ClearSlide

ClearSlide

San Francisco, CA

www.clearslide.com 

Grade: A+

SummaryJoin a company built to last, growing at a steady pace while offering solid benefits, above-average medical, standing-desks, amazing training and other competitive amenities.

Intro: Candidates choose ClearSlide because we have an amazing, fast-growing company that has a broad vision to transform the business of selling. As the leading Sales Engagement Platform, we attract candidates who want to work at an innovative SaaS company that is modernizing the tools that sales, marketing, and customer success teams use to improve business performance. Our employees get to work on cutting-edge technologies used by 5,000 accounts and 100,000 users around the world – generating millions of business interactions each year.

We started in 2009 and have grown steadily each year. Unlike many of the newly-funded companies, we have an operating philosophy to grow at a focused pace and we have a clear path to profitability. This approach has helped us recruit talented employees that are looking for a long-term career and ongoing professional development – because they have confidence that they’re joining a company that is built to last. As a company we focus on the fundamentals, which allows us to recruit employees at varying experience level, from new college graduates to seasoned industry experts, to ensure that we have a place where everyone has an opportunity to be successful.

Last, candidates join ClearSlide because of our strong leadership and mentorship. From the interview stage and onwards, candidates feel confident that ClearSlide is a great environment to learn and grow. Our leadership team is very experienced, overall and specifically in our industry, which provides stability – especially during these turbulent economic times. A sign of a great company is that our own employees recommend ClearSlide to their personal and professional networks. Hiring through referral is our #1 source of new employees.

Impact statements: 

  • ClearSlide is “built to last,” and not a place to join if you’re just looking for perks, a certain salary, or to somehow cash-out. We want people who share the same passion for transforming the business of selling and changing the way companies interact and communicate.
  • We want people who truly want to act as shareholders in the business to help us make the right decisions and prioritize investments.
  • Candidates join ClearSlide because of our strong leadership and mentorship.
  • Our employees get to work on cutting-edge technologies used by 5,000 accounts and 100,000 users around the world – generating millions of business interactions each year.
  • We started in 2009 and have grown steadily each year. Unlike many of the newly-funded companies, we have an operating philosophy to grow at a focused pace and we have a clear path to profitability. This approach has helped us recruit talented employees that are looking for a long-term career and ongoing professional development – because they have confidence that they’re joining a company that is built to last.
  • Most recently, we provided a special Engineering training called Agile. For the engineers who had worked with the Agile methodology before, this was a great brush-up training on how to complete tasks in a timely and efficient manner.
  • One of the main focuses of our culture has been giving back to our community through service.
  • The “ClearSlide Cares” group partners with local organizations to provide volunteer opportunities for our employees. Activities have ranged from serving breakfast at Glide Memorial Church to playing bingo with senior citizens at Canon Kip Senior Center. Another group, “Sliders for Wounded and Returning Veterans,” brought employees together at the VA Hospital in San Francisco for a project to beautify the grounds.
  • As one would imagine, we also rely heavily on our own ClearSlide product to communicate with each other and improve collaboration.
  • ClearSlide empowers its sales team to make strategic decisions during their prospect and customer engagements. By providing some broad guidelines and tiers, salespeople are able in real-time to hold discussions that reduce friction and accelerate deal cycles.

Compensation:

We scope market data through a variety of credible, third-party sources to determine industry standards to stay competitive in the market. Second, we evaluate our team members’ contributions to the company’s overall goals as well as the company culture and values during our twice-annual performance review cycles. During these cycles, we also evaluate an employee’s evolving skillset and growth potential to determine bonuses, promotions, added responsibilities, and corresponding compensation adjustments. Third, every full-time employee is eligible for the company’s stock options program, so each person has a vested interest in the company’s success.

Advancement Opportunities:

There are several ways that ClearSlide provides advancement opportunities for our team members to continue personal and professional development. One hands-on technique that is used is having different team members lead or present in team meetings. Gaining presentation skills helps advancement, and presenting in front of both peers and managers is great for development. This also allows everyone’s voice to be heard – not just the most vocal employees – contributing to our culture of inclusion and transparency.

We also take pride in listening to feedback on specific issues from our employees. Often we will encourage employees who give ideas for improvement to take the lead on projects that will support that improvement. This could be a cross-team business initiative, or even leading a mentoring group. A specific example on our Sales and Services team is letting more junior team members join customer presentations as a "silent participant" to hear more experienced employees handle difficult questions and tough situations (e.g., asking about budget, technical issues) – so they’re better prepared for their next role.

Managers also encourage direct conversation with department leaders, so team members don't have to go through layers of management for every conversation or piece of feedback. This encourages transparency between all levels in the company and more direct interactions with senior leaders. This “flatter” organizational approach helps employees learn more quickly and for those employees that aspire for promotions or more responsibility, they have more opportunities for coaching and mentorship.

Last, we have an emerging program for designated high-potential employees. Several times a year we bring this select group together to get feedback and coaching. This could involve an outside speaker or assigning mentors. In some cases, we’ve assigned an outside coach to select high performers – not because there are problems, but because we want that employee to develop skills in a new area or give that person a neutral coach to work on challenge areas.

Training opportunities:

Every employee goes through – as a team and individually – Emergenetics training. Similar in concept to many personality assessment programs, Emergenetics highlights different behavioral attributes of our employee base that develop from both genetic traits and our life experiences. The training involves everyone filling out an assessment on their personal preferences, and the results yield a deeper understanding of how each of us operates and makes decisions. It is a way for people to be more conscious about their strength and weakness areas, and give them an operating framework to deal with people who may approach work (and life) differently. We use color-based shorthand as a way to interact and help everyone work well together (“we need more ‘Greens’ on this project”).

We also had several trainings on “Growth Mindset,” led by a trainer and clinical psychologist, which was geared towards positive thinking in the workplace and help employees visualize their goals (and dreams). An ongoing development series is “Leading Women in Technology,” which helps with networking and career advancement for our young female professionals. We bring in external speakers to talk about a range of topics, or just use time for people to ask questions.

Most recently, we provided a special Engineering training called Agile. For the engineers who had worked with the Agile methodology before, this was a great brush-up training on how to complete tasks in a timely and efficient manner. For newer Agile training participants, they learned a new approach that will help their career development. The session featured working in teams to build card houses and inflate balloons to demonstrate effective project execution.

Medical benefits:

We offer cost-free to every full-time employee medical, dental, vision, basic life, short term disability, and long term disability. For dependents and premium plan options, the costs are kept very low to ensure great coverage. In addition, we offer Health Care FSA, which provides the opportunity to use pre-tax dollars for medical expenses, therefore providing a savings of up to 20% for these expenses.

Also free of cost to full-time employees is access to an ‘Employee Assistance’ service that is available for counseling and recommendations for life hardships. We want everyone to feel like they have the resources to be covered for all aspects of life.

Another resource is our connection with SelectQuote, where employees can purchase an additional life insurance plan and ClearSlide will reimburse up to 50%. We recently added a program called WellSource, which tracks employee physical statistics and provides suggestions for employees’ struggles. For instance, if someone is not sleeping well, WellSource will provide recommendations. If the employee keeps track of their physical statistics in WellSource, they may receive gift cards for their participation. Last, we provide in-house flu shots during flu season.

Special accommodations:

For some of our top hires, their home bases are in Seattle. We hired them with the flexibility to work out of our Seattle office when needed. This is also a big perk for the company, as they are accessible in two of our offices. In addition, we provide 12 weeks of parental leave to all employees (not just top hires) who have been at the company over one year. This is a special accommodation to help new parents have a great work/life balance.

Community service/charitable causes:

One of the main focuses of our culture has been giving back to our community through service. We have had a steady stream of various charitable activities over the years that are organized by two of our employee resource groups. Members of these “Slider Networks” are committed to seeking out opportunities to give back to local charitable entities.

For example, the “ClearSlide Cares” group partners with local organizations to provide volunteer opportunities for our employees. Activities have ranged from serving breakfast at Glide Memorial Church to playing bingo with senior citizens at Canon Kip Senior Center. Another group, “Sliders for Wounded and Returning Veterans,” brought employees together at the VA Hospital in San Francisco for a project to beautify the grounds. In addition to these two charitable groups in our ClearSlide community, we also participate in many other causes in the community. Last spring, we sent a company team to play in a charity soccer tournament, and in doing so we raised several thousand dollars for “America Scores” to help youth in urban areas stay healthy and focused in school.

ClearSlide team members raise funds through races including the Golden Gate Relay (fundraising for organ donation for OrgansRus), and the Giants’ Race (fundraising for Project OpenHand, which gives meals to seniors and the severely ill). Participation in these events fundraised thousands of dollars for the charities and brought the company together.

Last, during the holidays, ClearSlide has helped with several charity drives including Toys for Tots and One Warm Coat (both 2013-present). These drives are set-up in our office to collect coats and toys for underprivileged youth and community members. We always have high participation in both of these drives.

Creative meeting places:

One of the most creative places that the company has held a meeting was a movie theater in SF. For our new fiscal year kick-off in 2015, ClearSlide gathered all offices and remote employees in San Francisco and rented out a theater to hold a full-day company meeting. The energy in the theater from all of the speakers and announcements was unforgettable and awe-inspiring.

We also got creative with our extended leadership off-site this last year by having them take sailing lessons in the Bay on an Americas Cup boat and use that as an opportunity to practice teamwork in a fun environment. No one fell out of the high-speed boats, but it was a truly memorable experience.

Some of our recent creative event spaces were our 2014 Holiday party, which took place at Hyde Street Pier on a docked boat in the Bay with food trucks and amazing views, and a “wine and paint” night at Dogpatch Wine Works. The great part about painting together was seeing everyone’s amazing artistic abilities. We truly like to get outside of the office and pick some creative places to have meetings and team off-sites. In February after a company quarterly meeting, we took the San Francisco-based team roller skating in a converted church, and our New York and Seattle offices each held fun outings (laser tag and bowling, respectively).

Perks:

Healthy snacks

Dietary options (e.g., vegetarian, gluten-free)

End-of-month lunches

Assistance for counseling or financial advice

End-of-quarter breakfasts

Sponsors two intramural sports teams per year

Quarterly fitness subsidy

Education subsidy for on-going development

Boot camp class on Wednesdays

Case-by-case memberships to professional societies

Fun:

There are a variety of fun activities that team members can partake in throughout the day at ClearSlide. We have board games in the kitchen for team members to take breaks, stop looking at computer screens, and get to know one another. There are games throughout the office including darts, ping pong, and even life-size jenga. There are also a lot of couches and lounge areas in the offices for team members to sit somewhere other than their desks – whether to work or take a break.

Collaboration tools:

We use a number of leading-edge tools to communicate and collaborate across teams – some that are role specific, and some that are tuned for particular tasks. For example, our engineers like to use Slack for instant communications and multi-threaded conversations. Slack notifications enable team members who are remote (or away from their desk) to have real-time input into conversation that are happening in the office. Everyone in the company has access to Slack as well.

Sales and Marketing uses Salesforce heavily, both for CRM and for Chatter, to stay on top of customers and collaborate. We recently provided Gainsight to our customer success teams to better handle support issues.

One recent addition was Facebook at Work to post stories about teamwork and photos that show pride in the company and fun events that everyone can participate in. For example, we used Facebook at work to let everyone in the company know about the Super Bowl activities near our office so that people could go in groups to visit Super Bowl city. There is also a Facebook at Work group with our company values where team members can post stories about moments in their day where their co-workers demonstrated these values.

As one would imagine, we also rely heavily on our own ClearSlide product to communicate with each other and improve collaboration. Our Sales, Service and Marketing teams “live” in ClearSlide given our business, and ClearSlide is used across the company for conference calls weekly stand-up meetings to ensure that everyone can view the content at once even in other time-zones. ClearSlide is used by all departments in the company to create presentations and “live-pitch” both internally and externally. We even use ClearSlide from the first day of work for every new employee, because our training team uses it to present orientation content.

Through ClearSlide, Facebook at Work, Salesforce and Slack, we are in constant communication and can feel a high level of collaboration in our workplace.

How corporate vision is communicated:

Our corporate vision is communicated daily internally and to our customers, because our business is selling the platform we build.

Our mission and near-term vision is: ClearSlide Transforms the Business of Selling. In weekly company stand-up meetings, individuals share specific stories about our clients’ business being transformed by our platform. We also regularly share amazing client testimonials and case studies that bring our vision and values to life. Walking around our offices, employees, candidates, customers, and visitors see customer endorsements quotes, our customer logo wall, and TVs playing recent customer videos.

Diversity:

ClearSlide is committed to hiring diverse individuals in with diverse perspectives. It all starts with sourcing candidates and recruiting the right people for the job. We have completed a study of our diversity practices as compared to other organizations in Silicon Valley, and we’ve used these results to help guide our areas of strength and weakness.

One area of particular focus is bringing more women in sales roles, both as individual sellers and managers. We want our sales team to better reflect the people we sell to, and bringing more women into sales is important. Sales is also a role that can be done remotely and with flexible hours, which can match the work/life needs of many women. We have been working closely with the University of Washington, who has an innovative program that awards Sales Certifications to graduates who complete coursework, internships, and work/study working towards a career in sales. These graduates come in already experienced in more modern tools and have a jumpstart over other candidates. More and more women and minorities have completed this program, and it has become an emerging source of diversity candidates.

We also look to bring in more employees with international experience as our business becomes increasingly global. This includes people who speak languages other than English, and people who have experience immersing themselves in other cultures.

Empowering employees:

ClearSlide empowers its sales team to make strategic decisions during their prospect and customer engagements. By providing some broad guidelines and tiers, salespeople are able in real-time to hold discussions that reduce friction and accelerate deal cycles.

Our support and account management teams are also empowered to issue discounts and credits to ensure customers feel well served and that our company acts with high integrity. For example, our contracts give specific timeframes for customers who want to cancel service to inform us of their decisions. Sometimes customers don’t let us know until just after the notification date has passed, and individuals have the support to issue refunds and accept cancellations without needing to escalate to a manager.

Engineers also have great discretion and empowerment. Given our customer-focused orientation, engineers jump to fix bugs and address customer pain points. It’s not unusual to see a group of engineers across sub-teams gathering at the end of the day to make adjustments. In one example, a junior engineer noticed that our screen share capabilities had lags after a new release of the Chrome browser. He quickly called people together to find the root cause, the group came up with an action plan, and the issue was “hot-fixed” by the end of the day.

Ensuring well-being:

ClearSlide cares deeply about the well being of its employees. We offer once-a-week boot camp classes to those who want physical exercise outside of work with their co-workers. Also, we offer a $100 per quarter fitness to help cover the cost of gyms, equipment, entry fees for fitness events, and more.

Standing desks are also provided for any employees who wants or needs to have a standing option, without needing a note from a doctor. Other specialty ergonomic equipment is provided to ensure comfort for all employees. For mental breaks, we use team outings outside of the office at least once a quarter. In addition, our benefits include FSA accounts, commuter benefits, and multiple generous health insurance options.

One recent example was supporting an Account Manager that was caring for a parent that suffered head trauma and needed to work remotely for an extended period of time. In addition to Employee Assistance to provide counseling, we provided a MiFi device to the employee so they had internet access as needed to stay on top of care.

Longevity:

Our 7-year old company has employees with tenures that span from the company’s founding to new college graduates. Given the company’s steady growth, much of our team has come on-board within the last three years.

Closing company statements: There are three primary reasons to work for us. First, we have the most passionate and highest-quality employees. We’re selective about who were hire – in many cases we’ll leave roles unfilled until we have the right person with the right skill set, as well as right cultural fit. And many of our team came into the company as referrals from other employees, which is a testament to the people we have.

Second, we’re serious about building a real business. Unicorns are mythical creatures, and we have friends that have been impacted by the renewed focus on tech companies needing operating efficiency and profitably. We talk about how ClearSlide is “built to last,” and not a place to join if you’re just looking for perks, a certain salary, or to somehow cash-out. We want people who share the same passion for transforming the business of selling and changing the way companies interact and communicate. And we want people who truly want to act as shareholders in the business to help us make the right decisions and prioritize investments.  

Last, we have a senior leadership team that embodies our core values. Many executives preach about open culture, feedback, etc. – but sometimes the reality is different. Our leadership team has deep experience managing teams and businesses, spend time coaching and developing people and is committed to taking the business to the next level. This focus gives employees confidence that they’re building a career – not just coming into work to do a job.

Back to the entire list of TMCnet 2016 Tech Culture Award winners.

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