Monday Jun 4, 2012 by Adam Landsman - Director of Sales, Seamless
It’s fun to work for a tech company. Actually – it’s really, really fun to work for a tech company: people work hard, play hard, and have a strong sense of camaraderie. But as they always say, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. With all that fun comes long hours and late nights filled with a whole lot of hard work. It seems like a no-brainier that, if you’re going to be putting a lot of hours in at the office, you’d like to be surrounded by co-workers and an environment that you find motivating, collaborative, enjoyable and (obviously) fun.
Twelve years ago, Seamless began with two lawyers and an idea. Today, we are 270 people strong, working across 12 major US metros and London. We are where we are because of the innovation and sheer determination of the people on our team. It is no stretch to say that the secret to our success has been through talent acquisition. A company and a product are only as good as the people behind the scenes who work hard and believe in the mission. Sure, we’ve had our missteps (doesn’t everyone?), but we’ve learned a lot about attracting top talent, getting this talent to perform at very high levels and keeping them with us for a long time.
Keep it in the family – People want to work with fun, smart people (in that order), so that’s exactly the type of person we want to hire. In our experience, most fun and smart people tend to know other fun and smart people. So if you’re hiring, step one should be asking current employees for referrals. This has been the single most successful recruiting tool for us, by far. You can breathe a sigh of relief with candidates who come through referrals for two very good reasons. One – candidates who come in through referrals tend to know a lot about the company and culture before walking into the interview, so they have a good sense of what it is they’re getting themselves into and are apt to hit the ground running quickly and excitedly. Two – employees know that referrals are a reflection on them, and will tend to only refer someone with whom they think will be the best fit and performer for the role. No one wants to risk their internal cred with a less than stellar recommendation.
Buddy Up – Peanut butter and jelly, Bonnie and Clyde, Mickey and Minnie – everything is better with a buddy by your side. When hiring new employees the buddy system is nearly flawless. Everyone knows that it’s never fun or easy to be the new person in a work environment and hiring people in pairs turns out to be extremely beneficial and important as it creates an immediate connection between the two people and a comfort level that they may not otherwise find so early on. At first we thought it was a coincidence but then it became crystal clear that when we hired two or more people in a department at the same time, those new hires got acclimated faster, became more productive and stayed with the company longer. Today, the buddy system and “hiring in pairs” is an active part of our recruiting strategy.
Make Room – Fences might make for great neighbors but they pretty much kill collaboration and community within an office environment. Last November, when we moved into a new office space, we said goodbye to individual offices and closed-off conference space and welcomed an open and office-less work space with glass walls around some of the most private rooms. This openness added a sense of togetherness and transparency, which are values that important to us and reflective of our culture.
When drumming up the floor plan for these new offices, we dedicated a lot of space to a community pantry area for people to eat together. Six months later this is, by far, the most used area of the office. The investment in space for the pantry has paid off big time (full disclosure: there’s always free food hanging around, too, which brings us to our next point).
Fill up the tank – Don’t you love those candy bar commercials where hungry people turn into unrecognizable, angry, mean versions of themselves? We love these ads because – let’s be honest – we can so easily relate to them. An employee’s highest quality and most productive work will almost never get done on an empty or rumbling stomach as they’ll lack focus and energy. Companies like Google and Facebook recognized the benefit of feeding their teams early on. Today, providing food for employees is fast becoming an expected perk, especially within tech companies fighting to attract top talent. It’s a mutually beneficial perk – employees will work even harder and be more engaged, but they’ll be really happy about it, too. Some of the very best brainstorming sessions I’ve been a part of started with a pepperoni pizza and ended with some cupcakes.
We want to love where we work: it’s where we spend most of our time and is where much is expected of us. Happy employees are passionate employees and that shows in the work they do and the results they produce. So do yourselves and your company a favor: surround these valuable and engaged employees with similar talent and watch your company thrive as a reflection of the people behind it.