Bandwidth

Bandwidth

Raleigh, NC

www.bandwidth.com

Grade: A

SummaryWork in the exciting telecom API/CPaaS space. Great work/life balance. Friendly people, great weather. “Vacation embargos” that forbid team members at every level from checking email when they’re supposed to be relaxing.

Intro: Bandwidth attracts smart, driven, innovative people because that’s the kind of company it is: smart, driven, innovative. The company has become a destination for both local talent from some of the nation’s top colleges and universities located within a 50-mile radius—and from all corners of the United States. Bandwidth’s top-notch internship program welcomes a diverse array of talent—while the company takes the unique approach of letting interns take on as much as they can handle and become fully integrated with a team in accomplishing important goals and projects. 

From the top down, Bandwidth offers a culture of inclusion and respect. Through rich programs such as Big Idea competitions and Hackathons, the company welcomes all team members to help create and drive its future success. Bandwidth provides an unheard of benefits package that includes free (zero deductions) healthcare for team members and families. Beyond all of that and even more important to employee attraction and retention is the fact that Bandwidth is a place where team members know they will experience and participate in meaningful work while being able to live thier lives outside of work with a sense of balance that’s not found in many workplaces today.

Bandwidth delivers on the promise of “balance” with a formal approach called its “Whole Person Promise.” The Whole Person promise offers a wide variety of programs and benefits that equate to not only work-life sustainability but also finding a deep sense of meaning and purpose to the everyday work that team members do.

Impact statements:

  • From the top down, Bandwidth offers a culture of inclusion and respect. Through rich programs such as Big Idea competitions and Hackathons, the company welcomes all team members to help create and drive its future success.
  • Right from the start, we provide a 3-day onboarding session to help new hires get up to speed on everything Bandwidth.
  • Bandwidth provides 100% medical benefits for team members and their families.
  • Since 2011, Bandwidth team members have raised over $150,000 for charity, volunteered over 10,000 hours, and changed many lives in the process.
  • PTO is held sacred at Bandwidth with a unique policy of “vacation embargo whereby team members who take vacation (be it one day or 2 weeks) are forbidden from emailing or calling fellow team members to check in or do any work.
  • Bandwidth has received both local and national recognition for its commitment to work-life balance – a commitment that Bandwidth calls its “Whole Person Promise.”
  • Most of Bandwidth’s management team has been here for close to ten years.
  • At Bandwidth, we focus on the whole person. We devote a lot of management time to ensuring team members feel their work is meaningful and we have high expectations for people to aim for high impact.

Advancement Opportunities:

At Bandwidth, we provide a variety of avenues in which any team member at any level can help to transform the organization and have a real impact through meaningful work. It starts with a culture that empowers everyone–to speak up, innovate, and achieve. Here are a few of the programs we provide:

Internships: We hire interns from colleges and universities down the street and across the country who are looking for real world work experience and a real opportunity to take a deep dive. We also bring in interns who have real world working experience but want to try something new or lean an advanced skill. We bring them in as full team members and let them take on important projects that impact our products, positioning, and revenue. Our interns always have a seat at the table and it’s never to serve the coffee (though if you ask an intern for some coffee–much like any other team member—they would probably be happy to oblige).

Hackathons: Bandwidth hosts engineering Hackathons a few times a year—sometimes including people outside the organization—to tackle a burning technical challenge or discover new applications that can make a big impact on the business. Anyone with an interest and base level knowledge can participate (i.e. not all participants need to be engineers but rather just have an interest, some ideas, and a big desire to innovate).

Spring Sabbaticals: To support and encourage innovation and keep team members’ skills fresh, Bandwidth supports team members taking on new and transformative projects outside of their own work team or department. In a nutshell, team members are permitted to quit doing their real jobs for two weeks, in order to work on a completely new project that interests them or could potentially add value to current operations.

Training Opportunities: Right from the start, we provide a 3-day onboarding session to help new hires get up to speed on everything Bandwidth. This includes everything from office basics to deep product training and getting to know the company brand. We’re also hiring a director of learning who will support the delivery of ongoing, robust on-the-job training throughout the various Bandwidth departments.

In addition, Bandwidth supports and encourages team members to embrace all forms of training inside the organization, online, and through attending conferences. We support team members taking on panel speaking opportunities and delivering conference talks and keynotes. We promote our team members’ interests and support them writing for tech journals, blogs, and white papers relevant to our business and technology at large. We take a very open approach to the world around us and encourage our team members to embrace the learning opportunities they encounter along the way.

Measuring satisfaction:

Bandwidth issues a team member survey each year to gather feedback from our team members. 

We use that data to attack identified opportunity areas and we are very transparent with team members about the survey results and programs or efforts we are making to address indentified issues. Bandwidth also participates in the Triangle Business Journals “Best Places to Work” contest every other year whereby team members are surveyed further, and Bandwidth is provided with a robust report from which further organizational enhancements are implemented.

Bandwidth has a very open office environment, designed to promote collaboration and squash silos. Every team member, from CEO to intern, sits in a cubicle desk—there are no offices. Private conversations occur in conference or huddle rooms as needed but otherwise, team members have open access to one another and also a sense of an even playing field where anyone can respectfully offer opinions, share ideas, and push through barriers to make things happen.

Within Bandwidth’s office, there are lots of spaces for meeting and collaboration—whether at table and chairs or lounging comfy couches with pillows. There’s ample space for brainstorming, formal reviews, interviews, and just hanging out to watch that big college basketball game.

We recently architected a new space in our office called “The Creative Lab.” It’s a meeting space equipped with adult coloring books, crayons, art material and comfortable residential-style furniture. It’s a great place for team members to take a break for some individual inspiration or to pull team members together for creative collaboration.

Creative meeting places:

Bandwidth has a lot of flexibility for meeting spaces and locations. From unique local venues to managers hosting at their homes, we encourage our team members to get inspiration in creative spaces. Along those lines, we recently architected a new space in our office called “Creative Lab.” It’s a meeting space equipped with adult coloring books, crayon, art material and comfortable residential-style furniture. It’s a great place for team members to take a break for some individual inspiration or to pull team members together for creative collaboration.

Perks:

Though Bandwidth does not have an onsite cafeteria, every day of the workweek lunch options are brought in to team members through a variety of vendors. The vendors set up onsite offering various delicious and healthy options for team members who can’t step away for lunch. In addition, the corporate office enjoys the presence of daily food truck options just a few yards away from the office as well as access to NC State’s local cafeteria.

Bandwidth also pays for team members’ gym memberships to the local NC State campus gym and offers free shuttle service to the gym daily and we’ll support race entry fees for events throughout the year in addition to the one major race we enter as a company every year.

Fun:

Though team members enjoy coming to work each day, the organized fun activities focus around physical fitness and health. Whether it’s our various intramural sports programs, free gym memberships with a shuttle to and fro, or onsite fitness classes, there are lots of opportunities to have a little fun during the work day. Bandwidth also hosts a weekly Ask Me Anything session with CEO David Morken and other C-level execs where team members enjoy libations and have free reign to fire off questions and get answers to their most burning concerns and curiosities.

How corporate vision is communicated:

It starts with our 3-day onboarding program for new hires and we continue open communication and reinforcement through meetings, 1-1 communications, all-hands meetings, etc. We also rely heavily on art to bring our culture alive—through the use of videos, posters, and other visual representations and reinforcements.

Empowering employees:

From our interns to our entry level team members, Bandwidth delegates authority to tall levels within the organization. We encourage team members to voice their own opinions, make positive changes, and take leadership roles in projects. Policies such as our vacation embargos, reinforce our approach to empowering team members to make decisions and choices on their own. We encourage our team members to think critically, consider all the factors, and make decisions to keep us moving forward. 

Bandwidth’s “whole person challenges,” which encourage team members to make changes and improvements across a variety of areas (described more in further answers), have also been a catalyst for team members to effect change in various ways throughout the company. One of our recent challenges required team members to read Kim Scott’s book, Radical Candor, and we have implemented many of the best practices from that book within the organization. Throughout Bandwidth’s history, we have always given our team members a lot of opportunities to raise their hands and speak up for change. This has been a significant factor in our growth story and will continue to be important for our future.

There are a number of different recognition opportunities within Bandwidth. Team members can nominate one another for Accolate awards, which is a $25 gift card given for various reasons such as a fantastic attitude, completing a project with excellence, showing strong leadership, helping a team member learn a new skill—just about anything “good” that someone wants to highlight. Team members or managers can also nominate other team members for the Trailblazer Award which recognizes transformational (primarily product directing or revenue-impacting) work.

At the end of each year, Bandwidth also awards nearly $100,000 to team members for contributions in 12 key categories of achievement—from those transformational achievements to marathon-style project completions to things like excellence in company spirit.

Ensuring well-being:

Bandwidth has received both local and national recognition for its commitment to work-life balance—a commitment that Bandwidth calls its “Whole Person Promise.” The Whole Person Promise encourages every team member to participate in meaningful work that makes a big impact, without sacrificing their physical health or personal lives to be successful. The program has three main focus areas: body, mind, and spirit.

In practice, the Whole Person Promise includes things like a CEO that walks through the office kicking people out at 6pm, 90-minute lunches for anyone who wants to work out, organized team sports, free gym memberships, 100% covered medical benefits, and “vacation embargos” that forbid team members at every level from checking email when they’re supposed to be relaxing.

Bandwidth also reinforces its Whole Person Promise through “whole person challenges” that encourage and reward team members for things like reading an inspiring book, completing important life tasks such as securing a will or taking a financial health course, register to vote, making donations to a charity, breaking a bad habit, and performing a specific number of hours of physical activity over the course of a month. The challenges are tangible manifestation of Bandwidth’s culture and a way to consistently reinforce the positive impact that small, consistent changes can have a on a person’s life.

The company’s commitment to its team members and their ability to have a real impact on the mission has attracted some of the brightest minds in the Triangle and beyond, as well as college interns and new grads.

At Bandwidth, team members get to put their bright minds to good use in a culture that’s fast-paced, fun, and intensely empowering. While Bandwidth serves its customers every day through technology innovation, the company also empowers every team member to continually set the bar higher and co-create through Hackathons, Sprint Sabbaticals, and Big Idea competitions. Bandwidth is always recruiting talented people who want to work hard, create, and grow.

Closing company statements: At Bandwidth, we focus on the whole person. We devote a lot of management time to ensuring team members feel their work is meaningful and we have high expectations for people to aim for high impact. But we’ve also learned how much more impactful team members can be when they are whole in body, mind and spirit…and that means we make it easy and fun to get exercise every day and to take care of yourself and your family, like going home to have dinner together or attending a child’s event. We invest a lot for you to be at your most strong you, and we look for that to show up in your work too.​

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

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