Companies Hiring, Executive Feature

Feedback & Meeting-Free Wednesdays: How Shopify Beats the Competition

“Our employees’ feelings of belonging are not an afterthought at Shopify.”

So much for the stereotype that diversity is a recruiting ploy or “nice to have.” According to David King, Shopify’s Director of Employee Experience, Diversity and Belonging, the importance of employee engagement, né belonging, is core to the Canadian-based employer. “I think people should apply to a role here because employee experience is at the forefront for us, and this includes our employees’ feelings of belonging,” says King. “We’re always working on this by making sure it’s embedded in all of the ways we work. We have full trust in everyone that joins our team to take the reins on accelerating their personal growth and learning.”

Over the past year, Shopify, the leading cloud-based, multi-channel commerce platform, has doubled down on feedback channels and allowing employees to devote time to “unstructured thinking.” This process of slowing down to speed up has served the tech company well. Shopify has been named #6 on the list of Best Places to Work in Canada, earning an impressive 4.4 out of 5.0 rating.

“Great team environment, amazing culture and benefits, and love being able to work either remotely or in the office,” says one Shopify Merchant Success Team Lead in Waterloo, Ontario.

And, luckily for job seekers, they’re hiring. With nearly 600 open roles ranging from data scientist to customer success, marketing, engineer and sales reps, here’s why Shopify was named a 2019 Best Place to Work, and why you should consider clicking “Apply” on one of their open jobs.

Glassdoor: Congratulations on winning a Best Places to Work award! This must be exciting.

David King: It’s always an honor to receive any award that celebrates the culture and teams we’ve worked hard to build, especially when it’s based on authentic employee feedback. The products we build are only as good as the people who build them and we want to continue to give our employees a valuable and meaningful experience for all the time and energy they put into making Shopify a great place to work.

Glassdoor: What are two or three steps Shopify has taken within the last year to double down on company culture, employee engagement and employee feedback that may have led to this win?

David King: Personal growth has always been super important to us. This past year we enhanced our performance feedback experience by introducing Fellow.app. It’s a tool that helps our employees have intentional conversations so they can continue to advance and level up, faster. Another initiative we implemented this year was No Meeting Wednesdays. One of our values is to thrive on change, so our employees are asked to decline all internal meetings on Wednesdays and devote time to unstructured thinking, building, creating and gaining perspective. Another thing I’m excited to continue to foster in 2019 is our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Employees have always self-organized based on their shared dimensions of diversity, on channels like Slack and in-person events. This year, we’ve put strategy and investment behind this to create formal ERGs with executive sponsors. We’re constantly evolving our employee experience as we grow — this is something companies of all sizes should be doing.

Glassdoor: This award speaks volumes about the company, but also signals to job seekers that this is an amazing place to work. Why should job seekers apply for an open role at Shopify? What are two to three benefits, practices or traditions that are unique to your company?

David King: We’re looking for people that go above and beyond in everything they do. Folks who fall in love with the problems they solve at work and outside of work. I think people should apply to a role here because employee experience is at the forefront for us, and this includes our employees’ feelings of belonging. We’re always working on this by making sure it’s embedded in all of the ways we work — it’s not an afterthought at Shopify. We have full trust in everyone that joins our team to take the reins on accelerating their personal growth and learning. This happens in many ways, one of which is our Own Your Own Development program. It’s a benefit we offer to all of our employees to build the skills they choose to level up. We also have a whole team dedicated to Learning Acceleration for our employees and they’re constantly evolving our programs based on feedback. Another investment we made this year was creating our first R&D Summit, two days dedicated to developing craft excellence through a series of talks, and workshops led by our employees. This initiative helps to advance the skills of our R&D teams by investing in their growth and well-being. I could go on forever about all of the reasons to join the team, but really it all comes down to the fact you get to work on big, global problems with a group of people who care just as much as you do.

Shopify Ottawa team environment

Glassdoor: What kinds of roles are your company prioritizing right now? What types of innovation are you investing in within that specific department?

David King: We’re here to help anyone with a great idea start and grow a business and there are many people that can add value to our mission of making commerce better for everyone. That said, UX, Engineering and Data Science are the top priorities for talent right now. We’re always looking for new people to join our team in Canada and internationally.

Glassdoor: What insights can you share about the interview process at Shopify? What types of questions do you ask, and what sort of soft skills do you look for?

David King: From intern to executive, everyone at Shopify has had “the Life Story” interview. It’s a process we designed in our early days to help us get to know the real person, rather than their interview persona. Essentially, it’s a two-sided conversation about what you’re interested in, how you’ve shown up in different areas of your life and which accomplishments you value the most. Everyone at Shopify is solving difficult problems on a daily basis, so there is a resilience and commitment to learning that everyone here embodies. We’re going to support you to get there, but you’ll need to have a growth mindset. We try to select for this in our hiring process by looking beyond your [previous] job titles or which school you went to.

Glassdoor: How are you using Glassdoor to attract the types of candidates you’re looking for?

David King: We’ve been using Glassdoor to promote our jobs since we started. It’s a great way for candidates to get to know about our culture and our interview process directly from their peers.

Shopify interns at work inside Shopify s Ottawa headquarters

Glassdoor: David, what made you want to join Shopify? What advice do you have for other companies looking to retain top talent like Shopify has?

David King: I joined Shopify because I value what the company has done, both in driving product innovation and building a great work environment. I know that the only way I can positively impact the employee experience is planning and investing for the long haul. We’re focused on building for the long term, so that means that we invest not only in the products we’re creating but in the people that help create them. All companies should be focused on retention — you can’t build a successful company without employees who want to stick around to help you build it. Your best employees will want to contribute their time and talents in an environment where they’re inspired and feel like they are making a meaningful impact.

Glassdoor: What’s on the horizon for Shopify?

David King: People at Shopify build products for more than half a million entrepreneurs — from Berlin to Tokyo — and those businesses are serving millions of buyers worldwide. We’re continuing to grow in Canada and internationally to support independent business owners around the world. The scale is limitless.

 

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