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How One Tech Founder Built a Great Place to Work

Every company wants to be considered a great place to work. Tech founder Chad Rubin’s strategy on workplace culture and employee happiness is one effective method.

The letter "J" for Justworks.
Feb 20, 20183 minutes
building a great place to work

Becoming a great place to work doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of strategizing by key stakeholders and teams within a company. Often, it starts from the top down.

A company’s CEO or founder has a huge impact on the workplace culture and company values of the business they’ve built. For those that value employee happiness, there’s always work to do.

We sat down with Chad Rubin, serial entrepreneur and founder of Skubana, to talk about entrepreneurship, what makes a great place to work, and why it matters to him.

Building a Great Place to Work

Could you go a little into the history of Skubana and what the company does?

I co-founded Skubana four years ago with DJ Kunovac, who was building enterprise software to unify hospital operations at the time. We were introduced through a mutual friend. DJ started dissecting my own operations and began analyzing the tools that were currently available.

Ultimately, we were aiming to solve the most serious problems of order processing and inventory management that cause millions of dollars in losses for ecommerce sellers every year. The result was Skubana.

We start every performance review by asking our employees this question: “Are you happy?”

Skubana is an enterprise-grade, all-in-one Cloud Saas Platform empowering ecommerce businesses to synchronize, optimize, and simplify their inventory management across channels. The platform not only disrupted the market, but invented a new breed of product for high-performing enterprise ecommerce companies.

You've founded other companies prior to Skubana. Can you talk about your journey as an entrepreneur?

One door closed and a new door opened. In 2009, I was let go from a Wall Street job. I decided to help my parents who owned a vacuum store to sell their vacuum cleaner products online, and found a greater problem to solve. By cutting out the middleman and going directly to the consumer with home appliance parts and accessories, we created our own brand, and Think Crucial.

We found that we needed to stitch together fragmented softwares to run our business. I realized there was no automation or intelligence garnered by doing that — so we started Skubana.

Entrepreneurship is all about finding problems and solving them!

As a founder and CEO, you have a big hand in creating the workplace culture of your company. How do you approach that challenge?

Culture is influenced, but it’s the team that creates it. For me, I like to give everyone on our team the autonomy to be the CEO of their job. It’s healthy, and it allows them to make a direct impact on the organization.

We strive to create a fun, relaxed atmosphere. At the same time, everyone knows their metrics and the KPIs they need to hit. We trust people to find the balance.

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How important is employee happiness to you? What kinds of things do you do to cultivate a great place to work for your team?

We start every performance review by asking our employees this question: “Are you happy?” We want everyone to be happy — if you’re happy, and you like what you are working on and who you are working with, then the results will be outstanding performance!

To that end, we organize team outings and pay for gym memberships for our employees. And as customers of Justworks, our employees have access to perks like 401(k), commuter benefits, and more.

A great place to work starts with caring about your employees.

As for workplace culture initiatives, we always end the week with a drink or two in hand (kombucha, or something with more alcohol) to relax and unwind with colleagues.

This year, we’re flying employees out to the Coachella music festival. I’m excited to see how it goes!

What do you think is the future of the "great place to work"?

I think perks help, but a great place to work starts with caring about your employees. It’s about creating employee happiness, and allowing people to thrive and create impact working on what they love.