2022 was a huge year of growth for AtomicJar. In December of 2020 AtomicJar was a scrappy team of 9 people, mostly engineers, who laid the foundation for all of us who joined this year. Now in December 2022, we have not only grown to a team of 22 people, but we have expanded the areas of expertise and the countries and cultures represented. Take a look at this kick-ass team that we have built.
Our hiring approach has always been to hire the best person for the job, no matter where they are located in the world. I may have dreamed about this approach early in my career, never thinking that it would become achievable. This idealistic approach allowed us to explore and onboard top talent for our design, engineering, customer success, product, and people teams.
Yet, the most important factor in our hiring process (at least in my humble opinion) is that we hire intentionally. Yes, we are a fast moving startup always trying to optimize our time to hire metrics, but we don’t let those metrics define us. We take the time to speak with highly qualified candidates who will level up AtomicJar and who will thrive personally and professionally from joining our team. We believe that in each interview we are interviewing the candidate and that candidate is also interviewing us. Waiting until we found that synergy, before making an offer, is one of the elements that has primed us for success.
I know that “company values” is a buzzword, and they may make you cringe. But at AtomicJar, we kind of love them. Seriously. AtomicJar’s values started as an informal discussion from the very founding of the company. This year we made them official.
On the surface, they are simple and direct. Yet they manage to be powerful and impactful in everything that we do. Above all the great qualities that our team embodies we value Kindness, Inclusion, Trust, and Execution. We measure ourselves, teammates, leaders, and candidates against these ideals. They’re a way for us to celebrate or improve one another. We found that everything—from work to collaboration—goes smoother when we keep these values in mind and act accordingly.
AtomicJar Team Offsite Retreat
Hands down, one of my most favorite things I did this year was to have a hand in planning (and then attending) AtomicJar’s first offsite! We booked the Urban Cowboy Lodge in the Catskills region of New York and gathered our amazing team from all over the world. We had 84% attendance from 9 different countries converged in the New York mountains. Even with one new hire, who hadn’t officially had their first day yet. For many of us, it was the first time meeting one another in person. We connected with each other over business sessions, culture sessions, games, activities, and relaxing.
Our goal for this event was simple: team building and bonding. Exploring values, feedback, and communication in a multicultural company. We aimed to provide a psychologically safe space for everyone. A space to come together and get to know one another, both professionally and personally. While also making room for the hard conversations. Such as reducing bias, and increasing cultural awareness, exploring our values and what they mean to us individually and as a team. You know, totally simple stuff (wink).
Though we were excited to come together, we didn’t want to exclude those who were not able to travel to New York. For all the sessions, we ensured that we had a live stream to our remote team members and a speaker in the room so they could fully participate. Though they couldn’t share actual meals with us (and those meals were so good that we asked the chef for recipes after we left) they were able to participate in the most meaningful sessions with the whole team.
We kicked off with the story of AtomicJar’s journey as a company. During this session the team learned the deeper context to all the milestones we achieved to get to today. We followed this by a fun awards ceremony and team trivia. These revealed even more points of connection and the personalities of the team members, than we had hoped.
Sessions on AtomicJar values and communication in a multicultural team, had everyone participating and contributing their points of view. Openly sharing ideas that will help shape and refine our company approach. Sessions on public/conference speaking and user testing engaged the team outside of their roles. We also enjoyed non-work related sessions together like felting, fishing, and a cocktail competition. Impromptu running sessions, chess games, kite flying, lawn games, and even music creation popped up all around the venue.
By far, the most exciting session—led by our two co-founders—was the Future of Atomic Jar session. The team came together to learn about all of the exciting goals and plans we could look forward to. Like any great coach or leader they shared what they knew the team was capable of achieving. And backed up their confidence in us and how we can get there together.
It was bittersweet as we boarded buses and planes to say goodbye. But really, we were simply saying until the next Zoom.
Looking to next year
As exciting as 2022 was for AtomicJar, we are looking forward to an even better 2023. We are looking to scale more in the People + Culture realm through hiring for multiple departments. Maturing our approach to recruiting and hiring, strengthening our cultural context, communication, and connections across team members. Being more intentional in our diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging approach as a company. These initiatives — along with more in-person team and company-wide sessions — will contribute to making 2023 even better than 2022. We’ve set the bar high so I know it will be hard, but it is indeed, possible.