MeetFrank, a job search app for remote work, has been growing rapidly as tech talent is looking for new opportunities across borders.
“The demand for remote jobs is exploding — The number of applications has risen 400% in just half a year,” says Kaarel Holm, Co-Founder and CEO of MeetFrank. Indeed, remote work is now more popular than ever, with major employers announcing a shift to a fully remote workforce seemingly every week.
The rise in popularity, which was accelerated by the pandemic, is not a surprise as remote jobs bring many benefits to talents. In addition to flexibility in work time and location, remote work often comes with a sizable salary increase. For example, a mid-senior marketer working fully remotely for a company in the Netherlands might make up to 80% more than if working in the same position in Portugal.
Even considering the benefits, actually finding a remote job might seem like a tedious task. MeetFrank has tackled this problem by developing a clever algorithm that recommends the best jobs out of 150,000+ active offers. After setting up your preferences, like skills and expected salary, the app keeps you up to date with the best job offers available for you.
To make sure great job offers won’t go unnoticed, MeetFrank has already added over 5,000 companies to the platform, including the top tech employers like Airbnb, Spotify, Revolut and Nord Security. “There are the most remote job offers in software engineering, sales, and data analysis. But there’s also quite a lot of demand for marketers and designers,” concludes Kaarel Holm.
Surfshark is a cybersecurity company originating from Lithuania, and offers products such as a VPN (virtual private network service), a data leak detection system Alert, Antivirus, and a private search tool – Search.
Surfshark has over 3000 servers in 65 countries, and in 2020, they were named the best VPN of 2020 by CNN. By the end of 2020, they were among the top three most popular VPNs globally.
We talked with Regimantas Urbanas, Chief Marketing Officer of Surfshark, about its most significant achievements, stellar growth, cybersecurity trends, and much more.
🔵 Could you tell me about Surfshark’s journey – how did you get started, and what are some of the top achievements/milestones you’ve achieved to date?
The most significant milestone I’d say is that we managed to reach our first million paying customers in just 30 months. When comparing growth patterns with other companies, it’s similar to Spotify. Meanwhile, we’ve grown even faster than Netflix because it took them 42 months. So, we managed to get into the top positions of the VPN market very quickly. Within the first year of marketing, we established ourselves among the top five VPNs globally, and by the end of 2020, we were in the top three most popular VPN companies.
This is all thanks to our team of professionals. When I joined in the summer of 2018, we had only three people working in marketing. Now, it’s close to 60.
But we are not a VPN-only company. We’ve entered the broader cybersecurity and privacy field and launched three more products (Surfshark Alert, Surfshark Search, and Surfshark Antivirus) to offer our customers the complete security and privacy package. All of those products are also available in a package called Surfshark One.
🔵 How did you achieve such fast growth?
There have been internal and external reasons, but I’d say that we were in the right place at the right time. The world has been going through turbulent times over the past few years. For example, China increasingly started making aggressive actions in Hong Kong, and suddenly, all the neighbouring countries of China wanted to protect their internet searches, social media, etc. That’s when we saw a massive spike in adoption in countries like Taiwan or Hong Kong. Currently, we’re the number #1 VPN brand in Hong Kong.
We also operate in an industry that grew massively during the first wave of Covid. People stuck at home were both working and doing other things online. Many people got more interested in using VPNs, and we capitalized on that.
We had the capital to grow and take aggressive steps at the right time. Our goal was to humanize security and make it accessible to everyone. That’s why we started using comics and similar content in marketing, trying to be more human and relatable without overwhelming people with complex terms.
🔵 The foundation of a successful company is usually built upon a real-world pain that founders discovered because they experienced the pain or their market research was top notch. What kind of pain did you find when Surfshark got started?
The idea for Surfshark came from our CEO, Vytautas Kaziukonis. He discovered VPN technology 11-13 years ago, but it was a very niche product at that time. However, he is a visionary and saw where the world was moving – the time spent online was increasing, and there are always potential security threats tied to the internet. So he saw vast potential.
VPNs have historically been very complicated to use. His idea was to launch a product that is easy to use, which speaks the language of everyday customers and still offers all the security benefits of a classical VPN. Also, unlike our competitors, we were the first VPN brand that never had the word VPN in our brand, because we didn’t want to be defined by these three letters and knew that we would be willing to offer other security/privacy solutions.
🔵 Why is the cybersecurity field currently so trendy, not only for cybersecurity experts, but also for aspiring marketers, developers, etc?
All successful people want to work on products that are or can be successful because that’s your opportunity to make the most significant impact in the world. As a marketer, my personal reason for joining was the ability and chance to build a household name — a brand known for all the people who want to take care of their protection and security.
It’s quickly becoming a mass market, where our products are used by millions of customers. Since the beginning of Covid, an even larger share of our life has moved online. The more we depend on the online world, the more important it is to protect the data. There is no corporate office network that can protect your computer access at home, so you should be in charge of protecting that.
🔵 Could you talk a bit more about how Surfshark as a company works and functions?
Currently, over 300 people work at Surfshark. Our company consists of customer service reps, the marketing department, the infrastructure team, and developers.
Our customer-facing team is working with our customers to ensure that they have the best experience and understand how to extract value from Surfshark.
Our marketing team takes care of our messages to appeal to potential users across the world and makes sure that we’re communicating the value of our products. We’re a global company with users in more than 140 countries, so we want to be relevant and understandable in different languages.
As a VPN service provider, our primary technology is operating loads of servers (over 3000 worldwide), and Surfshark’s infrastructure team makes sure that they are as fast and reliable as possible. When planning the locations for our servers, we want to ensure that there’s always a physical server not further than 300 km from our users.
Surfshark is available on all possible platforms – Android, iOS, SmartTV, Windows, macOS – and we offer our customers a seamless user experience. This is possible because our developers and large UX team optimize each step of the customer journey of our products.
These are the key teams in Surfshark. In addition, there are supporting administrative functions like HR, Finance, and others.
🔵 What unique challenges does your industry present for developers, product managers or marketers?
Every team has different challenges. From the technical point of view, when offering security and privacy-related services, you need to take extra care of the security of your product because you would never allow your product to be compromised in any way. We’ve promised our users that we never collect any data about them, we don’t log their usage, and no one can intercept our connection or service. It’s a big challenge to keep the product as secure as people expect.
From a marketing perspective, it’s different from products that have a lot of data about their users and can upsell or cross-sell to specific segments. As a VPN provider, we don’t collect any specific data about our users.
🔵 Why should someone come and work for Surfshark?
We’re a disruptive, challenger brand, and we came here to change the status quo in that industry. It’s always more enjoyable to work for a company that wants to redefine and shift the industry by setting new standards. As a brand, that’s what we’re doing, and we have people who want to be the best in what they do.
As a CMO, I would love for Surfshark’s brand to become synonymous with online privacy and security. To build a brand that would pop up on top of your mind when thinking about internet security.
From the technical side, the leading product requires different solutions. It’s easy to be a mediocre product, but it takes a lot of mastery and skills to become number one.
When talking about benefits, there are plenty. Since the beginning of Covid, we’ve adopted a hybrid work model to give people the opportunity to combine the best of both worlds. We also offer two months of working from anywhere. And of course, there are many other typical benefits such as physiotherapists, loads of training, etc.
I’d say that Surfshark as a start-up is the best-kept secret of Lithuania at the moment. Many people know the product, but not so many know the connection to Lithuania.
🔵 What are three cybersecurity trends to watch out for in 2022?
People want to prevent the damage instead of fixing the damage. We’re developing products based on that insight, such as creating an alternative identity or reclaiming your data from websites to prevent them from getting exposed in a hack or data leak.
One trend that I see is the possibility of not putting your actual data in danger while surfing the web by using a one-time credit card and an alias instead of your real name. That’s just one idea on removing personal data from your online activities.
The second trend is that people don’t want to engage with security products actively. They want the security products to be effective, powerful, and work in the background without disturbing them.
Last but not least, companies that started as VPN or antivirus companies may now expand into neighboring territories. Everyone is trying to take a more significant share of the cake and offer full-service packages.
We want Surfshark to be like the Revolut of cybersecurity. Revolut became the super app for personal finance – enabling people to trade crypto and stocks, exchange currencies, put money into a savings account, and get insights about their savings, all in one place.
I would love it if Surfshark became a super app for privacy and security. A central app for everything related to your data and online privacy, where you can control what’s happening with your data and toggle various layers of protection.
Check out Surfshark’s open positions on MeetFrank:
Founded in Sweden in 2016, Favro is a collaborative planning platform for fast-growing SaaS and live games companies. They raised $4.3 million in seed funding at the end of 2021, led by pan-Baltic venture capital fund Practica Capital and followed by Scale Capital and serial entrepreneur Christopher Beselin. Previous investors Inbox Capital and Creandum, an early investor in Spotify, also participated in the round.
The investment will help Favro scale its Lithuanian office, which will be the global center for marketing, sales, account management, and agile advisory. Edvinas Vosylius, Chief Sales Officer at Favro, told us everything you need to know.
🔵 Let’s start the interview by briefly discussing the product itself. We have all used Trello/Asana/Scoro/Notion/pick-your-productivity-tool. Why do teams around the world need another productivity app? How Favro differs from others?
Favro was created by industry veterans. They previously built Hansoft, a successful platform for agile software development, which is used by large companies in telecom, defence, electronics, and game development. Today, startups, enterprises, and game developers are all becoming SaaS businesses. Favro’s founders realised that to stay competitive, these companies have to make the whole organisation agile, not just development.
Favro was designed to tackle these challenges with collaborative agile planning that allows all teams to stay in sync autonomously. Executives and managers can apply a modern approach to leadership – be facilitators managing the flow of work rather than micromanagers of tasks.
🔵 Favro launched in Sweden back in 2016. Where are you today?
At the moment, Favro has more than 1500 clients, including world-renowned brands such as Wolt, Xbox, Disney, SAP and EA. Our team is only 26 people with international talent from 6 different countries.
🔵 In addition to HQ in Sweden, Favro already has offices in Vietnam & Ukraine, and now you are expanding to Lithuania. How did Favro find Lithuania and you as the head of its global sales operations?
In order to build an international team and attract multinational tech companies as clients, one needs a global network.
I met Patric Palm, CEO & Founder of Favro, in 2017 at one of Rotary’s global events. We kept in touch afterwards, and I found myself discussing SaaS and global expansion with Patric in December 2019. It turned out that my experience and Favro’s needs matched perfectly. Now, our Lithuanian office already has 8 employees.
🔵 Why do you think Vilnius is the best place for a new office out of all the potential options?
Vilnius has a unique community of young, ambitious, experienced, yet humble professionals. The local talent is appreciated due to their business mindset and strong drive. The work done over the past decade to develop the startup ecosystem shows tangible results, but there’s always room to improve.
🔵 Patric Palm, Founder and CEO of Favro, said that the Vilnius office launch coincides with a shift from “organic growth to more structured organisation development”. Could you expand on what that means?
For the first three years, Favro’s growth was solely led by the product, with the help of some social media marketing. The company didn’t have a team for sales and account management.
However, we noticed that both enterprises and startups were eager to speak with us since the product builds upon deep agile management thought-leadership. They want to learn straight from the experts before buying the product. So, we developed a new strategy to support global growth with a team for sales, account management and product/agile advisory based in Lithuania.
We are also recruiting more developers, but that team is fully remote so brilliant candidates for those positions can really live anywhere.
Favro’s go-to-market leadership team. From the left: Edvinas Vosylius, Chief Sales Officer, Patric Palm, CEO & Founder, and Jarune Preiksaite, Chief Marketing Officer.
🔵 How do you plan to build those teams out? What are your plans to attract top talent to join the company?
The Favro Lithuania team already has eight full-time employees. They were headhunted for their already proven brilliant skills. I build teams on the highest level of trust, where the right attitudes, drive, and ability to work autonomously is more important than a long CV.
Stock options are a key part of our talent attraction efforts. Once they have passed the trial period, every employee is included in our stock options program. This way, everyone is personally invested in the growth of the company – If Favro grows, the value of stock options grows as well.
The third reason for top talent to consider joining Favro is the possibility to work directly with senior leaders at Fortune 500 clients and hyper-innovative companies using Favro. There are not many startups in Lithuania where you could close deals with Electronic Arts, Amazon, Xbox, Wolt, SAP or Tobii. It’s one thing to close SMB customers, but working with globally recognised brands is a totally different experience.
🔵 Who are you hiring at the moment? What are the main qualities you look for in new people joining your team?
We follow the principle that “A-players” want to work with other “A-players”. So even though Favro’s team is only 26 people strong, our results look like we had an army. We operate with a very flat organisation where everyone is trusted with a lot of autonomy to manage their work in alignment with company objectives.
At the moment, we are looking for Sales Development Representatives, Account Executives, Account Managers, Marketing Specialists, e.g., Content Managers, Digital Media Specialists (PPC). We especially value candidates with experience working with agile methods and/or at a startup. Gamers are extra welcome – We would love to hear what games you like to play.
🔵 And the final question. I know that you officially opened Favro’s Lithuanian office only recently, in autumn 2021, but where do you think it will be in the next 2-3 years?
The plan for the Lithuanian office was to hire a top team of sales and marketing professionals and raise a successful seed round by the end of 2021. We successfully reached those goals. This year, the Favro Lithuania office will grow to 20 people and then we will go full speed towards an IPO in a few years.
Team of Favro Lithuania with CEO & Founder Patric Palm (in the middle).
Every now and then, a start-up goes into hypergrowth. Kilo Health is the perfect example of this by more than doubling both the revenue and size of the team in 2021, with similar goals for the coming year. Of course, hiring at such a rapid pace means a lot of thinking about how to scale the culture of the company.
This is why we were excited to interview Juste Vižinytė, Chief People Officer at Kilo Health. We asked her about the thinking behind “spoiling the employees” with perks and benefits, why they discarded all rules regarding the working location, and much more!
🔵 Before we get to the exciting growth story, could you please explain what Kilo Health does? What are your most popular products, who are your clients, and where are they located?
Kilo Health is one of the leading digital health and wellness companies in the world. We’re also among the fastest-growing health tech companies in Europe with 500+ employees. Our headquarters are in Lithuania, but we also have offices in Berlin and Kyiv.
We have plenty of well-performing products, from mental health apps to weight management programs. We’re also providing tools to prevent, manage, or treat various health conditions, focusing on developing chronic condition management products.
Some of the most popular products include:
Klinio – for diabetes management
Sensa – for mental health and wellness support
Cardi.Health – for cardiovascular health
Keto Cycle – for keto-powered nutrition
DoFasting – for following a healthy intermittent fasting routine
Our largest market is the US, but other English-speaking countries such as the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, also play a significant role. Other important markets for us include Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Middle Eastern, and Scandinavian countries. Anyone who wishes to have a better, healthier lifestyle might be our client.
🔵 Thinking about Kilo Health, the first thing that comes to mind is explosive growth. Could you give some insight into how quickly your business is accelerating?
Both the team and revenues are indeed growing at breakneck speed. We have hired 365 new people in 2021 so far. Next year, we plan to double our revenues, which already means generating a nine-digit revenue in 2022.
🔵 How is the size of the team holding up?
We’re facing hypergrowth. Every week, 4–10 new people join our team, so you can imagine the challenges we have. We put a lot of effort into the first onboarding day so that new hires may experience our culture and meet as many colleagues as possible. Still, the most important factor is how they feel during the first few months.
Additionally, we want to create a supportive, inviting, and challenging environment that keeps people working with us for a long time. That’s why we’re expanding not only the talent acquisition team but also hiring people responsible for motivation and personal development.
We don’t want to simply grow our teams, but to make sure that everyone who already works at Kilo Health is happy and sees meaning in their work and our mission. This is the only way to push Kilo Health to the next level.
🔵 Facing the hypergrowth of the team, have you opened any new offices lately, or have you opted more for a hybrid or remote work approach?
We have surveyed our people and learned that there is no one-size-fits-all option. As a result, everyone now works the way they want – anyone can find a place in the office, but if you prefer, you can work from anywhere in the world. We certainly do not apply strict rules.
One of our core values is ownership, freedom and creativity so each employee can make their own decisions on how and where to work – you do you, as long as the job gets done. Still, we try to make our offices as inviting as possible, so that more people want to come and work from there. We have offices in Vilnius and other Lithuanian cities, as well as spaces in Berlin and Kyiv.
🔵 With the team constantly expanding, high-performing employees should have good options for career growth. Could you share some stories of rising employees inside the company?
We try to help our employees grow by acquiring additional skills and promoting people from within the company. We create authentic leaders because Kilo Health’s culture is unique. Also, it is really valuable to train our existing employees for higher positions because they already know our culture.
An excellent example of this is one of our first teammates Kristina Zalnieraite who joined Kilo Health as a nutrition specialist back in 2018. Today, she is the Head of Nutrition and Wellness with 15 nutrition experts, dietitians and fitness consultants in her team.
Of course, we are always looking for external talents to join the ranks of our leadership team or as senior specialists. This ensures that we broaden our horizons as a company and soak in the best practices from different industries.
🔵 Even among startups, Kilo Health stands out for an extensive list of perks and benefits. Could you highlight some of them?
We just opened our new office, and we can call it Disneyland for our employees – we will have a massage parlour, gym, a bar, and just about anything you need to stay healthy, happy, and inspired. One of the recent must-haves is flexible private health insurance – as a company that works in the wellness industry, it was a no-brainer. We also provide 5 additional days off whenever you need it, workations, and all the learning opportunities you want, among other things.
We don’t think the fridge full of food, a taxi budget, or a game room is a perk. It’s just a part of creating an inviting environment and allowing some time to recharge and rest. We focus on making sure that employees’ ideas are heard, the work is challenging, the teams are inviting, and our people can ambitiously grow together with the company.
🔵 What’s the philosophy behind “spoiling your employees”?
If you love your teams, they will love their work. If you give your heart to your colleagues, they will share theirs.
🔵 If MeetFrank’s monthly leaderboards are any indication, Kilo Health is unquestionably one of the hottest Lithuanian startups to work for in 2021. How much interest in the company do you see among candidates?
We need to headhunt people like everyone else, but I think it is a bit easier for us at this point. We emphasize our culture and hire based on cultural fit and expertise.
We have already reached our yearly employee hiring goal for this year. We have a diverse group of colleagues – from Kyiv or Berlin to the Philippines or the UK. All of them provide Kilo Health with a diverse and global mindset.
🔵 Kilo Health has a particular company culture, amplified by prominent employer branding. In your opinion, what kind of qualities should the person have to fit into the team?
We look for people with a heightened sense of ownership but are also free, positive, straightforward, ambitious, flexible, fast, agile, and have a good sense of humour – those who wish to grow together and push the company to become better.
🔵 And finally, where do you see Kilo Health in the next few years?
Kilo Health was founded to design the most engaging and effective digital lifestyle interventions that lead to a healthier life by preventing, managing, or treating various health conditions. Our vision is to become the No. 1 digital health company in chronic condition management globally with the steady and constant growth we’ve maintained so far.
Printify is a Latvian print-on-demand service startup that helps merchants make more money in a simple and easy way. As co-founders of Printify (James Berdigans, Gatis Dukurs & Artis Kehris) have said, Printify was created to make merchandise available to everyone.
We had a chance to talk to their Head of Recruitment, Benjamin Moris, about their culture and what makes Printify unique for employees. I have to admit, when I heard Benjamin’s answers, I was thinking of applying for a position at Printify myself because what he said was very inspirational.
🔵 If you had to explain to a kindergartener what Printify does, how would you describe it?
The best explanation would be that, let’s say, you made a nice drawing, your mom finds it beautiful, she thinks a lot of people would like it as well, and maybe we can even make some business and money out of it. Why don’t we go to Printify and create an opportunity for others to buy some products with this cute drawing you just created and make more people in the world proud of seeing what you can make?
🔵 One of the main unique selling points that Printify has is the possibility of having a career while working entirely remotely. Why have you chosen that as your main selling point?
It’s a principle we truly embrace. We’ve grown this way, we have had that as a part of our DNA from the moment when we started growing and hiring people at a larger scale, and for us it’s not a temporary thing, but something we strongly believe in and want to continue. It will always stay as a part of our DNA.
If we go into more details, I’d say that allowing people to work remotely gives us three new flexibilities: flexibility for employees to permanently settle down wherever they want, temporary flexibility for employees to work from wherever they want and flexibility for Printify to hire talents in untouched talent pools, away from traditional big markets.
It’s an important point for us because we feel that everything has changed in the last two years due to the Covid-19 situation. I recently watched an interview with the founder and CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky. He explained that the world was previously centered around three places for people – work, home, and travel during the holidays. Today, all of those things are related, and they CAN be flexible.
The right talent might be based somewhere where no big companies are hiring – can we find those people? Maybe people want to be based in smaller places, in countries with fewer business opportunities. In the past, there were often very talented developers who could only work on a short-term contract or as freelancers because they wouldn’t be hired full-time in the big companies that they liked, although they had the talent for it. However, their situation (the need to feed the family, for example) would push them to relocate to a specific place.
Today we can offer them not having to choose between a career in a great company and the lifestyle they want. We can give them that flexibility. If we look at this as a selling point for us as a company, trying to hire the right talent pool and looking at people who can be based anywhere really gives us added value.
First of all, it means massive access to diversity that allows us to mix cultures. It’s essential for Printify not to hire people based on a culture fit, but based on the culture add, because you don’t need people who all look the same; you need to look at people who will bring something to your company culture. We open up that pool by going to different places, traveling countries and experiencing differences.
It also allows us to be closer to our customers because they’re everywhere in the world and that way we can better understand what they want. And not less important is that by being remote we can get access to talents across the world who are looking for this kind of flexibility.
🔵 Trust seems to be the key element when it comes to remote working culture. For instance, one of the biggest and most influential banks globally issued a statement in April ’21, requiring all employees to return to their offices by July ’21. In my opinion, it sends a message to their employees that the company is not trusting them. Speaking about Printify, what processes do you have in place to help your managers trust employees, even if all of them are working entirely remotely?
Trust is essential. For me, trust starts with the company culture. We have defined our values and at Printify we have four of them.
The first one is that the customer is our compass. As we discussed before, a diverse workforce will allow us to be closer to our customers. It’s pretty crucial for us.
The second one is that we strive for excellence. We expect effort and strong work ethics from the people we hire, empowering them to be the best they can. We all aspire to be better. Therefore we hire people who want to embody this value and don’t need to be told daily what to do or where to sit.
The third value is ‘We learn it all’. It’s about the growth mindset and the learning culture. We also hire people who want to become better and learn again, not because we tell them, but because they want to. That’s also aligning with the trust.
The last value is that we play to win together. Team spirit to achieve big things together is very important. Over the previous two years, we’ve learned how to win together remotely, as initially we didn’t have a choice. Now we know it’s possible. It’s possible because we trust each other and we can still be a team on-location or remotely. It’s something that we’ve seen and demonstrated along the way.
Looking for people who are striving for excellence, want to keep learning and want to work as a team means that we are looking for mature people who are willing to achieve things for themselves and can also be trusted to work fully remotely.
🔵 Is it possible that remote work fits only for a certain type of company, with a specific culture? How would you describe that culture?
It’s a great question. I don’t think anyone has an answer of whether it fits every company or not. I think we will discover that down the road.
The culture starts with trust. And in my opinion the growth mindset is also essential. Having people who sincerely want to be a part of the journey and grow together with their company, not just count on the company to do things for them. It’s linked with the fact that the company needs to empower people. The element of transparency is critical here. In the past, I’ve worked in the headquarters of big companies, but also in a smaller office 12,000 kilometers away from the headquarters. In every small office, there is always a strong belief that all the decisions are made at the headquarters, that a few people in the center decide everything, and that when you’re remote, you don’t get access to the right level of information or you don’t necessarily have a word in determining what you can do there.
We need to start with the mindset of a company where there is no headquarter. I mean, there is one, but even top leaders of the company can be based in different places. The most important thing is that you need to share information a lot more broadly. Because you need to share it between offices, with everyone and different people inside the company. You create a culture of transparency which is usually very embodied in the early stages of a company.
Having a high level of transparency makes a difference in how you can give a chance to everyone based anywhere in the world to feel as a part of the company and not like a second class employee just because they don’t have access to what is decided in the HQ.
I truly believe that the right balance is achieved when employees want to put the company’s interests above their own, and also companies are willing to put their employees’ interests above theirs in a virtuous circle.
🔵 Before Covid-19, the primary motivation for working on-site for many was that you were able to socialize with your co-workers and mingle during the lunch/coffee breaks. In your opinion, has the Covid-19 pandemic broken that behavior?
Socializing and mingling is still a big part of people’s work life, but I think people have realized it’s not the only one. I believe COVID-19 has opened the door to people’s mindsets to recognize that other ways are also possible. The time you can’t spend mingling with your colleagues can be compensated by the time you spend exercising or playing with your children instead of being stuck on a bus or in a traffic jam during your commute. There are of course different approaches, but creating space for employees to mingle, whether online for non-work-related things or through in-person gatherings a few times a year, will still remain an essential part of remote company culture. It is, however, vital to give people a choice and not tell them what they should like or do. Give them a chance to experience it all and let everyone decide what works best.
In my team, a few people recently decided to meet twice a week, an equivalent of a mingling coffee break, where everyone who joins can talk about anything but work. It happens online, instead of being around the coffee table, and it’s working – people get to know each other. We’ve already seen colleagues who are not sharing the same office know each other better because of that. We want everyone to be part of it, and people who’ve joined from different places say that this kind of space is excellent and essential for them. We need to create it, but we don’t need to assume it’s the only way. If such an approach didn’t exist, the culture would most likely not be thriving in the company.
🔵 How does Printify keep their remotely working professionals engaged and motivated simultaneously, so they still have a sense of belonging, besides online coffee breaks?
I think people find their own way. Generally, what’s important is that we show them it’s possible. For me, it starts from the beginning and from the top.
‘From the beginning’ means from the early days in the company. For example, we have at Printify an onboarding process where we create empowerment and a sense of responsibility that genuinely shows what is possible for the individuals in the company. We do it from day one. During our onboarding process, people learn the most important facts about the company and its culture for the first four or five days. They also get to experience the journey of a merchant working with Printify, because we are trying not only to explain, but also show how Printify actually works. We are a fast-growing company, but still a very young company, and the whole onboarding process was designed when we were all already working remotely. It’s remote by essence, by design.
‘From the top’ means it starts with managers; it needs to come strongly from leaders who show their employees that what matters is that the work gets done. When you see your CEO or other people presenting in a virtual call to the entire company, and you see them with a beach, forest or mountain background, which is not a fake background they’ve inserted on Zoom or Google Meet, it shows everyone that it’s fully okay to do so. It also shows that managers should embrace the concept and lead by example. I’m also a bit of an example of that – I’m a French citizen, I was hired from Singapore by a Latvian company, and I’m taking our call from Portugal today. I’ve been in the company for five months, and I have not met a single person face-to-face yet. And things are going well.
Since I’ve joined Printify, I’ve hired people in my team remotely. I’ve hired employees in Latvia, Ukraine, Romania, Bosnia and Georgia. And that’s just for the recruitment team. For other teams, we’ve also hired people in Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, and I could give you a long list. We’ve recently even hired someone who started working remotely for us in Uruguay and just relocated them to Riga. Overall, today we have employees in more than 20 countries, and there are only four countries where we have more than five employees. When people join the company, they know that working remotely is the norm. They don’t feel lonely in their situation. They might sometimes feel lonely in their location, but never in their situation.
Printify’s management team (from left): Edgars Peics – Chief Technology Officer, Miks Lusitis – Head of Data, James Berdigans – CEO & Founder, Lauris Lietavietis – Chief Sales and Partnerships Officer, Valeria Kast – Head of Merchant Support, Artis Grizans – Chief Financial Officer
🔵 Is remote work here to stay when we have defeated the Covid-19, or do you expect many companies to adjust back to old ways of working?
Many companies will want to go back to the pre-COVID situation, and I think they will most likely fail at it. The mindsets have already shifted – less and less people feel that they should be told what to do, especially by their employers. Companies that position themselves correctly will definitely have the edge over the competition.
Our internal employee surveys show that most employees prefer to keep the flexibility of deciding where they work. When there were no COVID restrictions in our office in June and July, we still had a minority of employees visiting the office more than three times a week. Why would we change it? Just because suddenly there are no more restrictions? We won’t tell our people, “No, you need to come in!”.
I believe a lot of companies will display flexibility, but they will not embrace it. They will offer remote work for a few days a week, which will help some people, but will not completely change their lives.
🔵 Does Printify have any recruitment and human operation philosophy that you follow while recruiting?
Our recruitment philosophy is “Hire the best wherever they are. Find the person with the best mindset, best fit for the role and the company, location is just a detail.”
For the HR philosophy, it’s keeping it very transparent. We need to hire people, and every time we hire someone in a new place, it’s a rather complicated process. We need to find a local partner and get familiar with the local regulations, but we’re willing to do it because we feel it adds value. We need to be transparent about what we know and what we don’t know. We also have to take people through inconveniences sometimes, where we’re finding things out, and it’s essential that people trust us while we’re doing it. If something doesn’t work out, we’ll always tell them that. Honesty is fundamental.
The last, but certainly not least aspect from an HR perspective is to keep people happy. Make sure that your people like where they are and are happy working in the company; it’s essential. The last time I checked, we had a 4.8 rating on Glassdoor by employees. That’s pretty rare and unique. I’m not saying we’ll be able to make it last forever, but if we can make it last as long as possible and make sure we make people happy, that’s what is most important for us.
We have interviewed a lot of great companies & people over the past year. Companies ranging from consultancies and corporations to unicorns, each of which has its unique story to tell. There has been an equally diverse set of interviewees, from CEOs to CTOs, and, of course, many people from Human Resources. ✌️
Which interview has been the most interesting? It’s hard to tell definitively, but here are the top 10 most popular articles, ranked by the number of readers.
#10 – Evolution
If you are into software engineering, then the interview is a blast: We discuss the main benefits of using Scala, transitioning the codebase into a new language while the system remains in production, and the best way to learn a new programming language.
We chatted with Supermetrics in the autumn of 2020, right after they announced a blockbuster €40M Series B funding round. 💰
The interview with Viivi Marttinen, People Operations Manager, went deep into their recruiting process, including how they find the best candidates & convince them to join the company. Also, we touched on the set-up of the HR team and how remote work has changed the way they operate.
kevin. is a fast-growing fin-tech from Lithuania with the utmost flexibility in terms of working time and place. 🌍
Agnė Meškaitė, their Chief People Officer, explained how kevin. focuses on results, not on hours spent working, and how they set up their organization to fit every employee’s individual flow and peak productivity hours.
A candid conversation with Hanna Kontinen, Head of Talent & Culture at Brella, about their progress in diversity and inclusion. 👣
By creating a diverse environment, they aim to unlock innovation and allow for more unique ideas. But what KPI-s to track? How to include these ideas in the hiring process? And why should companies stay humble while discussing D&I issues?
Nord Security began inside the Tesonet accelerator back in 2012. Now the company has nearly 700 employees and 15 million users worldwide. 🔥
In 2021, Nord Security stepped outside of Tesonet and started building separate company culture and employer brand. Karina Dirvonskienė, Head of HR, talked about the opportunities and challenges that followed this decision.
Tomas Unikauskis, CEO of Smart Brands Lab, opens the world of micro-brands for us. 🔎
We talk about their proprietary niche brand scoring algorithm that identifies the new target products and how they manage their five existing niche brands. Also, can a micro-brand sometimes be too micro?
In the summer of 2020, the news broke that Boku will acquire Fortumo for up to 40M euros. 🤝
Fortumo’s excellent team was mentioned as the main reason for the deal, so we naturally wanted to talk with their Head of HR, Signe Virolainen. How do you create a culture that is worth tens of millions?