Company Culture

Tech company culture is always a hot topic. There's a constant stream of blog posts and news stories about what companies are doing right, what they're doing wrong, how employees should act on benefits that can be considered "dark perks", how companies respond to violations of their cultural values, to what degree companies should hire based on whether a prospective candidate is a "good culture fit", etc.

These are important discussions, and they're always worth having. Company culture should be fluid. It should evolve as a company scales, and change and adapt if it stifles growth or cohesiveness. Culture can also erode: it's not a permanent institution that maintains itself without effort. Regular, open discussions about company values are a vital part of a successful, evolving culture.

We value transparency at Auth0, both for current and prospective employees. We've shared how we hire engineers (this general process is roughly equivalent across most departments in the company in addition to Engineering), and we'd now like to share our culture and values!

Culture and Values at Auth0

Culture is the collective personality of a company. This encompasses who we are and who we aspire to be.

Values guide us in our day-to-day interactions and decision-making.

At Auth0, our values include a strong focus on:

  • Customer obsession
  • Intense mutual respect, trust, and accountability
  • High performance
  • Collaboration
  • Continuous learning
  • Radical transparency
  • Passion

We strongly value the ability to refine, add, and remove values that, as a collective body, we feel would benefit from modification. Companies aren't static, and our values shouldn't be either. In fact, our values are currently undergoing revision as a result of a culture evaluation exercise all employees participated in at our most recent (at time of writing) company offsite at the end of July, 2017.

"Companies aren't static, and company cultural values shouldn't be either."

We have somewhat less formal policies as well, such as "No BAP". To put it simply, this means:

  • No BS
  • No A$$holes
  • No Politics

In an anonymous culture survey of current Auth0 employees, people overwhelmingly expressed positive feedback. They most commonly mentioned respectfulness and no BS when asked how they would describe Auth0's culture.

"Auth0's mantra: No BAP = No BS, No A$$holes, No Politics."

Culture is Much More Than Perks

As stated above, our culture is the personality of our company and its aspirations. When looking at company job postings, it can be easy to misinterpret culture as just a list of benefits and perks. Auth0 has many perks, including:

  • Flex hours
  • Extensive vacation
  • Free food and snacks in the offices
  • MacBook Pros
  • Software, hardware, and trip expensing
  • All-expenses paid international offsite
  • Etc.

However, perks are only a minor component of culture. A company can have perks that sound great on paper, but if the culture doesn't truly support the use of those perks, they become pointless, or even damaging. For example, if employees are told they have unlimited vacation but then are shamed for taking advantage of it, this becomes a dark perk. If a company has an arcade machine and a sofa that sit unused because the culture discourages taking breaks, the perk backfires.

Perks are integrated into the culture at Auth0. Employees and senior leadership are tremendously hard-working, while we also understand and value the necessity of vacations, social time, and expenses that promote continuous learning (such as software and events).

Auth0 employees together at offsite in Cancun, Mexico Auth0 2017 company offsite in Cancún, Mexico

The Culture of a Distributed Workforce

Auth0 is a distributed company. Our employees live all over the world, and the majority of us work remotely. We have headquarter offices located in Seattle, Buenos Aires, and London. Employees living near the offices can choose for themselves whether they want to work from those locations or their own homes (or a mix of both).

Remote work can be fraught with challenges, but we have the benefit of having grown up as a remote workforce. We take advantage of collaborative tools like Slack, Zoom, Google Apps, and more to work together. We hack on the tools to help them do more for us (e.g., with Slackbots powered by our Webtask platform). Collaboration and transparency are some of our core values, and it could be easy to fall short in those areas in a distributed company. Great care and attention are paid to ensure that doesn't happen.

Our employees are very self-directed and are responsible for managing their own time. This is a requirement in a distributed company with workers spread across the globe in different timezones. This promotes a healthy work-life balance and plenty of flexibility, although it can occasionally result in people working self-imposed long hours if they have trouble "switching off" when their workday is supposed to end.

People manage this in different ways; some set daily reminders that alert them to eat meals, go outside, stop working in the evening, etc.

Each year, Auth0 pays all expenses to bring employees to one location to meet face to face. We have sessions, awards, team-building and leisure activities, and dine and socialize together as a company. This is a tremendously enjoyable and valuable time, and its importance for a distributed workforce cannot be understated.

Auth0 2017 company offsite: "Authziro" award winners with Senior Leadership Team Auth0 2017 company offsite: "Authziro" award winners with Senior Leadership Team

The Connection Between Company Culture and Diversity and Inclusion

Auth0 is expanding quickly. In this time of rapid growth, it's even more important to pay attention to our culture and evolve and scale it in order to preserve the respect, dedication, and passion that has propelled us to the place we're at now.

New initiatives are being formed. We're taking strides to diversify further. As a distributed, international company, we have awesome opportunities to attract amazing talent across global cultures. In addition, we'd love to attract many talented people across genders.

There is a connection between company culture and diversity and inclusion. This connection exists even if current levels of diversity don't yet meet aspirations! A company that places strong emphasis on respect, trust, and collaboration fosters a welcoming and inclusive environment for every employee. Incoming candidates experience this first-hand during the hiring process, as we interface heavily with people throughout the interviews and exercises.

"Auth0's values emphasize respect, trust, & collaboration, providing an inclusive environment for all employees."

A collaborative and respectful culture fosters equal treatment for everyone, regardless of age, race, gender, seniority, or position level. We are dedicated to upholding these cultural values as we grow as a company.

Conclusion

At Auth0, our culture is very important to us, and we're dedicated to continually improving it. We're also working hard to find more ways to reach out to a diverse range of talented individuals who would like to join us. If you have any suggestions for us, we're always looking to improve.

If you'd like to see what it's like to work with us, we encourage you to check out our job openings and get in touch! In addition, we have community initiatives and are always looking for people who are interested in contributing via our Guest Author and Auth0 Ambassador programs. In the spirit of transparency, we also have many open-source libraries that welcome contributors, such as auth0.js, Lock, and more in our GitHub.

We'd love to work with you!

Auth0 offsite 2017