If you follow hot SaaS companies, you are probably aware of Xero.
I am now very actively recruiting for talented and driven Partner Marketers and Product Marketers to join Xero. We’re growing rapidly with roles advertised across our global offices – check them out here. Quite a few people have asked me to elaborate on how we work and how Xero is different from other companies. Since I often cover this in my first conversation with a job candidate, it seems quite useful to share some key points here.
Here’s some things you would experience if you joined the Xero team.
‘We dream big, inventing better ways to do business’. This is one our core values. We are not aiming for 10% growth as a company. You shouldn’t be aiming for 10% growth of your knowledge and capabilities either. I once worked for a company that was growing 30% every quarter. My boss would often tell people – “If our business is growing by 30%, and you’re not growing your capabilities by 30%, then you are falling behind and it won’t be fun for you here.” Xero is also a high growth business. It’s the best place on the planet for committing yourself to being a high growth professional.
2. Adding value in meetings or excusing yourself
In many other companies, people feel good if their calendar is full of meetings. They feel really good if those meetings include very senior managers. These people think that being seen in meetings and having a full calendar is the best way to get promoted. This is not how we work at Xero.
The expectation at Xero is that if you’re in a meeting, you should be providing value. If you’re not adding value, you should politely excuse yourself and resume your work on another area. At a previous company one of our performance review questions was “does this person routinely make very valuable contributions in meetings?” I think this is a great self-assessment question. I frequently ask myself whether I added significant value to a meeting as soon as it’s over. I suggest you start doing your own self-assessments. You’ll soon know if you are creating value for your company or only making meetings unnecessarily expensive by attending.
3. Meetings are for getting work done
A meeting in a traditional company might look like this: seven people hold a meeting to review press releases and discuss a proposed communication plan. One person has drafted everything prior to the meeting. In the meeting, two or three people discuss the plan and call out what changes need to be made before the next review. One or more of the people in the meeting will write down follow-up action items like “set up a meeting for X, Y and Z before this committee’s next meeting”. The rest are there for potential input or as an fyi. Does this sound efficient?
We think this is completely inefficient and a terribly slow way to work. For the same type of project mentioned above, two people would meet for 20 minutes to write the announcement during their meeting in real-time using Google docs. If anyone is needed, they can also comment in real-time. Rather than creating a list of next steps, we do these activities in the meeting as we go.
4. Working in the open
We leverage Yammer to ensure important projects and news is widely known and easily discussed in real-time without having to hold meetings.
We want to do great work quickly, then tackle the next opportunity. There are many benefits of working out in the open. First, people can contribute and stay up to date in real-time. Second, it’s easy to know what’s going on across the business and know where your project can fit in and add value. Third, everyone quickly hears what is working and not working in the business so the they can help with adjustments. And last, it also nearly eliminates the need for monthly reports.
5. We’re all passionate about what we do
In our rapidly growing business, there is a very strong need to get the word out to partners, customers, influencers and media. The world is moving very fast. Ideal candidates will find great enjoyment in getting their product’s story translated into blogs, social, media and to influencers. We want people that enjoy getting to know their customers. They should enjoy figuring out how to optimize the messaging to win as many customers as possible and displace/disrupt competitors with more effective communication.
6. We’re also trying out better ways to get work done
This article is an example of this. I am rethinking my own recruiting process. In the past, I would have shared these comments one-on-one with each candidate in an hour long conversation. But that’s not the most efficient way to work. Instead, I’m posting this so candidates can come in knowing how our company works. That way, when I read a resume and schedule time to talk, I know it’s with someone who understands the environment.
Xero works differently than any other company I’ve been a part of, and it’s great. We’re passionate about our product and our customers. For me, how we work is just as exciting as what we work on. We work in ways that enable us to quickly see, discuss and deliver on new opportunities.
Before you go, please take the next 60 seconds to comment on anything that you think I missed or that you enthusiastically agree with. Share an example of how your company does anything similar to the points above.
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