Interview with Claire Ucovich, Vice President of People & Culture at Fuze.
1. What is your role at Fuze?
Vice President of People & Culture - which I translate to 'focusing on the experience of being a part of Fuze'; everything from where you sit, to what you’re learning, to creating a space that emulates Fuze values. What we do, what we say, how we filter ideas and collaborate on decisions, directly impacts our people and in turn our culture.
You can break this experience philosophy down into two main parts: 'behind the curtain' and 'center stage'. Behind the curtain is the more technical, numbers driven work. It's important and interesting to those of us motivated by analytics, yet not nearly as exciting as center stage-type activities, which are most important for Fuze as a whole. Center stage is where we really feel the energy of our great team, activities like our all-hands town halls, community outreach at shelters, spontaneous intra-office team events, recruiting events, leadership off-sites, Thursday night happy hours, and weekend bbqs. Placing a priority on fun at work is directly connected to building stronger teams with higher trust and lower stress levels. We are building a meritocracy of creatives who have a passion for changing the world of work.
2. If you were going to give public tours of this company, what stops would the guide make?
A tour through Fuze would stop at each of our teams and hear their stories about why they chose to work here.
Starting with Product and Engineering teams, one of the most important parts of our company's history is the conception of the design for each product. Our approach to mobility has created a viral, contagious interest in Fuze. These teams have passion for making an impact in the lives of our users. First stop: witness how scripting and coding brings to life our vision of workplace mobility.
Our Marketing and Sales teams would tell you about the current state of user delight, recounting stories from small businesses to global giants about how Fuze is making an impact in their organizations, and importantly how it's changing their people's work day.
We know we are only successful if our customers are, and so, saving the best for the last stop, the tour would conclude with the Customer Success, Support and Analytics teams. Listening to user behavior both from data and human perspectives really keeps us honest, and these are the people closing the feedback loop for us.
Fuze is all about making sure that user, candidate, investor, friend, family member feels like the stories that we tell give them a strong sense of our passion behind how we’re changing the world of work... that’s what the tour would be about.
3. What's the best part about working in this environment that I won't be able to see from just a walk around the office?
We’ve been Fuze for less than a year and what we strive for every day is a meritocracy with spontaneous moments of #funatwork. In a nutshell, this is it. We have leaders that are exceptionally talented and they have the foresight to know that it’s about hiring well and stepping back and supporting teams to do their best work. David Obrand, our CEO, has shared this focus and value of meritocracy from his start with Fuze. It’s what drew me to Fuze and what I see to be essential in competing and retaining talent in today’s marketplace.
Everyone is empowered to spontaneously create moments of team fun and positive outlets. Hack-a-thons, MarioKart competitions, softball league, mini-amazing race in SF to benefit rocksf.org to name a few recent events. We’ve started our own hashtag collection called #funatwork where anyone can post to our internal Yammer groups photos with the tag to build community - so for Friday’s, we’ve just started calling them #tgifff (aka - thank god it’s flip-flop-fridays), for Thursday's we’ve got #thirstythursdays, thinking of kicking off #movienightmondays after Labor Day. What’s great about Fuze is it feels alive... living... we are agile and growing... we are creating our culture, process, routines, rituals each week, each month. This to me is exciting!
4. How important is cultural fit vs functional fit at Fuze?
It's an amazing time to be in the business of recruiting, collaborating, and developing our greatest resource! The bar is high for candidates, employees, and employers. Fuze is constantly looking to focus on what we can provide in the way of an opportunity for current and future staff. Our leadership brings to the Fuze table some of the best talent in the industry on the engineering, product, design, and sales fronts. For us this question is not cultural ‘vs’ functional, it is both, which makes our jobs even more exciting. We must have the technical chops to compete in our space and to retain our team and seek great newcomers. This means we look for those that have the skill and experience to deliver and innovate in all roles, who also also have the vanguard attitude - builders with a high work ethic focused on team goals and recognition from within.
5. How do you (use) Fuze?
Connection and recruiting.
Internally, Fuze is my go-to for one-on-ones to collaborate on living projects and coaching discussions, as well as for larger discussions like our weekly e-staff meetings. These meetings patch in team members who work remotely, are traveling to customer sites, or based in our Palo Alto, Seattle, or Sofia, Bulgaria offices.
Our recruiting team heavily relies on Fuze. For all of our candidates, we schedule their first round of interviews via Fuze. This is a great way to assess their familiarity with the product, what their comfort level is with video collaboration, and, most importantly, what it feels like to walk in the shoes as a user of Fuze. Ideally, this translates into their new day-to-day collaboration once they’ve joined us!
I mainly Fuze on my laptop and iPhone. For all new vendors that we meet and/or sign, we hold all call and meetings via Fuze. When in the office, at my kitchen table, or by the pool on vacation, the accessibility Fuze provides to all users is an invaluable tool for building and maintaining relationships, delivering on our goals and getting stuff done.
Like to join our team? Check out our jobs page.
To hear more from Claire Ucovich, sign up for the free webinar 'Successfully Managing Virtual Teams' next Wednesday, August 13.A panel of experts will discuss how managers can foster better employee engagement and performance among remote staff. No boring slides or sales pitches -- just unscripted conversation and practical strategies you can start applying right away.
Who should attend:
- Anyone who manages distributed teams or remote workers
- Business leaders looking for ways to better empower distributed teams
- Human Resources, employee engagement and training professionals