Here at Zapier, we are ecstatic to announce that our very own Maggie Roque, Director of Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Equity (DIBE), has been recognized by Untapped as a ‘Walk the Walk’ Award winner, alongside the top DEIB leaders of 2022! 🎉
The purpose of Untapped's Top DEIB Leaders of 2022 'Walk the Walk' is to recognize the people challenging the status quo and pushing #DEIB forward in their organizations and communities.
At #Zapier, we believe in DIBE as DNA. As a result of Maggie's leadership, Zapier now has year-by-year goals with supporting initiatives — including how we will measure success for each of our DIBE pillars: people, product, and the public good. Maggie has refined our DIBE strategy in alignment with Zapier’s mission, values, and business strategy. Her work helps ensure all Zapiens, especially our leaders, are equipped with the knowledge, tools, and resources to make it a consistent and standard way of operating. She has also provided mentorship to our employee resource groups, which include BIPOC of Zapier, Women of Zapier, and Prizm (LGBTQIA+).
No matter what, at Zapier we can count on Maggie to align and empower our team toward tremendous DIBE impact as we pursue our mission to make automation work for everyone. We are so proud of you, Maggie! Congratulations on this well-deserved award!
Learn more about Untapped and the 2022 award recipients HERE
Below is an article originally written by Zapier People Team. Go to Zapier's Company Pageon PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Learn about Zapier's Next Play Program and other initiatives that help Zapier teammates grow in their careers.
Starting a new job is exciting, and we put a lot of thought into how we bring people into Zapier—comprehensive onboarding, swag, and a flurry of greetings. We talk a lot about who's joining our teams, often long before the moment arrives. But when it comes to departures, historically, it was common to have unexpected notices (as little as two weeks) and feelings of surprise or guilt for all involved.
Earlier this year, after losing several teammates, Zapier Business Recruiting Manager Bonnie Dilber had an idea: what if we normalized letting our managers know when we were exploring new roles? What if managers helped their team members with resumes or interview prep and were by their side, helping them land that next role?
It's an awkward conversation, for sure, but should it be?
A few weeks later, Bonnie made an off-hand comment in a public forum that she wanted the Zapier Talent Acquisition (Recruiting) team to start providing this kind of support and was open to anyone reaching out that needed help exploring internally or externally.
A few people reached out.
- One person was considering leaving. We identified some roles that would be opening this summer that would be perfect for them, so instead of working on their resume for an external search, we mapped out people they could talk to and experiences they could gain to be competitive for that role in six months.
- Another teammate was able to figure out the conversations they needed to have to resolve their issues, and now seems to be on a path to being happier in their current role instead of seeking something new.
- And another person has an upgraded resume with lots of really clear metrics to show their impact. They don't know if or when they'll start looking, but they expressed that they felt supported even though it might take them away in the future.
We don't want to retain people at Zapier because they lack options or don't know where to get started in their search. We want to retain them because they know what's available—and choose us because we're the best place to work for them.
We were so thrilled about these conversations and outcomes that we decided to formalize the program.
Helping Zapier teammates find their next job
Our new Zapier's Next Play Program supports any Zapier teammate on their internal or external job search. Yes, this might mean that we help some people plan out their exit strategy. But we're ok with that. It makes our Talent Acquisition team better partners to the departments we support, and we think it will help us to retain our people in the long run. It will open the door to more honest conversations across teams, help us plan for attrition, and support our people to go further faster. And it will make Zapier a better place to work.
Here's what the program looks like.
For Zapier teammates exploring roles within Zapier
1. Growth plans
Growth plans are the main tool folks use to help think through their next job at Zapier (or elsewhere). We have a formalized (but optional!) growth plan process, which encourages folks to identify goals and how they'll achieve them.
2. Internal job board
100% of open roles are posted on our internal job board. Zapier teammates can apply to open roles directly from that page after discussing with their manager. We also have internal visibility into all roles in our annual hiring plan—including those not yet officially open.
3. Career Pathways
We've created "Career Pathways" to help teammates learn about and pursue roles at Zapier outside their current team and growth trajectory. Folks can learn what different roles are like, if they might be a good fit, and what skills they'd need to develop to succeed in that role.
For Zapier teammates exploring roles outside of Zapier
Of course, Zapier's Talent Acquisition team also supports teammates looking for roles beyond Zapier. We want to help our people grow their careers—whether that's at Zapier or elsewhere.
1. People Business Partners
We first ask teammates thinking about exploring roles outside of Zapier to share this interest with both their manager and their People Business Partner, a People Ops team member dedicated to talent and culture strategy.
2. Dedicated email address
After doing that—or, if folks aren't comfortable with that first step—they can email a dedicated Zapier email address expressing their interest in exploring external roles.
Messages sent to this email address are received only by three people: our Chief People Officer, Brandon, and our two recruiting managers. All conversations are confidential within that group until the person gives us permission to pull in others to help.
We've already had a few people reach out for these conversations. In each case, they've shared their career interests, and we've looked at Zapier's upcoming hiring plans together to identify potential opportunities and pathways within Zapier. We've also identified next steps: informational interviews, conversations with different hiring managers, and reviewing job descriptions together to see where their skills align.
So far, everyone we've spoken to had already chatted with their manager before reaching out, but if they hadn't, we'd also talk through how they could broach the subject with their manager so that everyone was on the same page.
3. Hands-on support
If the person allows us to open the conversation to a limited number of other folks on the team, we'll do everything we can to prepare them for their next role.
- We'll recommend specific companies that might be a good fit for them.
- Where possible, we'll recommend specific Zapier alumni for them to speak to.
- We'll share advice on how to prepare a resume, CV, or LinkedIn profile based on what the teammate has accomplished at Zapier.
- We'll host mock interviews and share interviewing prep resources.
- We'll demo how to set up useful search terms on LinkedIn or other job boards.
We provide this same job search support to any Zapier teammate whose job is affected as a result of a team re-org or who is leaving their role for performance reasons. The only folks who won't receive this kind of support are teammates who leave due to violations of our code of conduct.
Building a new normal
When someone joins Zapier, they choose us as the right place to grow their career, and we want to reciprocate that trust through how we support our teammates at every stage of their Zapier experience—all the way through becoming an alum.
And in the end, it's a win-win. The teammate has a better experience and is more set up for success, and their manager, team, and company can better prepare for departures. We don't want to see our people leave, but when they do, we want to be sure they flourish.
Everyone will have a "next job" eventually—whether at Zapier or another company. This kind of support should be the norm. Recruiting teams should not solely be used to fill roles. We can and should be true partners in not just hiring but retaining and growing our talent.
Below is an article originally written by Kris Walls. Go to Airkit's Company Page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Today, Kyung Bae builds large-scale, complex solutions for Airkit customers. He specializes in dreaming up and building software tools that have an outsized impact. The type of tools that save Airkit users hours and hours of time while leveling up their company’s customer experience. But, his path to becoming Head of Solutions Engineering at Airkit starts with a 1980s movie starring a young Matthew Broderick.
The year was 1983 and the movie WarGames had just come out.
Kyung Bae was still a few years shy of high school. He had an Apple IIe, a pretty solid knowledge of the programming language, BASIC, and an idea — he’d build a replica of the sentient computer program in WarGames that almost triggered a nuclear war. Only, instead of triggering a catastrophone, Kyung’s program would just temporarily lock a player out of their computer if they lost.
The fun Kyung had programming never really went away. It just rode alongside Kyung as he studied electrical engineering in college. Even after getting his degree, computer science felt more natural than electrical engineering, so he dove into software engineering, starting out in the world of finance.
Diving into Software
Kyung worked as a software engineer at what was then one of the five biggest investment banking enterprises in the country. At this particular moment, multi-tier application architecture wasn’t exactly popular like it is today, but Kyung and his team of two were still doing it. They built an app from scratch, connecting a database with a server side app and a services layer.
“That gave me a really good first taste of architecting applications from the ground up,” said Kyung.
It also gave Kyung a good sense for what you’d classify as stellar application architecture and what you might say could use improvement. He knew the difference between the two intuitively and empirically. So, when Kyung used enterprise software applications his employer had purchased, he quickly found some areas for improvement.
“I remember you couldn’t merge one table with another if only one of the tables contained data. You’d submit enhancement requests to the software manufacturer or report bugs, and they’d get back to you in like three months,” said Kyung.
Kyung had the ability to dream up ideas and then build solutions from scratch, but he also had an eye for how to improve on software that was already out there to make the customer’s, or developer’s, experience better.
Finding a Better Way to Build
When Kyung joined one of the nation’s largest insurance companies, MetLife, as a Chief Enterprise Architect, he used those twin abilities to help both engineering teams and sales teams succeed. His team was somewhat affectionately known as SWAT. They were the team of engineers you call in when one group of engineers needs help getting an app or project across the finish line.
There was one particularly memorable project Kyung worked on that underscored the importance of both user experience and application architecture. MetLife was rolling out a new global sales platform. This was a multi-year project with millions and millions of dollars on the line.
The engineers working on it had spent years developing the platform and had gone through three or four full restarts. As in, scrapping all the code they wrote and starting from scratch. Unsurprisingly, Kyung’s team was called in.
The existing sales platform was rolled out on CD-ROMs every year, meaning that in order for a customer or client to install the new software, they needed the latest CD-ROM.
Anytime you have to use stamps in the rollout of software, something has gone awry. Kyung and his team worked with a team of engineers to come up with a better plan and got the massive global sales platform up and running in a matter of months.
The Airkit Experience
Kyung’s first experience with Airkit was actually trying to replicate Airkit for MetLife. At the time, one of the insurance company’s clients was vetting vendors to digitize a high-volume, traditionally analog process of receiving Statement of Health forms. These forms are filled out by insurance customers by hand and sent to the insurance provider. Processing all of the vital information on those pieces of paper is a tremendously important, but at times tedious task. It’s one that Airkit streamlines by capturing that information in a digital, self-serve flow. No pens or pencils required.
Before the client settled on Airkit, Kyung’s employer wanted to see if they could build something like Airkit to win the vendor battle. Kyung built it using an in-house, Airkit-like platform but had to build most of the functionality from the ground up. The client went with Airkit. Then, so did Kyung.
Now, at Airkit as Head of Solutions Engineering, Kyung focuses on building solutions that solve a broad swath of problems for customers. For example, Airkit’s new Claims Hub came from a cross-functional team effort between Solutions Engineering, Sales, and Customer Support at Airkit.
The Claims Hub essentially helps businesses collect, track, and take action on any part of a customer’s journey. So, whether that’s triggering a welcome email after a customer signs up, or tracking a refund request, you can do it in the Claims Hub. Projects like this save customers from building out the infrastructure to solve problems themselves, giving them more time to focus on their own important work.
Culture in the Time of Covid-19
When I began writing this entry on culture in the time of Covid-19, I initially had a doom and gloom outlook on the future of organizational culture. However, through deeper insight and conversations with colleagues and clients, I realized that the pandemic has instead provided an opportunity for companies. This time and the challenges brought with it have provided organizations a cultural diagnostic in and of itself. The measures companies have taken to address Covid-19 put a microscope on culture that exposes things more visibly than ever before. Think about how you have defined your culture and look back at the past year. Is your organization’s definition of culture still reflected in your workforce?
In our model of organizational culture at Collective Insights, culture is an interconnected system of elements that carry the instructions for company growth, development, and day-to-day functioning. Of the six elements, place is a key component of the system, and place has been substantially altered for most of us since March. “Place” is the geography, architecture, aesthetic design, and physical location of your organization that inherently impacts the values and behaviors of people in your workplace. However, our new “workplace” during the pandemic is within the confines of an individual’s home or a transformed space that adheres to the restrictions of Covid-19. It is no longer the shared, in-person location we traditionally identified as the work-“place”. Since organizational culture is an interconnected system of elements, this dramatic shift in place puts significant strain on the five other elements:
- Behaviors – those actions that the company encourages, discourages, accepts, or rejects
- People – the individuals we work with, hire, and retain
- Values – a set of beliefs held by the company that explicitly define expected behaviors for how work is done
- Purpose – the company’s “reason-for-being”
- Stories – those narratives shared and passed down by employees
When nurtured the right way, these elements can align successfully with your strategy to create a powerful combination. Right now, all companies have had to develop strategies to deal with the operational, financial, and human capital (e.g. employee fatigue) strains that have arisen due to the pandemic. In concert, leadership is faced with the stark reality of whether or not their Covid-19 strategy is consistent with the values and purpose of their company culture.
Make a deliberate effort to focus on your company’s purpose and values. Do your current actions and decisions align with your purpose and values?
Consider if leadership decisions and actions, especially in handling the impact of the pandemic, reflect the purpose and values that define your company’s culture. Is your company doing what it says it believes in? Are leadership behaviors, especially in decision making, reflecting what they say their culture stands for?
Have there been actions or decisions that conflict with your organization’s purpose and values?
If so, how can you address these contradictions in leadership behaviors and the impact such actions have had on the “current” culture (i.e. cultural climate) in comparison to the culture the company says it upholds? This is key to prevent lost trust from your employees and customers.
How can leadership avoid making these contradictions in future decisions and actions?
If you cannot avoid these contradictory decisions to keep your business operating, then address each decision with upfront communications that incorporate the language, tone, and spirit of your culture and values.
Show empathy, transparency, and awareness of the conflicts. Bring your customers and employees along the journey with you, to help them see why leadership had to make the difficult decisions they did, and hopefully maintain (or even grow) their trust in your organization along the way.
Leaders should act as “advocates” of your company values and exhibit these in their communications and actions as frequently and consistently as possible.
What is the story being imprinted on the “organizational mind” of your company right now? Is it the narrative you want to be shared and passed down in the coming years?
Write the story taking place right now the way you want it to be remembered. There is no doubt this moment in time, and the way it is handled, will be personally remembered for years to come. This 2020 narrative will be imprinted on the “organizational mind” forever – passed down by current, previous, and potential employees and customers.
How are employees interacting in this new virtual environment? Are new mediums and cadences being put in place, and do they effectively bring your culture and values to life?
Redesign your company’s “socialization process” to take advantage of the current all-virtual environment. Bring employees together from across the organizational hierarchy to talk about the culture, what is going well and not well, so they are able to get to truly know colleagues from across the company. This redesign facilitates exposure to a wider, more varied set of experiences in understanding your company.
Research has shown that culture is more about shared values – making sure all employees believe they share the same organizational culture – than physical artifacts and place. All-remote companies argue that their model is more effective in communicating and facilitating shared values across the organization than in the in-person model, claiming how seldom a coincidental watercooler chat will occur between individuals on another floor or building.
This year and all of the challenges brought with it have put the magnifying glass on leadership action and the culture that is truly being upheld within organizations. Use this time to reflect on your organization and better understand how your culture manifests itself within the workforce. For instance, if your organization claims to foster collaboration and initiatives, and you see ad hoc teams popping up, then your people and their behaviors are reflecting the values defined within your culture. However, if you see aspects of your people, stories and behaviors that do not reflect your organization’s definition of culture, it is time to reevaluate and take serious consideration of if and how your culture is being upheld during this shift in environment and working conditions.
Consider, if the challenge is maintaining your current company culture in this new normal or if the challenge is tweaking, or even reinventing, your culture to meet the new normal. If you are a leader, use the guide above to steer through the evaluation and solutioning process. If you are a current or prospective employee, use this guide to assess the organization’s handling of culture in one of the most challenging times in our history. You decide if their approach aligns with the values, purpose, and stories written on the walls, website, and employee handbook purported by the leadership and company itself.