More consumers and businesses are moving to sell subscriptions — from Twitch to CBS Interactive to LootCrate — than ever before. And helping companies like those deliver enterprise-grade subscription management is Recurly, a software platform that enables subscription business with smart billing logic and payment optimization to ensure customer retention.
We met with three of Recurly’s team members to learn more about the ways company culture is impacting and driving their success.
EMPLOYEES: 170 globally; 65 in Boulder
WHAT THEY DO: Recurly is in the business of revenue retention and has developed enterprise-grade subscription management software to deliver key billing insights. Their software identifies potential issues in payment processing and prevents payment failures to ensure their clients’ customers continue with their subscription.
WHERE THEY DO IT: Boulder & San Francisco
THE RECURLY UNFURLY: In the spirit of creating a sense of belonging, Recurly hosts a series of social events: a company-wide kick-off party once a year in San Francisco; an office off-site summer picnic; quarterly team events, such as volunteer days and regular meetups.
Emma Clark, Chief of Staff
Emma serves as Recurly’s chief of staff, working directly with the CEO and leadership team to facilitate and drive cross-department collaboration, strategic planning and company communications.
GREEN THUMB: On weekdays, Emma enjoys getting creative with new plant-based recipes; on weekends, she takes her appreciation for health and wellness to the outdoors as an avid hiker, runner and gardener.
As the fourth employee in the Boulder office, what would you say has been the most important aspect of the company culture that has allowed Recurly to grow to where it is today?
I think it’s really important that the Boulder offices has developed its own identity. Although we are plugged into events happening across the company, we always take our own unique spin on things. By building our own office identity, we have aligned with the amazing aspects of Boulder culture that makes it so wonderful: collaboration, creativity, wellness and respect for work-life balance. For example, the Boulder offices decides which types of volunteer events we gravitate toward and what types of social events we like.
Considering your cross-functional role, how do you keep your team members across all departments motivated and empowered to continue building the company and innovating for growth?
The most challenging — and rewarding! — part of my job is getting team members across multiple departments aligned on our vision and how we reach it so that we can inspire our teams. We are most enabled and motivated when we are all working together towards a big, well-articulated and inspiring goal. It’s a continuous work in progress, but it’s so important for keeping us motivated and connected.
How are employees empowered to help shape or participate in the office culture?
We have something we call the “ReCharge” committee that enables our employees to participate by suggesting ways we can be enhancing our office culture: events, volunteering, office environment improvements and more. We have also been implementing more employee engagement surveys to take a pulse on what we could be doing better, from leadership to communications to social impact.
We are most enabled and motivated when we are all working together towards a big, well articulated and inspiring goal.”
Over time, strong cultures tend to develop beloved traditions. Tell us about a team or company tradition.
In Boulder, a few of our employees have started a culture of “Wednesday Night Camping.” After work, Recurlians who love to camp meet up 20-30 minutes away in the mountains to camp out for the night. They come back the next morning with awesome pics and stories. It’s a great way to make new friends in the office and have a nice mid-week break to look forward to.
Alexis Carroll, Software Engineer
Alexis is a software engineer on the payments team, monitoring and maintaining data integrity across Recurly’s services and identifying third-party integration changes.
LEADING THE PACK: When biking with friends on challenging or unfamiliar trails, Alexis appreciates sharing his leadership and teamwork by taking the lead and making sure the group stays safe.
How has Recurly encouraged and supported you to continue building your engineering skills?
I have regular check-ins with my manager about what skills I am learning or want to learn, and I am able to make that continuous learning part of my daily schedule. It’s nice to know that I can take time and classes to polish a particular skill. We also host meetups every other month in the office, which makes collaborative learning really convenient.
The team is always willing to stick it out with you on a problem, even if they are in a different department.”
How do you promote value for your team? How do you generate value?
My team is made up of software engineers that have, for the most part, always been software engineers. This allows me to tap into my other roles and provide a different point of view or context. I joined Recurly as a support engineer taking the low-level issues and bugs, then I moved up to solutions engineer gaining responsibility for larger issues and being a point person for some larger merchants and assisting with feature adoption and technical inquiries. These two roles allowed me to see the whole app and the variety of customers interactions with the app. When I moved to the engineering department, my previous experience has been invaluable and allows me to suggest new features and changes to existing functionality to make sure we are delivering what the customers want.
How is Recurly’s company culture different than previous companies in which you've worked?
The team is always willing to stick it out with you on a problem, even if they are in a different department. For example, during the fires in California last year, one of the staff’s mother lost her home and retirement as a result. Most people in the company donated to help her out. I have never seen that level of compassion in the workplace — to have the whole company with that mindset is something really remarkable.
Krista Diaz, Staff QA Software Engineer
As a staff QA engineer, Krista works to ensure quality across the full product’s scope. Her deep knowledge of both the product and its features allows her to see gaps and shortcomings, and helps her mentor new and junior team members on how product functionalities overlap.
CUE THE COACH: In her spare time, Krista plays pool in team leagues and tournaments. Coaching new players and syncing strategy with her teammates keeps her communication sharp, a skill that she shares with her Recurly team members.
How has Recurly encouraged and supported you to continue building your QA and programming skills?
Working with other employees that enjoy what they do and want to see each thing they build be better than the last has inspired me to always be learning. We created an internal working group to help determine what QA of the future means to Recurly. We opened this group to more than just QA, which allowed us insights to make our whole team better and begin building a foundation for moving forward together. Sharing criticisms constructively, openly and honestly across teams and departments to improve the company as a whole is incredibly empowering.
What's your favorite part or element of Recurly's culture?
Our heart. Recurly has an amazing group of employees. When someone needs more information, there are always multiple people that are willing to dive in and help and make sure that you can move forward in an informed way. Even when it's after-hours and the people around don't know the answers, they're willing to talk through the issue and figure it out together, which is amazing because everyone comes out the side with a bit more knowledge and depth and everyone can grow because of the teamwork involved.
Sharing criticisms constructively, openly and honestly across teams and departments to improve the company as a whole is incredibly empowering.”
When it comes to building culture, what is your philosophy? What aspects are most important?
Inclusivity and variety — if you can't or don't want to join in on whatever is happening, that's OK. You shouldn't feel pressured to make guacamole if you don't like avocados — there are plenty of people that do love those ugly green things. But just because you skipped the Guac-Off doesn't mean you can't rock the Chili Cook-Off when it comes around. Join the things that interest you, bow out of the ones that don't, and participate at the level you feel comfortable with. Having that flexibility to be an individual and be more involved when something interacts with your passions lets each event have its own flair.