A lot can happen in two years at a start-up…
…So we chatted to Maggie to get her thoughts on the growth of Userlane and how a culture of kindness, productivity and helping one another remains strong in our DNA.
Watch the interview here…
Or read on to hear what Maggie had to say…
My time at Userlane
I joined Userlane in January 2019, and I came from a company where culture wasn’t ideal. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Userlane had a very young and highly motivated team. It felt as though everyone was a total overachiever. People would tell me how they’d woken up at 6am, done their meditation or yoga, written in their journal, and were ready to take on the day!
It was apparent to me that you needed to bring your ‘A Game’.
Within my first few weeks at Userlane, I was thrown into an international conference and had to present in German to Executives at the likes of Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. I quickly realised there is a fail fast, learn fast culture at Userlane. But what really sets them apart is the support you receive.
Within the sales team, it isn’t aggressive, it isn’t territorial. Everybody has everyone else’s success in mind and that really shines through in how we work together as a team.
Watching Userlane grow
I was roughly the 40th employee to be hired at Userlane and quickly I witnessed the team expand. We bought in new engineers, the marketing team grew with new talent and the sales team is now at around 25 people. Which for me has been crazy and exciting to see.
One of the most interesting aspects to witness has been the opportunity for Userlaners to work remotely. It started with a colleague of mine in the sales team who relocated away from the office in Munich. However, our CEO and other team members valued his skills so much they arranged for a remote working set-up. This was ahead of the Pandemic when the rest of the world was forced to work remotely, and so we were ahead of the curve and had already established that trust.
We understood that we could work successfully as a team, even remotely. That has really paved the way to recruiting internationally. Currently we’re building up our London employee base, we have people in Israel, Greece, Ireland, and other countries.
Seeing everybody continue to work together in spite of the distance has been great.
How remote working, works for us
The team has always had a lot of trust in each other. There’s never been any micromanaging, nobody double checks you’re meeting deadlines because we all trust and respect each other to know that we will. This internal motivation runs through the entire culture and the DNA of the people at Userlane. The HR team has done a fantastic job of hiring to achieve this.
As we expand remotely, there is this great sense of pushing in the same direction. The culture has been shaped by this shared factor. As we expand to more remote areas, new people bring in different perspectives, opinions and thoughts to create a fascinating melting pot of people.
Everyone is headed towards the same goal and everybody has a voice. Even when we have our team meetings, of around 90 people, new team members feel comfortable to contribute with advice or comments, or even a silly joke on a Friday morning.
What culture means to me
I can’t imagine that selling software would have been what I had dreamt for myself when I was 10 years old. I wanted to be an actress!
But if you were to ask me why I really love my job. It’s knowing that the colleagues that I work with are super motivated. They’re energetic. They’re positive. And again, we all are working towards making the customers happy and delivering a great service.
As a huge people person, I really value the fact that the team continues to come together – even helping me move house – and this is reflected in the productivity and the success that Userlane has.
What we do well
We had a head of HR a few years ago, whose main motto was to always assume that people are doing things with the best intentions. People at Userlane go above and beyond to help their colleagues, and I think that’s because we tend to genuinely hire nice people and everybody understands what the end goal is.
We all have a blank check, I will help you as much as you need, you will help me as much as I need. That trust really enables us to work very well cross-culturally and also across different geographies.
The startup scene is pretty small in Munich. You tend to hear horror stories of companies that blew up and hired 300 people overnight with no real integration.
At Userlane, we definitely have a tight relationship. Pre-pandemic, we had regular late night burrito evenings. Again, I mentioned people helped me move from one flat to the next!
As things have been expanding, there is the concern of a culture shift, but I have been consistently impressed at how the culture has maintained a level of kindness and intelligence. We have really great, smart, qualified people and if we can continue this kind of energy and attitude that seems to come with new hires, then I see great potential for us to continue networking internationally.
I personally am responsible for international markets and am originally from the US so I am pushing for an American office. I could then see my family more often, but I would be super curious to see what other personalities we could pull in as well.
‘We care’ was one of the first Userlane values, and I think that’s still true today.
Team get together
We have a big team building event going on, or at least planned for October – Pandemic pending.
The entire team is very excited as for a lot of us, it will be the first time that we get to meet some of our international colleagues. We plan on meeting somewhere Alpine, of course, for team building exercises and lots of brainstorming. We’ll be pulling in colleagues from Israel, from London, from Greece, and from Poland.
To be able to share a glass of wine, or even just a juice, and talk to your colleagues to find out their backgrounds, where they have worked and what their expectation of the company is, will be really interesting.
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