With the ever-increasing speed and mobility of our day-to-day, there’s no time for rifling through paper, scrolling through endless files, and maintaining data sheets to track down your basic (but highly sensitive) employee information. At Zenefits, we’re powered by building the ultimate People Platform that eliminates this recurring hassle so employees can make their days more productive. In order to successfully architect the best workplace software, we are constantly learning from our customers and partners to understand what unique tactics help them run successful, engaged teams. If there’s one thing we’ve consistently learned, it’s that prioritizing your people to ensure they feel connected and supported at work will always have a positive impact on your business.
eShares, a Zenefits customer, is a technology platform where 6,000+ companies manage their equity and complete regular 409A valuations. Founded in 2012 by Henry Ward, the company has grown rapidly and in August of 2017, eShares acquired the Silicon Valley Bank Analytics to cement its position as the leading provider of private company valuations. Long story short? They’re building a critical tool that employers and employees alike value, and they do so by staying focused and having a lot of fun along the way. Keep reading to discover how eShares constructs their workplaces, starts their days, and continuously prioritizes relationship building at work. We don’t know about you, but we’ll definitely be taking a page out of their ‘culture’ book!
The eShares team doesn’t have a ‘headquarters’. Instead, we have many small offices around the world, each capped at 70 employees. This is because we believe in Dunbar’s Rule, which states that teams break down when they grow too large. Currently, eShares has six offices based in Seattle, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Rio, New York, and London, with more coming soon.
In addition to having many locations, every office is cross-functional. For example, at our Rio office, we don’t just hire engineers, we also hire onboarding managers, customer success managers, marketers and designers. What this means is that while every eShares office is small, they don’t become silo-ed and are connected to all the other offices via regular team meetings and projects.
Ultimately, our smaller offices are ideal workspaces for communication, support and problem-solving, but by distributing teams we are able to keep everyone connected as we scale.
Unlike most companies, eShares believes in the benefit of interrupting one another. We believe that individuals should not be forced to struggle through a task alone. Instead, part of our onboarding program teaches new hires to ask for assistance from any employee to help them effectively complete their tasks and improve our product.
Another way eShares stays proactive is by using Zoom. Zoom is a video conference application that makes it easy for all our offices around the world to connect. This means that our pro-interruption culture isn’t just relegated to in-person shoulder taps, but also allows for reaching out to anyone on the team at any time digitally as well. With the push of a button, asking for help or solving a problem collaboratively is made easy, and we’re all on the same page about that expectation.
Working together is one thing, but forming productive, complimentary bonds is another. eShares has a number of customs that ensure we all get to know one another. The first is that we start every day at 8:30, and on Tuesday and Thursday’s we start with an hour-long all-hands meeting called “Show and Tell.” By starting at the same time every day, we ensure that everyone is in the office at the same time and easy to reach. Show and Tell is a particularly valuable meeting because any employee from any team can share what they have been working on and give status updates. This constant communication allows everyone to get to know the professional accomplishments of our peers.
In addition to “Show and Tell,” every month we have an event called “Company Day” that alternates between Palo Alto and San Francisco. On company day everyone comes together in the same office and at the end of the workday, we play cards, share stories, enjoy beers and connect, deepening existing friendships and building new ones. These needn’t be expensive events — but making it a priority to come together in person only strengthens our workplace collaboration.
Lastly, once a year we do an eShares company-wide camping trip! Filled with peers and beers (and plenty of non-alcohol based refreshments), this excursion also allows everyone to get to know one another by pairing co-workers randomly for activities like rock climbing, river-rafting, and hiking.
So, as you can see, different companys have varied approaches to building bonds that facilitate great work. Whether it’s agreeing on digital “shoulder taps”, uniting for monthly outings or having weekly walking meetings, we hope you find inspiration from the eShares team on how they’re building a great place to work.
Read more about how eShares grows externally, by first growing internally here!