What Stands Out in a Competitive Recruiting Market? Growth, Transparency and Flexibility

These tech companies are attracting new talent by building open communication cultures and investing in their team.
Written by Brigid Hogan
June 15, 2022Updated: June 15, 2022

In the midst of a rapidly changing workplace landscape, 42 percent of mid-market companies named talent recruitment and retention as their biggest challenge, according to a September 2021 survey by AchieveNEXT. 

“We don’t know what the future of work looks like for us, but we’ve had great success in focusing on the needs of our people and their lives,” said Justin Wartell, managing principal at Monigle Associates, Inc.

Monigle’s success is backed up with data. After surveying 5,600 respondents, Laura Gassner Otting reported in the Harvard Business Review that “Workers are looking for work-life alignment. It’s not just about the time they spend at work, but about how this work augments or detracts from the time that they spend away from it, too.”

Courtney Robinson, a senior manager at Nylas, sees the same work-life alignment in her own workplace. “I am so grateful for the way the company truly walks the talk in holistically investing in its people,” she said.

According to Robinson, Nylas walks the talk through their commitment to transparent and consistent communication, ongoing individual development and a flexible work environment.

Built In Colorado spoke with Monigle, Nylas and four other local tech companies about how they are attracting top talent by embracing a vibrant vision of work and investing in skill development, prioritizing transparent communication and implementing flexible work policies to align their workplace culture with the priorities of their employees.

 

Fivetran group photo
Fivetran

 

Yolanda Arrey
Head of Technical Recruiting

 

Fivetran builds automated, reliable and secure data pipelines.

 

What is one standout career development opportunity your company offers employees?

At Fivetran, our teams are encouraged to take ownership of projects, expand their skill sets, work outside of their project scope and seek out learning opportunities that are important to their personal goals. We have a multitude of programs in place to help support individuals in their professional growth. Our Fivetran Foundations program welcomes new Fivetranners is an interactive onboarding program that enables each new cohort to meet their peers, get a glimpse of who we are and what we do and engage in learning opportunities. 

We also have a management training program for all managers across Fivetran to give them tools and skills needed to be a successful leader. We take it one step further by offering our employees access to Fivetran Learns!, a program that provides financial assistance every year for employees to seek out external avenues to develop and enhance their skill sets. In addition to all of these training opportunities, we also offer formal coaching programs and support mentorship programs. 

 

What is one way your company supports open communication and transparency?

We have regularly scheduled all hands meetings that provide transparent updates on activity across Fivetran. This allows everyone, regardless of location, to be aware of the exciting things we are working on, how we are working towards our goals and the progress we’ve made and bringing awareness of what teams are working on. This creates visibility and ways for you to see how everything is interconnected and how we are all tied together to achieve “1 Team, 1 Dream.”

We also schedule quarterly business reviews for each function, allowing individuals an opportunity to see how their role impacts each project. Our technology and product teams find these to be extremely beneficial as this is also an opportunity to showcase big wins, identify roadblocks and a platform to share ideas and engage with others outside of their core teams. 

We encourage and support everyone to manage their time and locations.”

 

What is your company’s approach to flexible work?

In the tech space, we support a hybrid model. Employees have the opportunity to work from home, from the office or a mix of both, depending on their role. We encourage and support everyone to manage their time and locations in a way that not only supports the business but supports their personal lives and obligations. 

 

 

Courtney Robinson
Senior Manager, People Development

 

Nylas provides an API for analyzing communications data. 

 

What is one standout career development opportunity your company offers employees?

Nylas offers a generous learning and development perk to support employees’ career development. Each Nylanaut receives $1000 USD (or foreign currency equivalent) per year to invest in their ongoing learning. Not only can these funds be used for individualized professional development opportunities like attending conferences, workshops and association memberships to further your career, but a portion of the funds can also be used on honing personal skills. Want to get better at photography? Learn a new language? Invest in your fitness routine? Nylas is ready to support those aims and more.

 

What is one way your company supports open communication and transparency?

During new hire orientation, Nylanauts are introduced to workplace communication guidelines which outline proven methods to ensure collaborative communication and transparency. One guideline you would quickly see in practice if you were to participate in any project is the expectation that all relevant Nylanauts are included in Slack communication — regardless of title or hierarchy. This eliminates redundancies, promotes collaboration across teams and at times eliminates the need for synchronous meetings. It is ultimately an intentional message that the company trusts each person to be masters of their domain and expertise area.

Nylas is leading the way in proving flexible work is both good for people and good for business.”

 

What is your company’s approach to flexible work?

Nylas is hands down the most flexible work environment I have had the opportunity to be a part of. Output-focused in one of Nylas’ core values. In practice, this means Nylas believes in the results of our work, not the process or location in which the work is done. As a remote-first, office-second company, Nylas supports people in choosing when, where and how they do their best work. Some Nylanauts enjoy the camaraderie of the office while others prefer the comfort of their home. With a diverse and multigenerational workforce, I believe Nylas is leading the way in proving flexible work is both good for people and good for business.

 

 

Contentful team members listening to a presentation
Contentful

 

Gretchen Gurr
Director, People Development

 

Contentful is an integrated content platform that scales alongside business needs.

 

What is one standout career development opportunity your company offers employees?

At Contentful, career development is a priority. Contentful supports the individual learning of each employee by offering a $/€2000 annual stipend for all employees to use for their professional development, which we refer to as “upskilling and reskilling,” depending on an individual employee’s career goals. This stipend can be used for conferences, coaching, community memberships and online or live courses and workshops. To supplement that, we give every employee a LinkedIn Learning membership that covers a variety of topics like management, leadership and technical skills.

We are also in the process of developing learning journeys across the organization, for both managers and individual contributors, to provide everyone with the tools and a clear path for growth and promotion at Contentful. 

Contentful supports the individual learning of each employee.”

 

What is one way your company supports open communication and transparency?

At Contentful, we are always looking for ways to open the lines of communication and actively seek input. During our monthly all-company meeting, Contentful runs an open Q&A session where employees can ask any question, some of which are answered live in the meeting with the rest answered offline as a follow up, given time constraints. Employees also have the option to submit anonymous questions through a proxy, which allows people a safe space to ask questions they may otherwise feel uncomfortable asking. 

In addition, Executives at Contentful provide monthly open office hours for any employee to schedule time to talk with them. Most recently, our senior leaders began a series of “listening tours” in which they will meet with small groups from their teams to promote further discussion of feedback received in our most recent employee engagement survey. Our goal is to not only measure how we are doing through our engagement survey but also learn from and act on the feedback we receive.

 

What is your company’s approach to flexible work?

Contentful accommodates a wide variety of work styles and environments. Depending on an employee’s role type, they may have the option of working in one of our beautiful offices, from their home location or a hybrid that suits their needs and role. We have a global workforce with more than 750 employees working from three office hubs in the US and Germany and distributed around the world. This means that working hours are often more fluid than at other companies, which affords employees the flexibility to accomplish their work while being able to meet with global colleagues.

Now that in-person activities are opening up, we try to strike a balance that includes a combination of bringing everyone together when it’s most beneficial and providing regional and distributed opportunities for collaboration when that makes more sense. We also encourage frequent collaboration through many tools, such as Miro for whiteboard sessions, to support connection, ideation and brainstorming across the company.

 

 

 

American Auto Shield specializes in Vehicle Service Contract development and automotive claims administration.

 

What is one standout career development opportunity your company offers employees?

One thing that stands out for our career development here at American Auto Shield is that we’re in growth mode. We’ve grown over 600 percent over the last three years. As people join the organization and demonstrate their skill set, there are exponential opportunities for growth including developing in leadership roles. We have a high internal promotion rate within our call center organization. Employees can move within their department in leadership roles or gain a skill set in other departments through mentorship training programs.

 

What is one way your company supports open communication and transparency?

American Auto Shield embraces open communication and transparency through quarterly town hall meetings with the CEO and president. During these sessions, employees have their voices heard by asking questions and providing feedback to leadership. Our managers support an open-door policy and our leadership heavily utilizes skip level meetings. 

The Human Resources Team is focusing on succession planning throughout the organization by creating more formal career pathways and development plans. The team is doing a deep dive on how employees can grow into roles and how we can support them through a continuous learning environment. 

American Auto Shield embraces open communication and transparency.”

 

What is your company’s approach to flexible work?

Our organization is committed to flexible work environments. Our teams have been 100 percent remote for over two years and have no plans to transition back into the office. Our front-line call center staff is fully remote, creating opportunities to hire in additional locations. We are meeting employees where they are. Our call center is open on Saturdays, creating additional flexibility during the week. Our flexible work environment is continuing to evolve. With employees across all time zones, employees can create schedules that work best for them.

 

 

PAIRIN group photo outside with team members wearing matching company t-shirts
PAIRIN

 

Michael Simpson
Founder and CEO

 

PAIRIN is a social enterprise company working to unite workforce and educational experiences.

 

What is one standout career development opportunity your company offers employees?

We believe the role of our management team is to prepare every person for their next job, whether that is in our company or not, and to make leaving the hardest thing they’ve ever done. So, we work with every person on their career goals on a regular basis, and we provide both coaching from a professional coach and a $2,000 stipend for any kind of professional training they would like.

We believe the role of our management team is to prepare every person for their next job, whether that is in our company or not.”

 

What is one way your company supports open communication and transparency?

Every week we have an all hands meeting to share our progress to our financial goals, learn about some other part of the company and answer questions. In addition, every manager has a one-on-one with all their teammates each week. We also teach everyone how to engage in difficult conversations using tools for giving and receiving feedback.

 

What is your company’s approach to flexible work?

Our position is that everyone has the responsibility to do the job they were hired for and do all they can to help everyone else on the team do theirs. As long as that is happening, we don’t care when or where you work. If you can do that while traveling South America — which is exactly what our UI/UX designer is doing for the next six months — go for it. We work very hard to make sure that the office is a great place to be, but remote workers are not left out. We also fly in our remote team each quarter or more often to help build close relationships.

 

 

Shannah Van Winkle
Chief Customer Officer

 

Matillion is a cloud-based data integration platform.

 

What is one standout career development opportunity your company offers employees?

At Matillion, we put a heavy emphasis on career development. All Matillioners have access to Udemy for business courses and Blinkist to allow easy access to a broad range of texts, lunch and learns, guest speakers and hack days. We also support employee career development in more traditional ways including paying for books, certifications, traditional training, exams and conferences. 

One unique practice that really strikes me at Matillion is our quarterly deep dives (QDDs). This is a quarterly process where each Matillioner answers a series of questions focused on their career and development within Matillion. Those responses are reviewed by their manager and followed by an in-depth conversation. These 90-minute sessions every quarter provide a setting for employees and managers to discuss career goals and opportunities for growth in depth. The outcome of the QDD process is an understanding and specific action items around how the individual and the manager can best support the individual’s development and career growth goals. This is a powerful cadence and one that people take very seriously at Matillion at all levels in the organization.

 

What is one way your company supports open communication and transparency?

Our transparency surprises people. We actively encourage all Matillioners to feel empowered to ask the leaders anything they want to know — and they do. Each week, our CEO, Matthew Scullion, holds a “What’s on My Mind” session. During these sessions, he speaks directly to the entire company about what is most important right now. The topics have ranged from the impact of the macro-economic climate to how we as a company want to treat our vendors to how we support each other during tough times. Periodically, this is followed by an extended “What’s on Your Mind” session where Matthew invites people to stay longer if they’re able and engage in a deeper dialogue about a given topic. This open communication builds trust and invites engagement that ultimately makes our company better.

Our transparency surprises people.”

 

What is your company’s approach to flexible work?

We want Matillioners to live their lives while contributing to an exciting company and developing their careers. That means we allow a tremendous range in how, when and where people work. We value and measure ourselves and our teams based on output, while managing the input to make sure it works well for the company, department and individual. 

With dual headquarters in the UK and the US and continued expansion in multiple locations, we have team members across the world. That said, we value and prioritize our time together. We invest in bringing our teams together for strategic planning and for our annual in-person “Super All Hands.” And we continue to invest in making our headquarter offices places where teams want to come together to connect and do great work.

 

 

Justin Wartell
Managing Principal

 

Monigle is an independent brand experience agency.

 

What is one standout career development opportunity your company offers employees?

We focus on three key ideas at the heart of our people programs oriented toward building a culture where people are happy. The first is mentoring. Everyone gets a mentor that helps guide and enable career growth. The mentor is in addition to the manager role and serves to complement that relationship. Next, we support every employee in career planning by helping them define their goals, both big and small. The last piece is feedback. We have built a culture of direct and transparent feedback that works because of the psychological safety we create and our inclusive approach to feedback. These core elements each contribute to Monigle’s unique approach to career development.

 

What is one way your company supports open communication and transparency?

One way we enable open communication and transparency is to focus on building psychological safety for every employee at Monigle. We understand that everyone comes to work each day with their own challenges and unique experience. With regular training, an Inclusion and Diversity Council that can dig into tough topics and a twice-annual employee engagement survey measuring delivery on our commitments, we take psychological safety seriously. It’s key to how we communicate and share information across the organization.

We understand that everyone comes to work each day with their own challenges and unique experience.”

 

What is your company’s approach to flexible work?

We are focused on empowering people to do their best work however and wherever works for them. This means offering a flex PTO policy, hiring from across the country and investing in bringing people together to build culture and connection at the right moments for our teams. We don’t know what the future of work looks like for us, but we’ve had great success in focusing on the needs of our people and their lives.

 

 

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