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Zapier Inc

The Privilege Of Keeping Support Weird At Zapier

Below is an article originally written by Pam Dodrill, the VP of Customer Support at PowerToFly Partner Zapier, and published on October 1, 2018. Go to Zapier's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

I'm excited to announce that I'm joining Zapier as VP of Customer Support. Ever since I saw my first Zapier alert in a former role, I've been curious about what the company is building. And as soon as I mentioned to friends and colleagues that I was in discussions for this role, they all had big reactions and told me how much they love what Zapier is doing with integrations and automation. I'm a huge fan and I'm eager to join this fast-growing company and 100% remote team.

The approach this company takes to its customers, employees and overall business impresses me beyond measure. The company culture and values were the first thing I looked at and "Empathy, no Ego" along with "Default to Action" and "Default to Transparency" jumped out at me. This is how I work. During my interview process, I found real-life examples of these values at work, stories that validated what the company was advertising.

The other thing that struck me is how Zapier pushes normal limits. I mean - 100% remote team, not just support team, but the whole team? Anyone that knows me, knows I've been advocating for remote teams for well over a decade - probably more like 2 if I'm honest. This company knows how to do it right - AND they share their lessons learned.

In general, Zapier is a company that wants to learn best practices and then gets focused on how to improve those practices and makes them work for their individual company needs. This is so much better than just running through a prescribed playbook. I'm elated to apply this approach while leading Zapier's Support team.

During my research, I also ran across this post about why everyone at Zapier participates in All Hands Support - written by Wade Foster (one of Zapier's co-founders) that lists 6 really good reasons why this is important. For me, it puts empathy for the customer at the center of how we do business and it guarantees the Support team gets the respect they deserve.

As I met with different members of the Support team I realized there is an inherent passion for Customer Support and an esprit d'coeur that only exists in organizations that are genuinely excited about what they are doing. But what struck me most is they get it. They know what they want to do. They don't need me to come in and tell them what to do or do it for them. They just need help harvesting and implementing their ideas through hyper-growth while maintaining a fabulous customer experience.

It's really hard to pick a favorite thing I learned while interviewing, but I think I'd pick this: Keep Support Weird. I was told on numerous occasions that it is very important to the team, as they choose a new leader, to find someone who will help Keep Support Weird. After stumbling into a Support role at the age of 16 and turning it into a career, I understand this completely. It's one of those things that if I have to explain it, you won't understand.

I feel so privileged to join this team. If you know what it means to Keep Support Weird, check out these jobs and join us.

Zapier Inc

Lessons Learned From Working Remotely As An Accountant

Below is an article originally written by Brandi Shuttera, an Accountant at PowerToFly Partner Zapier, and published on November 30, 2018. Go to Zapier's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

When most people think of accountants and accounting jobs, they think of someone sitting behind a desk in an office, meeting with clients, and dealing with piles of paperwork. Working from home—without any face-to-face meetings or paper handoffs—might not seem possible.

When I first looked at the possibility of finding an accounting job I could do remotely, the odds didn't look too good. Most of the accounting jobs that were open to remote work were tax-related, which didn't align with my current accounting experience and was not the type of job I was interested in. Considering the amount of paperwork staff accountants typically deal with and how closely I worked with others at my in-office job, I figured accounting was out of the question when it came to working remotely.

Fast forward to a few years later…I came across a job opening at Zapier, a 100% distributed company, for an accountant role and knew I had to go for it! I had already set up an office at home that was a happy environment that I was ready to use. I also saw other benefits of being able to work remotely other than utilize my new happy space:

  • Save time and money by removing the commuting portion of my day: over 13 hours a month on time and $80 a month on my gas and even auto insurance (since I was using my car less, my auto insurer lowered my rate).
  • Reduce my carbon footprint by at least 2.3 metric tons of CO2 a year!
  • A chance to benefit my health and well-being. Working from home allows me to make healthier meal choices, work in a cleaner office environment (and I get to control the thermostat!), and use my commuting time to jump on the treadmill every once in a while.
  • The ability to work from anywhere such as coffee shops, co-working spaces, or visiting friends and family.

I was nervous at first since I didn't know what to expect. How would an accounting position work in a remote world and how easy would it be to balance my work and home life, since my home was now also my work? Now that I'm six months in, the transition from working in such a paper-heavy environment to a practically paper-free one was easier than I thought. It ispossible to have a role that's not traditionally remote-friendly and still thrive.

Working Remotely as an Accountant: Lessons Learned

Meetings: When I worked in an office, I sat through many meetings that were either scheduled or impromptu, and there's nothing different in a remote setting other than it's via video conferencing. (Well maybe that and the elimination of having to find a conference room that hasn't already been booked.) It's just as easy to have impromptu meetings here at Zapier as it would be in any office. Spin up a Zoom meeting and share the link in your Slack channel and you can have that same sort of spur of the moment meetings, as long as all the participants are online at the same time.

Communication and water cooler moments: Communication is key when it comes to working on a remote accounting team. In my past experiences in working in an office, I would find out information from just hearing other conversations happening around me that gave me context of what was happening with the rest of the team. With remote work, you don't get that opportunity in the same way. But then there's Slack.

"Default to Transparency" is one of our company values, so it's good practice to use public channels as the main form of communicating in Slack even if your question is specific to one person. This will help keep the rest of the team in the loop on what others are working on and prevent folks from feeling isolated. Plus, if you have fun Slack channels set up like "#fun-food," you get the same camaraderie as you do in an office, but just at everyone's most convenient times.

Work: As for the accounting aspects of working remotely, I've found it's not much different from working in an office. We still have a weekly team meeting, 1:1 meetings, collaborate on shared files, knock out month-end financials together, and ask for each other's help/perspective on tasks we are working on. We use a lot of cloud-based apps that allow us to share and work on files together.

  • With Quickbooks Online we are all able to log in to add in journal entries, run reports, import transactions vs the desktop version which would limit access to one person.
  • Sharing spreadsheet files are easy with the ability to save Excel files in Box, or use Google Sheets and Excel Online, which both allows for the team to work simultaneously on one file.
  • We also use Google Docs often when working on writing policies and company announcements. It's a great way to share your work with the team and allows for everyone to add notes and editing suggestions.
  • Notejoy is another tool we use to collaborate notes as a whole for the Ops team. We've used this tool to track our weekly meeting notes, draft our team's weekly update post, and save any other notes that would be helpful to share with the team.

Zapier: Creating Zaps (our word for automated workflows between apps) has helped me decrease the time I spend on mundane tasks and helps to keep me up to date on tasks I need to work on. I use one Zap to reduce the amount of time I spend saving invoices that we receive to our box folder, and another to alert me on who has turned in an expense report. And yet another Zap to automatically add cards to my "To Do" Trello board for weekly recurring items.

Working remotely may seem like a foreign concept in the accounting world, but when you're set up with the right applications and an awesome team, it's totally achievable! (P.S., Zapier's fully remote and hiring.)

Zapier Inc

Culture And Values At Zapier

Below is an article originally written by Wade Foster, the Co-founder and CEO at PowerToFly Partner Zapier, and published on January 26, 2018. Go to Zapier's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

We help people be more efficient at work. We want to help you focus on the work that matters and automate the work that's tedious.

Today we serve two million people. We hope to one day serve everyone at work.

To make that happen, though, we have to invest in each other and invest in our team—especially since we're a small, but fast-growing company. Our culture is the primary way we achieve our organizational goals. And the way we've defined the culture is through a shared set of common values that every team at Zapier uses to help them make decisions, interact with each other and our customers, and get work done.

The Zapier Team Values

Each of these values are fleshed out through a simple good vs. bad comparison:

"A successful Zapier teammate does this"
vs. "A struggling Zapier teammate does that".

1. Default to Action

What this means: Most decisions are changeable. It's better to deliver something real today over something maybe better later.

Tips on how to apply this value:

"When I see a problem, I take action."
vs. "When I see a problem, I ignore it because it's someone else's job."

"If I'm unsure about something, I seek out help from my manager or a teammate."
vs. "I don't like to ask questions or raise issues because I'm afraid I'll look bad."

"I prefer to make a quick, decent decision instead of pursuing perfection."
vs. "I hold myself to making perfect or near-perfect decisions no matter the cost."

"When prioritizing my day, I focus on tasks that align with my team's goals."
vs. "I spin up new projects frequently and get frustrated when no one dedicates time to helping me."

"We tackle big hairy problems and take big bets diligently as team."
vs. "I make big, tough to reverse decisions on my own."

2. Default to Transparency

What this means: When working in a distributed, worldwide team staying on the same page is tough. Sharing context, goals, objectives, and in-progress work in public helps us all achieve a common goal.

Tips on how to apply this value:

"I keep my team members in tune with relevant information as it can be appropriately shared with context so there's rarely surprises."
vs. "I hold back information until the very point it needs to be shared, even if it is a surprise to my teammates, that's OK."

"I share my work with my peers early and often so we can course correct quickly."
vs. "I share my masterpiece at the end in a big grand reveal."

"I make it easy for others to follow my work by summarizing tasks accomplished and decisions made, and providing links to source material (such as a Slack thread) for deeper context."
vs. "I share raw notes and all details of my work and decisions, and expect others have the time to consume it all."

"I distill reporting to what's relevant to my audience, linking out to details that are already understood."
vs. "I share everything out of concern my audience might question my decision-making or productivity."

"When sensitive details come my way, I think twice and consult a manager before sharing publicly."
vs. "I share far and wide just for transparency's sake."

3. Grow Through Feedback

What this means: We all have personal goals and ambitions. Let's work together to help us all achieve our goals.

Tips on how to apply this value:

"When I hear feedback, I improve with it."
vs. "When I hear feedback, I disengage."

"I assume positive intent when receiving feedback."
vs. "I feel attacked when receiving feedback."

"When a teammate's work helps me, I say thanks by sharing how."
vs. "I keep feedback to myself."

"I reflect on and engage with learning opportunities."
vs. "I prefer to gloss over missteps or mistakes because it is more comfortable than addressing them head on."

"I participate in other people's development."
vs. "I stay silent to avoid hurting feelings or feeling uncomfortable."

"I provide feedback directly and compassionately."
vs. "I provide feedback without the ultimate goal of helping the other person."

"When change happens, I embrace new opportunities."
vs. "When change happens, I fear for the worst."

4. Empathy, No Ego

What this means: All of our teammates are smart and talented. When we work together we will be successful.

Tips on how to apply this value:

"I work with others to build on great ideas."
vs. "I work alone because my ideas are the best."

"I take interest in my teammates' and users' well being. I know with strong bonds we can go through any tough time together."
vs. "I treat my team as resources to help me achieve tasks that advance my interests."

"If the floor is dirty, I sweep the floor."
vs. "I wait for the janitor to sweep the floor because some jobs are below me."

Sometimes it's not about a big ego. Sometimes we need guidance on how to handle a bruised ego and learn to be forgiving of ourselves to take the next steps. These rules help give guidance for this set of situations:

"When I fail, I learn."
vs. "When I fail, I'm no good."

"I can learn anything I want to."
vs. "I'm either good at it or I'm not."

"When I'm frustrated I persevere."
vs. "When I'm frustrated I give up."

"If you succeed, I feel inspired."
vs. "If you succeed, I feel threatened."

5. Don't Be a Robot, Build the Robot

What this means: Invest in tools and processes that lead to outsized impact so Zapier can be more productive than a similar sized company.

Tips on how to apply this value:

"If I see repetitive tasks, I find tools, process, or code that can help us grow efficiently."
vs. "I keep doing things they way they've always been done because it's familiar."

"If I find something that works, I continually optimize the process."
vs. "When something works, I don't change it in fear of messing it up."

"I'm eager to find a better way to do my role, even if it works myself out of that role."
vs. "I avoid exploring new ways to do something out of fear that it'll impact my role."

"I prioritize effectiveness and impact over perfection and precision."
vs. "I make sure I achieve perfection in my work."

"I seek alternatives to growing headcount, searching for efficiencies first."
vs. "I default to encouraging hiring to solve the problems in front of us."

Zapier Inc

A Day in the Life of Zapier's Remote Team

What does a day of work look like at a fully distributed company like Zapier?

The video above shows several one second clips of an average day — an amazing inside look at how the Zapier team works.

Do you want to give the remote life a try?

Click here to see all of Zapier's available opportunities, and don't forget to press 'Follow' to receive custom job matches, event invitations and more!

Zapier Inc

Working on Diversity and Inclusivity at Zapier

Partner Content

Below is an article originally written by Wade Foster at PowerToFly Partner Zapier, and published on October 5, 2017. Go to Zapier's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

Diversity in tech is pretty uncommon. It takes effort and there's always more work that can be done towards that goal, since we're all human with our own hidden biases. We think it's worth pursuing, though. Diverse teams are more creative and build better products. They make better decisions and have more successful companies. They're better able to represent the global community at large.

At Zapier, we also think that hiring and fostering a diverse team is just the right thing to do. So over Zapier's last few biannual retreats and in our internal #diversity Slack channel, we've had candid conversations as a company about our hiring process—everything from language choices in our job postings to how we recruit potential teammates and administer skills tests.

As we continue to grow rapidly—we now have over 110 team members, compared to under 50 last year at this time—hiring inclusively is more important than ever. We want to demonstrate our dedication to building a warm, open, and inclusive work environment—one that's safe for people of all backgrounds, including historically underrepresented groups such as people of color, LGBTQ people, people over 40, those with disabilities, and women. We want to make sure we don't unintentionally discourage anyone from applying to Zapier, and we want to give everyone the opportunity to enjoy meaningful remote work here.

Several team members suggested publishing a public changelog of each step we've taken to improve our hiring process. This is that document.

The Changelog in Chronological Order

  • April 2015: Launched a new 14-week, paid parental leave policy to accommodate growing families.
  • August 2015: Set a requirement that every new position we hire for must be posted to the site with a job description.
  • August 2015: Outlined a standard hiring process across each role.
  • August 2015: Edited our job description template to ensure job descriptions use inclusive language and accurately describe the role.
  • September 2015: Created and publicized the Zapier Code of Conduct, then added it to our About page and each job opening.
  • January 2016: Redesigned the about page to show off our personalities and the people behind Zapier.
  • April 2016: Built a Google Chrome extension that hides the names and photos of applicants when we're reviewing applications in our hiring software to help reduce unconscious bias.
  • May 2016: Increased employer-sponsored health coverage to 90% for employees and 50% for spouses and dependents to make Zapier better for employees with families.
  • June 2016: Started a list of job boards with broader audiences to use when promoting new positions.
  • June 2016: Introduced the Zapier Management Framework and gave training to all managers based on the Manager Tools framework. Good managers know how to create safe spaces that allow people to grow and thrive.
  • August 2016: Changed our hiring application question from "Tell us about yourself" to "Tell us about your qualifications for this role".
  • August 2016: Added an optional, anonymous demographic survey for all job applicants to help us track and better understand the characteristics of our applicants over time.
  • August 2016: Published a public changelog (yup, this one!) summarizing our efforts to improve our hiring process.
  • August 2016: Started peer-reviewing each other's internal notes on applicants to make sure that interviewers use fair evaluation techniques for every candidate.
  • November 2016: Built a Google Chrome Extension for Workable that obscures and randomizes applicant photos and names, in an effort to combat unintentional bias in our hiring process.
  • May 2017: Rolled out our first Employee Satisfaction Survey so that we can gauge employee happiness and give people a safe space to voice their opinions.
  • June 2017: Started shuffling the about page daily to better showcase our team.
  • July 2017: Started using a tool called Fairgo that lets us evaluate applications based on answers to each individual question on our application form, while keeping the candidates anonymous.
  • July 2017: Started offering an Upfront Skills Test to allow engineering candidates to demonstrate skills if they don't have code they can share.
  • July 2017: Sent out our first teammate demographic survey so that we can take a look at where we're at and where we can continue to improve.
  • March 2018: Hired a Recruiter dedicated to Diversity Initiatives and Community Outreach.
  • April 2018: Sent out a new teammate demographic survey via Culture Amp to insure anonymity for Zapiens and to encourage candid feedback.

Some of these efforts have helped us reach a more diverse set of applicants. We're committed to improving this process. After each new hire, we review the hiring process with the hiring team and try to learn from each experience. We've also committed to reviewing our hiring process every six months at our team retreats to ensure we keep improving.

We also want to hear from you. If you have an idea based on your own experiences hiring, working on, and building diverse teams, please leave a suggestion for us.

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