Today, Armorblox was certified as a Great Place to Work™ based on detailed independent evaluations of our employees’ daily experiences. Kassidy Huynh, Head of People and Culture at Armorblox, shares her thoughts on why Armorblox is a Great Place to Work.
“In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.” - Lou Gerstner Jr., IBM
Lou’s words may be applicable across the board for organizations, but they’re especially prescient if one is looking to define culture at small businesses and early stage startups. At Armorblox, our culture is all about people and giving our people a framework within which they can express the best version of themselves. We have a tightly knit team of passionate people where everyone has a voice by default and everyone goes the extra mile for each other.
It’s easy for startups to fall into the trap of ‘execution first, culture later’. Armorblox made a conscious effort to instill cultural pillars and core values at its inception. We have built people programs that support our core values and internalize our culture everyday. Our core values are:
- Demonstrate selfless excellence
- Strive for continuous meaningful achievements
- Customers come first
- Interact with empathy
Demonstrate selfless excellence
At Armorblox, every employee has a tangible and material impact on the way our company creates value. We give employees the freedom and responsibility to own projects not directly related to their job function or seniority level, while taking care to provide the guidance and tools they need to excel both within and beyond their job role. This cross-pollination of work helps our employees empathize with each other’s roles and be flag-bearers for the company as a team.
We make sure that employees going beyond the call of duty are acknowledged and celebrated irrespective of the surface level magnitude of their contribution. A dedicated ‘kudos’ Slack channel is open to all employees to praise and celebrate their coworkers who display Armorblox values. On our monthly All Hands calls, we present a ‘212° award’ for employees that have demonstrated initiative to do more than what was asked of them. The 212° award symbolizes the temperature at which water boils, signifying the massive difference one extra degree (and one passionate employee) can make.
Strive for continuous meaningful achievements
Larger companies often get trapped in a cycle of quarterly earnings, diverting all efforts and attention to meeting quarterly targets while losing track of the little things (and sometimes the bigger things) in the process. At Armorblox, many of our teams - product, engineering, operations and marketing - follow a 2 week sprint cycle. Each sprint cycle starts with a collective goal setting exercise where everyone is involved to ensure transparency and autonomy. The collective goal setting exercise is followed by meaningful execution that prioritizes real impact over busywork disguised as activity. Our employees work together and help each other to meet these sprint deadlines, which in turn builds trust.
In every monthly All Hands call, each team presents their sprint progress and elevates achievements that may otherwise have gone under the radar. The teams then agree upon goals for the next sprint and begin executing on them. These shorter and focused bursts enable Armorblox employees to always be disciplined with execution without losing sight of longer term goals. This shared, transparent alignment leads to trust amongst employees and builds a happier, more informed, and more efficient team.
Customers come first
Our relentless pursuit of customer satisfaction is the bedrock upon which all Armorblox operations are built. Our employees frequently go the extra mile to create memorable experiences for customers and end users. Our team can be found handwriting customized “thank you” cards to our clients, checking in with our customers after-hours, providing extra onboarding sessions, promptly resolving support tickets outside office hours, and more.
We have created a company-wide process to internalize and act upon customer feedback. Every aspect of Armorblox is studied through the lens of the end user. Our team utilizes all these insights to continually explore how our products can better serve our customers. This continuous feedback process lends clarity to every employee’s role and helps ground their work in the context of how it helps move the needle for our customers.
Interact with empathy
At Armorblox, we make sure to NEVER reduce employees to just the sum total of their productivity. Every employee has their own story with real challenges and dreams. We do everything possible to minimize their challenges and cultivate their dreams, making them feel appreciated while also taking utmost care to avoid any burnout.
We go the extra mile for our employees in all of our locations; for instance, we ensured employees in India were offered the same stock options that employees in the US were offered and that their benefits were comparable as well. We worked for 6 solid months to establish an entity abroad to be able to provide this level of care. It may seem like a small feat but our team is small and we all worked cross-functionally to provide this because we go above and beyond for our employees.
When Armorblox went fully remote in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, our employees’ physical and mental well-being were always the top priority. We set up “Blox Talks” sessions which were dedicated meeting slots in the day for employees to virtually gather and talk through their day. We created a program called ‘Together Apart’ where we scheduled group activities - such as workout sessions, online game sessions, and book clubs - that every employee could participate in even while they were remote. To circulate positivity, we added daily “Tell Me Something Good” sessions where employees would share something good - family zoom weddings, newly learned skills, kids’ activities and things to brighten each other’s days.
In closing, the Armorblox culture is a guiding light for every employee because it’s a function of every employee - that’s what makes Armorblox greater than the sum of its parts and a Great Place to Work.