into our competitive edge, potential weaknesses, our long-term vision, Leapfin’s founding story, lessons from past mistakes, and more. Similarly, we hold quarterly company-wide financial reviews, where the state of the business is openly shared.
When setting quarterly OKRs we involve all team members. To avoid group-think and ensure we make the best decisions possible, dissent, devil’s advocacy, and purposeful debate are encouraged. While we don’t always agree, we always respect each other’s point of view. It’s also important that our internal team provides documentation that makes sense for our professional services team members.
Finally, we also have core working hours to foster open communication and ensure we have the necessary coverage. We ask engineers to be available for virtual meetings between 8-12pm PST and then be on-call until 7pm PST. That said, when you want to do your work is up to you. For example, one of our software engineers, Aman Aggarwal, is based in Toronto. He enjoys the flexibility to adjust to his own work hours (which could be in the middle of the night!), but is always available for meetings and ad hoc issues during the day.
Our executive leadership regularly demonstrates open communication and transparency. We have twice monthly Q&As via Zoom, where people fire questions into the chat and the exec team answers them. There’s also a short internal survey every quarter so leadership can hear everyone’s feedback and then share that with the team.
At the Chirp team level, we regularly dialogue with our users and all engineers participate in support rotations. We have a weekly on-call schedule where we directly answer user questions around how certain features work or address obvious bugs.
Finally, group retrospectives are a regular practice to foster transparency and openly discuss what we can improve. We do retros on our day-to-day internal processes and we use this feedback to iterate on our work processes. Everyone is encouraged to chime in and we take all voices into consideration.
32 Open Positions
We believe the best way to run a remote company is to work asynchronously in the open. We carry the ‘work in the open’ mindset from our codebase to every part of the company. Almost everything we do, from documents to digital whiteboards, is shared with the rest of the company. To better enable asynchronous work, we share our plans and documents early, ask for feedback often, and we write a lot. The practice of documented sharing helps create safety and trust in a distributed team, along with a culture of enablement.
We use tools like Slack, Google Meet, and Tuple to communicate synchronously when needed, and otherwise rely on cloud-native tools like Google Docs and GitHub.
1 Open Positions
We have regular weekly meetings to address any concerns or issues internally, and a monthly all-hands meeting the first Wednesday of every month. Shannon, our CEO, values transparency and keeping the team informed. During this meeting, she shares business results for the last month, how conversations are going with investors, and provides an overall status update. Then each department (operations, trainer development, and technology) is given air time to discuss any new features or developments. We also open the floor and anyone can speak up about another team member’s accomplishments. At the end of the meeting, we finish with “teammate delight”, which is part of our internal recognition program and rewarded with a day off.
We are super excited to grow our existing team. We are looking forward to finding people who can help set and align the engineering team’s culture with our current culture. Our team prides itself on a collaborative and open communication style, and we firmly believe that our product and users are more important than the code that is written. When we find the right fit, we want new hires to feel comfortable with being open about their strengths and weaknesses. From there, we can build a team around individual needs and capabilities.
1 Open Positions
Leading Software-Powered Freight Forwarder
San Francisco, Bellevue, Amsterdam, and Shenzhen
We believe that open communication is key to success, so everyone is encouraged to speak with candor. We stay nimble and take action so we’re continuously improving. Everyone is given a voice, and we make sure those closest to the problems are the decision-makers.
This works top-down as well. Our CEO, Ryan, holds an all-hands meeting every two weeks to share global company updates. He also actively encourages everyone with a thought or idea to Slack him and our leaders through our “ask-exec” channel and slid.io Q&A sessions at all-hands.
Managers and reports meet one-on-one every week, and skip level meetings are scheduled on a monthly cadence. We believe that maintaining an open communication channel enables individuals to comfortably voice their thoughts and receive the attention required to maximize career growth.
53 Open Positions
For a distributed company, with team members in over 15 countries, working according to our values depends on transparency. Team members have the freedom and flexibility to organize their work schedules around meetings, and any mandatory meetings are scheduled so people in different time zones can comfortably attend. You can participate in almost any company initiative if you’d like, regardless of professional level, team, physical location, or your preferred working hours.
Day-to-day transparency happens in Asana – our shared source of truth. There, you’ll find every major project listed in one place, organized by company-wide Objectives. We make it a point to document meeting agendas and outcomes here so people can weigh in asynchronously, even if they don't attend the call. We also try to keep Wednesdays and Thursdays meeting-free so people can have time for deep work.
Want to know what happened in the last board meeting? Review our monthly revenue numbers? Catch up on takeaways from a teammate's kick-off call? Not only is that information available to everyone in the company, but you can always ask questions, share your point of view, or clarify areas of uncertainty.
Of course, not all conversations can happen asynchronously. We use Zoom for must-have meetings (like our weekly all-hands, team sync-ups, kick-off calls, and 1-on-1s) and rely on Mattermost for direct messaging (and most of our day-to-day banter).
Automated financial management to save, plan, and invest all in one place
Palo Alto, CA or Remote (US)
Open communication and transparency are incredibly important at Wealthfront, both in terms of developer happiness (feeling trusted and included) and productivity (not being blocked by uncertainty). It also enables insight into other business functions and promotes learning and development – another win all around.
At our all-hands meeting, engineers are able (and encouraged) to ask our CEO anything, or pose questions to other members of the team. It’s our belief that keeping engineers well-informed will allow them to make the best decisions possible and be the most productive. That’s why most information is also publicly shared with the company.
In addition, several of our core operating principles relate to how much we value open communication. We “show respect” by being approachable and courteous, following up with people directly instead of going behind their back, and providing constructive feedback. We “disagree and commit,” which encourages employees to voice their concerns or objections early in the process, but once we’ve reached a decision, everybody commits to it. We also openly communicate decisions and feedback by following the "ask, don't assume" principle. Finally, we "demonstrate urgency," which explicitly emphasizes keeping all relevant parties informed about projects and decisions.
12 Open Positions
At Symbio, we apply a software-first approach to automation design, creating robotics solutions for the automotive industry that adapt to variance and optimize execution. We regularly solicit input from all engineers. “I feel comfortable reaching out to anyone here for any issue,” says Jackie. Whether it’s at our bi-weekly engineering all-hands meeting or via Slack, we make sure to check in and ask the team the important questions: What are you seeing? How is this working for you? Where do you want to push back?
Not only are we open to contribution from everyone, we expect it.
When we identify that we’ve miscalculated, our leadership team is able to openly say, “what we thought we were going to do isn’t working, so we should pause.” We get input from those closest to the work, figure out the path forward, and remain open to pivoting as needed.
Our physical office space is very conducive to open communication. While many of us have been working remotely during the pandemic (with the exception of folks who need to go in to work on hardware – following COVID-safe protocols of course), we’re looking forward to getting together in-person again soon. We work in a beautiful open warehouse which naturally fosters conversation and provides exposure to different parts of the company. Conversations in the kitchen range from check-ins about weekend mountain climbing adventures, to brainstorming a hardware problem solution, to favorite pasta recipes. As John (program manager) puts it, “people are very collaborative and responsive, but we also do a good job of giving people uninterrupted focus time.”
Collaborative mapping platform for transportation planning
San Francisco, New York City, or Remote (US)
Clear, open communication is fundamental to how we work. We actively work to create opportunities to share context, regardless of seniority, role or location. If you have ideas about how to make something better, we want to hear it! Since we span several time zones, we make sure to update people in Slack, share Paper docs, and record important meetings so that everyone has the same context. For example, when there was uncertainty with the pandemic, leadership kept everyone informed with a weekly company update on Slack.
We also foster open communication with bi-weekly tech talks, where team members have the opportunity to share short demos or discuss what they’ve been working on. Engineers who are subject matter experts in a certain area or part of the stack also rotate every week and make themselves available to answer any questions during office hours.
Teams are organized based on the product area you work on, so we don’t have a dedicated front-end or back-end team. In order to encourage open dialogue across product teams, we have several different guilds composed of people with similar technical interests. Guild meetings generally happen every two weeks, and it’s a great time to discuss best practices, how we can improve on our architecture, or certain aspects of our system.
Collaboration is key, and you should feel comfortable going to anyone at any time if you’re feeling stuck or want to understand something better. Want to pair? There’s always someone willing to do so. We’re lucky to have a strong, talented team that is excited to help you learn new things and wants to learn from you, too.
Brex has a transparent written culture (or memo culture), which makes it easy to learn about various parts of the business at any time. We document everything – company-wide strategy, OKRs, key metrics – in Google docs and share them internally. We’re even transparent about our compensation structure and encourage interested applicants to understand our approach before deciding to apply.
Once you join Brex, you’ll see that communication styles vary across teams. We give individual teams a lot of flexibility to determine what communication style works best for them and the individuals who compose the team. While we had always planned on becoming a remote-first and international company, COVID-19 helped push that agenda. We will continue to be remote-first post-COVID and improve our communication culture to accommodate our growing company.
Today, two of our favorite communication practices include our regular Q&A’s with the leadership team (where you can ask about anything you may want to learn more about) and weekly emails from our founders. Each week, our founders send an email to the entire company about major updates, decisions, and the why behind them. Here are two great examples from Pedro (founder and co-CEO) around why a growth mindset is so important to him and how to increase the quality of our decisions. Let us know what you think!
50 Open Positions
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