We were recently included in Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For in 2018”. How did that happen? Honestly, I’m not sure how they decide. But it’s not much of a surprise. We had some celebrations across the offices with the announcement, but for the most part we just kind of smiled, shrugged, and thought, “yeah, that makes sense.”
Actually it’s our overall parent company, Alliance Data, that won the award. We at Conversant are part of this large S&P 500 company you’ve probably never heard of, an organization big enough that our CEO’s official nickname for it is “the Mothership.” But I’ll go ahead and embrace my bias. Working at Conversant, and specifically within Conversant Engineering, means working in the best part of a “Best 100 Company.”
I can’t speak for Fortune’s selection criteria, but I can provide some perspective on what’s so great about working here.
Conversant is an engineering-focused company, and we have a robust and diverse engineering team. It’s the capabilities that we deliver that differentiate us from our competitors. We build sustainable systems that scale, taking the time to build them right and continually improve. Even our non-engineers think like engineers, with product owners eschewing one-off solutions and seeking platform-wide capabilities. When I say scale, I mean Internet scale, with transactions measured in the billions and time measured in milliseconds. I could go on, but other posts here cover that pretty well.
It’s baked right into our individual goals — a minimum of 48 hours of training for the year. It’s a lot of hours, but easy to achieve with the number of online and in-person classes and talks. In fact, in engineering we produce a lot of our learning for one another. We have small informal “learn something new” talks where we take turns investigating interesting tech, and then share our learnings around a table. We have regular knowledge shares to show others what projects we are working on. We have lightning talks and full multi-office tech deep dives. We’re also pretty active on the meet-up scene, hosting events and giving talks. And here’s a key thing: for all the brilliant people we have around here, there’s not a culture of “smarter than thou” — we’re not afraid to ask questions and love to help one another out.
Work life balance
Throughout the organization everyone recognizes the importance of family, friends and time away from work. There is no glorification of the self sacrificing workaholic, nor shaming someone who catches a 5 p.m. train home. We also have unlimited PTO, so there’s no stress about using your time off when you need it. We come to work and are driven to achieve because it’s fun to solve problems and ship to production.
Our President is an Engineer
Ric Elert came up from the engineering side, so he understands and values what we do, and trusts us to do it the right way without meddling. The best part of that is that he puts his money where his mouth is: spending on hardware and systems where needed, and adhering to a long-standing commitment to hire the best engineering and data science talent we can find.
The Whole Thing
Let’s be clear, Alliance isn’t recognized as a great place to work just based on an engineering group in one of its divisions. The entire company supports rewarding careers in all areas. Being surrounded by happy, productive, talented people makes our jobs in Conversant Engineering that much better. We work with designers, creatives, marketers, operations and data scientists, all of whom bring their A-game every day. As part of Alliance Data, we get the stability of a larger organization that shares the same culture of growth, learning, and trust. There is no better place to be.