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Don’t Outgrow Your Roots

by Guest Writter
David Berman, President, RingCentral
How RingCentral Maintains Core Values During Rapid Growth

When Vlad Shmunis, RingCentral’s founder and CEO, brought me on to his team, he asked me to lead the company’s growth with larger customers and rally the organization to the next level. In startup mode, the team was very small, fast and intense. As a public company, he knew it would be important to pull together with onshore and offshore teams in the U.S., Europe, China, Russia, Ukraine and the Philippines. In short, we needed to scale the business, improve alignment, and change the way we work and communicate among a global workforce.

I got to work in June 2013, and we IPO’d less than six months later.  Going from a private to pubic company is a lot like going from college football to the NFL. We are growing rapidly, while working to improve our product and our productivity. Each quarter, we bring in many new associates. We also continue to look to expand both domestically and internationally.

When I think about how to strengthen a diverse, growing staff, I think about values and I believe the best approach is to clearly define what we believe in, and how we work together and treat customers. That starts with articulating our mission, vision and values as an organization, and ensuring each executive, manager and employee understands how their work fits in. That way, everyone can embrace their role and contribute to their fullest potential.

Value 1. Vital Few Goals & Initiatives

We asked RingCentral teams to develop four or five “vital few” goals and initiatives that will dramatically improve results in their area of the business. The goal is to align the teams and focus on the work that matters most to drive the company’s strategy, mission and vision.

For example, our Marketing team decided to focus on increasing the number of sales-qualified leads and working on product adoption. As a result, they have been able to improve teamwork, streamline execution and increase communication by aligning their goals and initiatives. RingCentral’s cross-functional cooperation has also greatly improved by employees openly sharing vital few goals for each department.

Value 2. Employee Feedback

After working to align vital initiatives, our senior executives reported that we were more in sync then ever as a company. We recently completed a global employee surveys, and heard that while a very large majority of employees enjoyed their work and believed RingCentral is heading in the right direction, almost everyone asked for clearer, regular communication of company initiatives, strategy and performance. We’ve since made communication a top priority, holding quarterly all-hands, and sharing regular updates from the senior levels.

Value 3. Training & Development

We’re investing in strong leaders and well-trained employees because we believe they are the best foundation for success. Entry-level staff, managers and executives can take advantage of ongoing training and development to build strengths and address any gaps. These include courses on our products and services, technical and business skills, and customer service. In addition, the RingCentral Leadership Academy focuses on developing leadership skills from individual contributors to C-level executives, because we believe that everyone contributes to leadership.

Value 4. Customer-Focused Approach

We believe making our customers successful is our number one priority and is dependent on employee engagement.  In my own meetings, if a customer is not mentioned in the first 15 minutes, then everyone can leave the meeting. Developing solutions and improving processes to make our customers even more successful are critical in a recurring revenue business.

Recently, we invited several customers to participate in our Customer Advisory board.  They spent a couple of days with our team and gave feedback about the product and their experience with RingCentral. By the end of the event, they were thrilled about our customer focus and efforts to consistently enhance our services. It was a good lesson in the power of connecting directly and building relationships with our customers.

Value 5. Open-Door Policy 

RingCentral encourages staff members of all levels to approach senior staff with questions, comments, feedback and ideas. This open-door policy is evident throughout day-to-day operations.

A top sales rep asked to shadow me for a day. It was a valuable learning experience for both of us. When we have company lunches and breakfasts, you’ll see executive management sprinkled among the newer employees. It’s amazing how many of our employees, even recent college graduates, are eager to engage with senior executives about questions vital to our business.

Above anything else, we work to ensure that employees at RingCentral understand how they contribute to the broader strategy of the company. We speak regularly about our core values so, as we get bigger, we also get better. The result is empowered employees—and a company that puts out a product that’s greater than the sum of its parts.


About the Author

David Berman is president of RingCentral where he provides leadership across the business to develop, communicate, and implement RingCentral’s vision, mission, and overall strategic direction. With more than 20 years of experience in the software technology industry, Berman is known for his innovative, highly successful sales and go-to-market strategies as well as his expertise leading high-performing organizations.

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