We believe that leadership is better than management. Leading by example is the best way to make people inspired and excited about doing things a certain way. Importance of learning and being T-Shaped
That is, people who are both generalists (highly skilled at a broad set of valuable things—the top of the T) and also experts (among the best in their field within a narrow discipline — the vertical leg of the T).
This recipe is important for our success. We often have to pass on people who are very strong generalists without expertise, or vice versa. An expert who is too narrow has difficulty collaborating and therefore will likely be a poor candidate for cross functional leadership. A generalist who doesn't go deep enough in a single area ends up on the margins, not really contributing as an individual.Why is learning so important?
We choose to grow people and promote within any time this opportunity is present over hiring externally. We're looking to promote everyone joining PandaDoc in the next couple of years. That is why a constant personal growth is vital.For Engineers
PandaDoc is a software as a service company. What that means for engineers, is that the more you understand our business, the more valuable you become.
We're a business with revenue goals. Every decision, including engineering decisions, should be driven by our business goals. Be T-Shaped.For Non-Engineers: Program or be programmed
PandaDoc is a software as a service company. What that means for non-engineers, is that you have to be technical. You have to know our product and tools in and out. The more technical you are, the more valuable your business input is, and the more value you will add to the team and company. Be T-Shaped.Our Learning Programs
Words should be supported by action. Therefore, we have a number of initiatives to embrace learning within our organizations:Pairing up with advisors
PandaDoc allocated a significant number of stock options to advisors and mentors. Every employee within PandaDoc can suggest a mentor/advisor for self or their team. We'll do our best to get good advisors on-board as long as they're qualified and committed to spend time coaching Panda up-n-comers.Bringing in consultants
If you see that there is a knowledge gap we can fill in with an outside consultant, let us know. Every team has a dedicated budget for learning and self-improvement.Moving around departments and the globe
We want every employee to learn and progress as much as possible. We also want the PandaDoc journey to be really fun. We have multiple offices around the globe and want to encourage the cultural exchange. Every employee at PandaDoc gets to travel and work out of another office for at least 2 weeks. We also highly encourage moving across departments to learn about the other wings of the business. Sometimes developers do support, sales help product managers, etc. We believe that becoming a generalist helps individual's career on the long run.Books, trainings and conferences
PandaDoc will buy whatever books you need to get better. There is also a budget for trainings, master classes and conferences, which we're increasing every month. Bring the ideas to your manager.
And if you go to a conference or just read a book, help others on your team by sharing the learnings with them.Building your personal brand
We want to support every employee in building their own personal brand. After a few years at PandaDoc your LinkedIn should look like you're an absolute superstar, guru, ninja, industry mogul, etc. Here are a few ways we can make that happen:
- Google "Mikita Mikado" and you'll find a bunch of links from Forbes, Techcrunch, etc. Our marketing team will do the same thing for you as long as you want it and are willing to write.
- Google "Jared Fuller" and you'll find a bunch of links to webinars done with big brands in the likes of HubSpot, InsideSales, etc. Our marketing team will do the same thing for you as long as you want it and have interesting content to share.
- Speak at conferences and events. We will cover your airfare and hotel as long as you're speaking in front of our target buyers or prospective employees.
Organizing and hosting events
We encourage employees to use our space to organize meetups, tech crawls, hackathon and focus groups to network with the best in class talent and learn from these experiences.360 Degree Feedback
We conduct bi-annual 360 degree feedback survey for everyone in the company to help each team member grow both professionally and personally. The 360 view provides a balanced feedback mechanism from everyone you work closely with which includes managers, direct peers and peers from other teams. The benefits of this type of feedback are to promote self-awareness, increase accountability and most importantly, open dialogue across different teams.HiringHiring is everyone's job
People and only people make companies great. Building a great company depends highly on our continued vigilance in recruiting/hiring.
If we start adding people to the company who aren't capable operating as high-powered, self-directed, senior decision makers, then lots of the stuff will stop working and PandaDoc will not be a fun place to be. We have to keep the hiring bar very high. And we should only hire people we all love to work with.
Who we hire affects the most people that are already here. That is why recruiting, interviewing and hiring is everyone's job.
Hiring well is the most important thing in the universe. Nothing else comes close. So when you're working on hiring—participating in an interview loop or innovating in the general area of recruiting—everything else is secondary.Bring and hire your friends
One of the most valuable things you can do as a new employee is tell us who else you think we should hire. Assuming that you agree with us that PandaDoc is a fantastic place to be, then tell us about who the best people are on Earth, so we can bring them here. If you don't agree yet, then wait six months and ask yourself this question again.How do we choose the right people to hire?
Here are some questions we always ask ourselves when evaluating candidates:
• Would I want this person to be my boss?
• Would I learn a significant amount from him or her?
• What if this person went to work for our competition?
Across the board, we value highly collaborative people. That means people who are skilled in all the things that are integral to high-bandwidth collaboration — people who can deconstruct problems on the fly, and talk to others as they do so, simultaneously being inventive, iterative, creative, talkative, and reactive. These things actually matter far more than deep domain-specific knowledge or highly developed skills in narrow areas. This is why we'll often pass on candidates who, narrowly defined, are the "best" at their chosen discipline. We love hiring future CEOs. We love hiring people that have cool hobbies. We hire interesting people.We're looking for people stronger than ourselves.
When unchecked, people have a tendency to hire others who are lower-powered than themselves. The questions listed above are designed to help ensure that we don't start hiring people who are useful but not as powerful as we are. We should hire people more capable than ourselves, not less.
In some ways, hiring lower-powered people is a natural response to having so much work to get done. In these conditions, hiring someone who is at least capable seems (in the short term) to be smarter than not hiring anyone at all. But that's actually a huge mistake. We can always bring on temporary/contract help to get us through tough spots, but we should never lower the hiring bar. We're aimed to grow. We need to hire superstars to promote from within.The Fun Part
Learning, making impact and having fun are our top priorities. So… how are we having fun? We believe that building something from nothing is fun. But we also know how to party. Here are a few examples of how we partying lately :)
- Our 2017 sales kick off was done in Las Vegas with a hell of a party at Marquee at the Cosmopolitan.
- Minsk team celebrated 2016 xMas in Prague.
- SF team plays basketball every second week to stay in shape.
- Board games, poker, surfing, wakeboarding, skiing… we even have our own version of Catan Championship League!
- We run Spartan races to keep the camaraderie and wellness intact.
- For Halloween - Star Trek, Crayons, Iron Man, Minions we had it all and they were wild!
- For Potlucks, we relish cuisines from 7 different countries.
- And Panda ladies are ruthless when it comes to Go-Karting!
Frequently Asked Questions
Will you sell the company?
As founders, we're asked this question a lot. Here is how we think about a merger/acquisition: it could be a way to achieve goals, but not the goal. Here
we listed our goals. If a merger helps our team to get there, we'll consider selling.Why do you choose to target small businesses vs. enterprise?
We love helping a small guy making a real impact on a business. We like high-velocity, short sales cycles, and product-driven businesses. We always wanted to build a horizontal product, not something narrow and specific. That is why we're focusing on small businesses.