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I’m thrilled to to announce TextNow is one of this year’s winners of Canada’s Top Small & Medium Employers, for the third year in a row! This award recognizes small and medium enterprises that offer Canada’s best workplaces and forward-thinking human resources policies.

We’re perhaps especially excited this year because, as a company still firmly in the growth stage, it can be a challenge to create a great workplace and one that’s not simply functional, but actively enjoyable. The ingredients for what makes a place great to work — an alchemical combination of deeply satisfying challenges, awesome people, and great perks — are present and accounted for at TextNow. Mix ’em up right, and what happens feels special.

Too often, especially in the tech world, “culture” is thought of as a checklist of the typical perks — “We have nerf guns! And yoga classes! And beer taps!” Those might be the trappings of a good company culture, but it’s not the culture in and of itself. That stuff is the garnish; the actual meat is a place where your contributions are recognized by peers and colleagues through our Kudos program, where you have an opportunity to work on challenging problems, where people are open and collaborative and want to see you be successful, where you’re able to have a sane balance between work and life and are treated like a responsible adult. A place free of the “brilliant jerk” syndrome, because you can be smart and still be able to collaborate with your co-workers; a place where employees are empowered to take ownership, be bold, take risks and spring into action. A place where a resourceful, agile mind can find others who appreciate resourcefulness and agility.

Now, if you have all that AND beer taps… well, that’s what makes a good place great, and makes you grateful for being recognized through this award as one of the best in Canada.

Here’s the part where I pull seniority a little bit because, as the kids say, this ain’t my first rodeo. I was around for the first dot-com explosion of the late 90s, when startup companies were being wildly overvalued by investors who didn’t realize there was no strong business model for those businesses. Without a strong business model, pouring venture capital into a business is a recipe for disaster, as most of those dot-coms were unable to scale their business properly.

In my role in HR for eight years at Netflix (back when it was a DVD business and an early stage digital business), I realized that HR is really about how we can help the company and employees to be as effective as possible. When I moved on from Netflix to IGN, I had the thrill of starting a company culture from the grassroots with a first-time CEO, and saw how a company can bring their values to fruition. As the new(ish) VP of People & Culture here at TextNow, I joined an organization that already has a company culture that came from the grassroots, and for whom employee health and happiness was already a very strong priority. TextNow’s employees contribute to our long-term growth and success, and so we offer some familiar things — like stock options, RRSP contribution matching, health & wellness programs — but also some uncommon things like unlimited vacation time to encourage better work/life balance. We provide food (breakfast and lunch), which is another fairly standard perk, but our lunches are communal where the whole company comes together for the noon hour to eat, talk, socialize, and listen to the occasional Lunch ’n’ Learn where we hear about what cool new ideas are percolating through the company. When I came to TextNow, I found a company whose values are a living, breathing, everyday example put into action, and not just a very nice plaque on the wall.

That’s where TextNow is, right now. You’re going to see us grow by leaps and bounds this year, as we tackle new challenges that were unthinkable even a couple of years ago. We’re not throwing away the trappings anytime soon — in fact, we’ll be moving to a super-cool new building in August with an office space co-designed by us with facilitating collaborative workspaces in mind and loaded with fun stuff. It’s a great frame. But it won’t be a picture — it won’t be TextNow — until we fill it with more top talented people.

So the next time you see us win an award, perhaps it won’t have the “small & medium business” modifier. TextNow will just be the best place to work, period.

Think you can bring something special to TextNow? Want to help us create the future of communication? Check out our current career postings and join us!

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