Online Retailer Opens Four New Tech Hubs in Seattle, Austin, Toronto, and the Bay Area
In order to continue to recruit the best technical talent from across North America, Wayfair announced in 2021 plans to invest in technology teams with four new locations in key cities. These Technology Development Centers (TDCs) in Seattle, Austin, San Francisco Bay Area and Toronto, Canada have dramatically opened up their technical pool to a wider and more diverse audience. They’ve already resulted in hundreds of new employees in these regions.
Roles include infrastructure engineers, software engineers, experience designers, data scientists, analysts, and product managers. These roles play a huge part in a variety of solutions, from emerging machine learning and data science techniques that help Wayfair customers find the perfect product within their 22 million+ item inventory.
Initiatives also include innovative merchandising powering brilliant, inspiring product imagery, to platforms helping suppliers to grow their business by reaching customers more effectively.
Related: Wayfair scored so well on equitable, efficient, and transparent hiring processes, they ranked in the Top 10 Enterprise companies (US) on Hired’s 2021 List of Top Employers Winning Tech Talent.
Why Wayfair is Great Place to Grow Your Tech Career
Austin TDC Project Manager Kanya McCann says, “Wayfair is full of opportunities and growth in the tech space. With so many different orgs across the enterprise, you could venture to learn something new in every space.
In my time here, I have worked in several organizations that I have never been able to before (i.e. Supply Chain and Legal, just to name a couple).”
Leopoldo Hernandez Oliva, a software engineer at the Austin TDC agrees. “Wayfair is a magnificent place for anyone that is new or well-seasoned in the tech industry. You’ll find Wayfair’s culture is inclusive, fun, and super supportive.
This is my first tech job. Before joining Wayfair I had held different roles in teaching, customer service and even providing applied behavioral therapy. The interviewing process was pretty straightforward and I was helped by recruitment along the way. I relocated from Boston to Texas and I was given plenty of time to do so.
Once at Wayfair, you’ll find the vibe pretty relaxed and the org structure super cohesive. We work in small teams composed of highly tenured to the new talent, like me.
Ramp up was individually tailored and I was made to feel like my work contributed to the overall success of the team at large.
Wayfair’s main office is located at the heart of Boston, MA., right inside Copley Square Mall. There are tons of things to do around the area. Wayfair also has offices in California and Texas, and is expanding soon to Seattle and Toronto. Wonderful cities that are vibrant and at the vanguard of tech advancement.”
“Wayfair Tech is a great place for talented and smart individuals to work and have fun while doing it,” adds Jill Tonelli, Waybassador Program Manager. “We are constantly solving fast paced challenges and working together as a team across many different functions and skill sets.
More Than an Onboarding Buddy, the Waybassador Program is Integral to Wayfair Culture Within Technology Teams
Jill Tonelli explains, “the Waybassador program was created to ensure the Wayfair culture is instilled in the new Tech Development Centers opening up across the US. It is exciting and different than a traditional buddy program because it is likely the Waybassador’s first time living in the new location too; as many Waybassdors moved.”
“My situation is unique in that I was hired in the beginning of the pandemic, so I interviewed remotely, was hired remotely and have been remote since my onboarding,” says Kanya McCann. “For me, the Waybassador Program differs in that someone is “dedicated” to you.
It’s an unbiased person to get you ingrained in the Wayfair culture and welcome you. That person is someone specific that you can build a relationship with and really get to know.”
Leopoldo Hernandez Oliva says,”the Waybassador program aims to pair tenured Wayfairians with new hires at the newly aforementioned locations. New Wayfarians continue onboarding procedures according to their individual team but Waybassadors review with them culture expectations, in and outs about the company as a whole and provide moral support to them along their journey. Think of it as a supporting hand and personal cheerleader for their tenure at Wayfair.”
Typical Waybassador Activities
As the TDC’s fully opened, Waybassadors connected with new hires in the offices in many ways. These include coffee chats, office happy hours, and networking events. Toronto TDC Site Lead Silvia Fernandes notes they also plan location-specific events to help create and foster relationships.
How Wayfair Chooses Waybassadors
Silvia Fernandes explains. “The Waybassasors are existing employees who voluntarily relocate to the TDCs to support the development of Wayfair’s culture, values, People Principles, and working norms into our new offices.
“They are selected based on their proven track record of upholding our People Principles and helping make Wayfair the top destination for technical talent,” adds Jill Tonelli.
Wayfair’s People Principles
On an episode of Hired’s popular podcast, Talk Talent to Me, Wayfair Chief People Officer Kate Gulliver describes some of the nine principles.
“One of my favorites is to collaborate effectively. We believe collaboration is core to our success, our teams are very matrixed, and so to work effectively, and [cross-functionally], get the alignment you need, and also be transparent in the information you’re sharing, so a team in another group can actually help support and provide value to you.”
“Another one of our ‘People Principles’ is to respect others. We think it’s important how you interact with each other daily and show up with the expectation that the person across from you is doing their best. We describe it as assuming good intent.
Assume the person across from you is approaching the problem differently and you need to collaborate effectively to deliver results with agility. But overall, you’re both trying to do the right thing for Wayfair.”
Editor’s note: since the podcast episode aired, Wayfair appointed Kate Gulliver as incoming Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) as CFO Michael Fleisher plans his retirement.
People Principles in Action
In a recent webinar, “Behind the Scenes at Wayfair: Team Culture & Engineering Insights,” Head of Product & Design Mark Schmitz also spoke of the People Principles.
“One of the most exciting ones for me is a relentless focus on the customer and the outcome. Secondly, we’ve, like a lot of businesses, have had a lot of macro influences, requiring us to adjust our approach, and especially at our scale, it’s been pretty amazing.
So, our principle to ‘adapt and grow’ is super critical for us to be successful, especially in supply chain. This culture supporting a willingness to iterate is, I think, unique to Wayfair, based on the amount of ‘boomerangs,’ on my team specifically. People who’ve left come back telling me, [we] ‘just need more of the fast pace we get at Wayfair.”
Director of Supply Chain Visibility & Planning Anurag Rohatgi added how important it is to empower teams to make decisions and be flexible.
“As they’re going down the path they have defined OKRs, objectives, and key results, but we learn a lot through the journey.
We often have to pivot, iterate, and with our culture of flexibility, teams can recalibrate the targets. We’re a data-driven company, so we certainly use data to our advantage.
Associate Director of Product Management Carmen Valdivia was quick to weigh in on effective collaboration.
“I would say it’s rare we’re not working on a cross-functional initiative, based on where we are in supply chain and fulfillment. Aligning on objectives is key, probably number one. Plus, we understand the dependencies across the different teams. Everyone is empathetic when issues and challenges happen because they’re going to happen.”
Learn more about the People Principles at Wayfair.
The Difference Waybassadors Make for New Employees
“Working at Wayfair is very gratifying,” says Vick Castillo. “Since I started as a Salesforce Developer, I have had the support of a mentor and my team, who have helped me to do my work better.
They have also helped me understand the impact and value of the effort we do as a team for the company. I belong to a fantastic team constantly giving ideas, opportunities and challenges. This makes me grow professionally.”
Wayfair Connects Employees and Communities
One example is with one of Wayfair’s longest standing nonprofit partners, Habitat for Humanity International. The organization focuses on helping lower income families build strength, stability and self-reliance through affordable homeownership.
Wayfair employees will have the opportunity to sign up for Habitat for Humanity builds in our Austin and Toronto markets. A Habitat “build” day is a one-day volunteer event, where employees gather together and work on a home. Work might include construction, framing, painting, cleaning, landscaping etc. The organization collaborates with a family in need of a home; working together on the “sweat equity.”
These events allow employees to get together and bond with their teams. It also connects back to Wayfair’s larger mission of helping anyone, anywhere create their feeling of home. For people new to the area, possibly relocated, it’s a great opportunity to make connections in their new city.
Professional Development is Integral to Wayfair Employee Success
In Hired’s 2021 State of Tech Salaries report, tech talent surveyed ranked ‘professional development/tuition reimbursement’ high on their list of desired benefits. At Wayfair, they offer a variety of development opportunities whether you’re an individual contributor or a people manager.
Wayfair offers development programs tailored to leaders at various levels starting with those aspiring to lead others. Designed to be the first step in an individual management development training journey, the Aspire program is available to all employees.
Emerge is for first-time people managers, or managers new to the organization. There’s also Emerge for Senior leaders, as well as the RISE program focused on development for senior leaders.
Individuals Making a Difference
“I haven’t seen any limitations on professional development within my group,” says Kanya. “We use DEAL (drop everything and learn) on a weekly basis. Plus, we have access to almost any platform of training you can imagine ( ie. Linkedin Learning, Pluralsight, Learn@Work). In addition to the CBT classes, leadership encourages me to attend at least one conference a year, of my choice. The opportunity to grow my professional career is endless and welcomed.”
”We are committed to Adapt & Grow through continuous self-development as an organization,” agrees Silvia Fernandes. “In addition to the e-learning platforms, we have virtual/in person training sessions and a tuition reimbursement.”
Leopoldo has also been pleased with the professional development options. “Wayfair provides many ways to upskill and stay sharp. I personally take advantage of their tuition reimbursement policy. We also have access to PluralSight, LinkedIn learning and our hub with guided tutorials called “learn@work.”
Eager to Learn More about Wayfair’s investment in technology teams and culture? Listen to this on-demand webinar “Behind the Scenes at Wayfair; Team Culture & Engineering.”
Then complete your profile on Hired to be eligible for interview requests from great companies like Wayfair.
Wayfair is the destination for all things home: helping everyone, anywhere create their feeling of home. From expert customer service, to the development of tools that make the shopping process easier, to carrying one of the widest and deepest selections of items for every space, style, and budget, Wayfair gives everyone the power to create spaces that are just right for them.
The Wayfair family of brands includes:
Wayfair: Everything home – for a space that’s all you.Joss & Main: The ultimate style edit for home.AllModern: All of modern, made simple.Birch Lane: A fresh take on the classics.Perigold: An undiscovered world of luxury design.Wayfair Professional: Just right for Pros.
Wayfair generated $13.2 billion for the twelve months ended March 31, 2022. Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts with operations throughout North America and Europe, Wayfair employs approximately 18,000 people.
Editor’s note: Thank you to Wayfair for inaugurating our new Employer Spotlight series! More