Instapage is not your run of the mill software as a service company. As a startup, we didn’t have a VC funding cushion or budding Silicon Valley hires who knew their way around the market.
What we had was dedicated and diligent employees. Despite residing in five different geographical locations, our hard-working people led us to create a $10 million global business in five years.
Thus, from the beginning, Instapage has always prioritized clear communication and an outstanding employee experience. In this article, I’m going to discuss how we make this a reality: the techniques and tools we use to ensure employee engagement (despite geographical diversity) and maintain a company culture that highlights our core values
What is Instapage?
Before we detail the tools and techniques, it’s essential you first understand our history and what we stand for.
Instapage is a powerful landing page platform that optimizes advertising spend for marketing teams and agencies. Currently, we have three global offices with these respective departments:
San Francisco: Product and marketing, plus our CEO
Poland: Engineering, development, and design
Romania: Customer success and design.
In addition to the three offices (which have a total of 125 employees), we have a content marketer working from Pakistan (that’s me) and a UX designer working from Serbia.
We’re all over the place.
Five years ago, the Instapage landscape was very different than it is today. We had 6 key employees (including our CEO and Chief Architect Engineers) working from 5 different locations (from San Francisco to Poland to Pakistan).
We expanded in San Francisco, Poland, and Romania, as the work grew for those business areas. Each team was trusted to hire new team members that shared our core values.
However, as the company expanded, we remained tethered to each other. It was (and still is) important for us to maintain a consistent employee experience with a combination of techniques that map back to our core values. Our core values:
Have Fun: We celebrate our successes, share our accomplishments, and don’t take ourselves too seriously.
Improve Lives: We enable our team members to flourish. We build products that save our customers’ time and money.
Keep Things Simple: We run a tight ship. We build products that regular humans can use.
Be Respectful: We celebrate our differences because they only make us stronger. We put our customers first.
Take Ownership: We hire winners that don’t need to be told what to do but still ask questions when they need help.
Be Unique: We embrace our cultural diversity and the main personalities that make us who we are. We often explore untouched product frontiers.
Have a Purpose: We know building a business is hard, that’s why we strive to help our customers create better marketing experiences with less effort.
Each employee experience technique highlighted in the following sections reflects a single or multiple Instapage core value. This ensures that our company culture doesn’t stray away from what we believe in.
5 techniques Instapage uses to maintain a positive employee experience
Being a diverse global company, Instapage has its challenges to maintain a positive employee experience, but we manage to do so with a combination of these five techniques.
1. Ensure open communication and task management with the right technology
All Instapage employees use the same communication tool, and it’s used on a daily basis. A typical work day starts with a big round of ‘hellos and good mornings’:
It doesn’t matter that the San Francisco team is getting ready to retire for the day when the European teams are getting to work—we make it a point to share pleasantries in spite of an average 10 hour difference, ensuring that no one feels isolated or left out.
We’ve created channels to group and categorize discussions, so anyone who’s interested in a particular topic can join in the conversation. This helps us ‘Keep Things Simple’. But, it’s not all about work, we ‘Have Fun’ in our non-work convo channel that includes discussions on Museum of Ice Cream tickets and The Rock launching his advertising agency—topics that everyone loves discussing.
In addition to our chat tool, we also use project management tools (Asana and Jira) to keep track of projects and campaigns. This ensures everyone has the opportunity of ‘Improving Lives’ when it comes to everyday tasks and priorities.
2. Have a place to be heard
Instapage holds mandatory monthly meetings for all employees to attend, we refer to them as an ‘all hands on deck’ session.
Here’s a look at our Poland team during a typical ‘all hands on deck’ session:
These meetings are held to update the entire team about product updates and new hires, and to reinforce the company vision and values. The meetings help us ‘Improve Lives’ and ‘Take Ownership’ of our projects—it’s a forum for sharing anything that needs to be shared.
At the end of the meeting, employees are given the floor and they’re encouraged to ask questions or discuss anything that’s on their mind.
3. Make company information transparent
Our CEO, Tyson Quick, shares a ‘founder update’ each month. The purpose of this video update is to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding the company’s mission and vision.
To ensure transparency, Tyson also talks about the company’s growth statistics and revenue generation. Another feature of the ‘founder update’ is the employee spotlight, it helps us ‘Have Fun’ and ‘Improve Lives’. The employee spotlight features three employees who are chosen for the spotlight, to praise their hard work and job well done.
We also hold a weekly ‘Product Show & Tell’ webinar that discusses the new product updates and developments so that everyone is aware of what’s new with the product and when new features plan to be announced.
4. Celebrate diversity through the employee exchange program
When each Instapage employee reaches their annual work anniversary, they have the opportunity to spend two weeks at any global Instapage office. This helps employees celebrate our diversity, by ‘Being Respectful’ and get to know other teams on a more personal level. To date, about 50 employees have taken part in the exchange program.
In addition to having the opportunity to seeing a different part of the world, the exchange program helps employees see how things get done in other offices. This ensures that we maintain the same quality and work ethic across all Instapage headquarters.
5. Provide timely feedback and reviews
Being properly appreciated for your job is one of the fundamental aspects of employee engagement.
Instapage uses Lattice, a performance management tool that enables us to positively engage employees by ‘Taking Ownership’ and ‘Keeping Things Simple’, we do this by:
Giving performance reviews cyclically: Each employee receives a performance review by their peers and employees they work closely with.
Providing employees feedback that makes them feel appreciated: We don’t shy away from praising our fellow Instapagers for their hard work. Not only do we provide public feedback, but we do so in the light of our core values.
Setting performance goals: The goals allow our peers and managers to see what we’re working on, this helps prioritize present and future projects.
Bi-weekly Check-ins: In addition to all hands on deck meetings, the founder update, and daily communication, each employee performs a bi-weekly check-in with their direct manager. The check-in consists of a questionnaire that focuses on current tasks, and any challenges the employee might need help with. The check-ins also includes a one-on-one video chat between employees and their direct managers to discuss work priorities and future plans.
Communication is key to a positive employee experience Good communication is critical to ensuring a positive employee experience, and a relevant, inclusive organizational culture. We learnt this early on; looking after the people-side of our business helped us grow into the success we are today. I recommend prioritizing this, if you’re not already.
Fahad Muhammad is a Content Marketer at Instapage. Being a veteran Instapage writer, he has witnessed the industry progress rapidly. He writes about landing page examples, marketing trends, Instapage updates, and conversion psychology on the Instapage blog. When he’s not busy hunting down landing page examples, he can be found glued to an episode of Top Gear.