Cloudflare, Inc. (www.cloudflare.com / @cloudflare) is on a mission to help build a better Internet. Cloudflare’s suite of products protect and accelerate any Internet application online without adding hardware, installing software, or changing a line of code. Internet properties powered by Cloudflare have all web traffic routed through its intelligent global network, which gets smarter with every request. As a result, they see significant improvement in performance and a decrease in spam and other attacks. Cloudflare was named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top Company Cultures 2018 list and ranked among the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company in 2019. Headquartered in San Francisco, CA, Cloudflare has offices in Austin, TX, Champaign, IL, New York, NY, San Jose, CA, Seattle, WA, Washington, D.C., Toronto, Dubai, Lisbon, London, Munich, Paris, Beijing, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo.
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Employees collaborate throughout Cloudflare by leading with curiosity, empathy, and transparency. The Cloudflare team revolves around the Internet — something that’s relied on by everyone in the world. You have already used Cloudflare today without knowing it, with Cloudflare’s employees behind the scenes making sure it is secure, fast, and reliable. That being said, with the Internet landscape constantly evolving, this calls for varying perspectives and approaches. In order to bring these to light, the company has multiple channels for voicing ideas and collaborating on what’s being built. Examples of this range from “sprints” within technical departments that serve as real test environments for new concepts (encouraging employees to fail fast and learn, or find the next big thing), to internal chat rooms that are virtual places for cross functional dialogues, between all employees including leadership, to welcome and serve more serendipitous thoughts.
It all comes back to a mission, a bold one. Sometimes company mission statements feel forced, or something that a majority of employees have no idea what it is. At Cloudflare, this happens to be something that each and every employee is working towards: helping build a better Internet. Employees are deeply held to this — in fact, internal Cloudflare surveys have shown that 94% of employees are “inspired by Cloudflare’s mission to build a better Internet.” Additionally, 92% of Cloudflare employees strongly agree that their “work is important to the company.” With 20% of the web running through Cloudflare today, and this growing every single quarter, employees know their work is scaling rapidly — having an impact today and in the future as the company is helping shape the Internet itself.
Ensuring there is visibility. At Cloudflare, visibility is simply a big part of everyone contributing to innovation. One example of this is, every week, Cloudflare’s co-founder & CEO, Matthew, kicks off the company-wide all hands meeting, to then be followed by various team members – from any department, at any level – presenting on what they’re working on or recently launched, along with the impact. The result is a culture in which everyone is working on something impactful, and everyone else wants to hear about it. Then, the meeting is concluded by Cloudflare’s co-founder, President & COO, Michelle, reading aloud kudos word-for-word that are submitted by any employee recognizing any other employee(s) for their work/impact, for the entire company to hear about it.
Focusing equally on results and behaviors. At Cloudflare, results plus behaviors equal employee performance. Meaning, the HOW matters. There are a few factors that are critical to goals and success within the organization:
1) Communicate clearly, directly, and transparently
2) Do the right thing
3) Get your work across the finish line
4) Lead with empathy and assume good intentions
5) Be curious to learn and grow
6) Embrace diversity to make Cloudflare better
In fact; the curiosity, empathy, and transparency that makes up how Cloudflare operates, actually mirrors how employees describe the capabilities of the entire team. Seeking out how employees identify with and feel about the company, Cloudflare actually internally crowdsourced how all team members would describe Cloudflare and the culture — finding that curiosity, empathy, and transparency to be some of the most recurring words voiced. As Cloudflare’s co-founder, President & COO says, companies are collections of its people.
For starters, the choice for employees to be remote or in-person or hybrid. This approach to where work gets done, is up to them. Alongside this, employees are encouraged to put blocks on their calendars if they need them for personal matters — anything from childcare to travel time — and employees globally are expected to respect calendars. Cloudflare is flexible in this nature, believing and seeing how this enables each individual to deliver their best work while still maintaining whatever lifestyle they may want or need outside of work.
Employees will likely get a sense of this even before day one. Cloudflare’s co-founder & CEO, Matthew Prince, speaks with a vast majority of the candidates that get to the final stages of interviewing with Cloudflare. Each final candidate will have a call with Matthew, or either Michelle, John Graham-Cumming (Chief Technology Officer), or Janet Van Huysse (Chief People Officer). Matthew also personally speaks with every single New Hire Class during their onboarding to share the deep background of Cloudflare and to ensure that every single employee at the company has a relationship and open dialogue with him.
To name a few: flexible approaches to where employees work (it is their choice to be remote, in-person, or hybrid), take what you need PTO, making every employee a shareholder (NYSE: NET), paid family leave for all parents (global minimum of 16 weeks), family planning benefits inclusive to all families, health benefits including mental health, among other practices, such as those that ranked Cloudflare in receiving a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index.
As part of Cloudflare’s “Back to Better” approach, the Cloudflare team is not returning to what work was pre-pandemic: every employee in-office every day of the work week. That’s because a lot has shifted, we’ve learned better ways of working. Accommodating flexible workstyles that have proven to be productive and beneficial for the company and employees, is something Cloudflare wants to continue. For employees that do want to return to offices on days of their choosing, this looks much different in order to cater to hybrid work schedules and bolster the current ways of working. Cloudflare recently renovated its San Francisco HQ in an effort to create a blueprint for the post-pandemic workplace with new layouts designed for in-person experimentation, collaboration, as well as quiet solo time — and similarly remodeled one of its large European offices, in London. These redesigned spaces are serving as new test grounds, focused on enhancing the reasons while meeting the needs for coming into an office today. Experimentation is big in Cloudflare’s Back to Better approach — planning to learn from and replicate these types of plans across its 17 offices globally.