Starting a new job is exciting, and we put a lot of thought into how we bring people into Zapier—comprehensive onboarding, swag, and a flurry of greetings. We talk a lot about who's joining our teams, often long before the moment arrives. But when it comes to departures, historically, it was common to have unexpected notices (as little as two weeks) and feelings of surprise or guilt for all involved.
Earlier this year, after losing several teammates, Zapier Business Recruiting Manager Bonnie Dilber had an idea: what if we normalized letting our managers know when we were exploring new roles? What if managers helped their team members with resumes or interview prep and were by their side, helping them land that next role?
It's an awkward conversation, for sure, but should it be?
A few weeks later, Bonnie made an off-hand comment in a public forum that she wanted the Zapier Talent Acquisition (Recruiting) team to start providing this kind of support and was open to anyone reaching out that needed help exploring internally or externally.
A few people reached out.
One person was considering leaving. We identified some roles that would be opening this summer that would be perfect for them, so instead of working on their resume for an external search, we mapped out people they could talk to and experiences they could gain to be competitive for that role in six months.
Another teammate was able to figure out the conversations they needed to have to resolve their issues, and now seems to be on a path to being happier in their current role instead of seeking something new.
And another person has an upgraded resume with lots of really clear metrics to show their impact. They don't know if or when they'll start looking, but they expressed that they felt supported even though it might take them away in the future.
We don't want to retain people at Zapier because they lack options or don't know where to get started in their search. We want to retain them because they know what's available—and choose us because we're the best place to work for them.
We were so thrilled about these conversations and outcomes that we decided to formalize the program.
Helping Zapier teammates find their next job
Our new Zapier's Next Play Program supports any Zapier teammate on their internal or external job search. Yes, this might mean that we help some people plan out their exit strategy. But we're ok with that. It makes our Talent Acquisition team better partners to the departments we support, and we think it will help us to retain our people in the long run. It will open the door to more honest conversations across teams, help us plan for attrition, and support our people to go further faster. And it will make Zapier a better place to work.
Here's what the program looks like.
For Zapier teammates exploring roles within Zapier
1. Growth plans
Growth plans are the main tool folks use to help think through their next job at Zapier (or elsewhere). We have a formalized (but optional!) growth plan process, which encourages folks to identify goals and how they'll achieve them.
2. Internal job board
100% of open roles are posted on our internal job board. Zapier teammates can apply to open roles directly from that page after discussing with their manager. We also have internal visibility into all roles in our annual hiring plan—including those not yet officially open.
3. Career Pathways
We've created "Career Pathways" to help teammates learn about and pursue roles at Zapier outside their current team and growth trajectory. Folks can learn what different roles are like, if they might be a good fit, and what skills they'd need to develop to succeed in that role.
For Zapier teammates exploring roles outside of Zapier
Of course, Zapier's Talent Acquisition team also supports teammates looking for roles beyond Zapier. We want to help our people grow their careers—whether that's at Zapier or elsewhere.
1. People Business Partners
We first ask teammates thinking about exploring roles outside of Zapier to share this interest with both their manager and their People Business Partner, a People Ops team member dedicated to talent and culture strategy.
2. Dedicated email address
After doing that—or, if folks aren't comfortable with that first step—they can email a dedicated Zapier email address expressing their interest in exploring external roles.
Messages sent to this email address are received only by three people: our Chief People Officer, Brandon, and our two recruiting managers. All conversations are confidential within that group until the person gives us permission to pull in others to help.
We've already had a few people reach out for these conversations. In each case, they've shared their career interests, and we've looked at Zapier's upcoming hiring plans together to identify potential opportunities and pathways within Zapier. We've also identified next steps: informational interviews, conversations with different hiring managers, and reviewing job descriptions together to see where their skills align.
So far, everyone we've spoken to had already chatted with their manager before reaching out, but if they hadn't, we'd also talk through how they could broach the subject with their manager so that everyone was on the same page.
3. Hands-on support
If the person allows us to open the conversation to a limited number of other folks on the team, we'll do everything we can to prepare them for their next role.
We'll recommend specific companies that might be a good fit for them.
Where possible, we'll recommend specific Zapier alumni for them to speak to.
We'll share advice on how to prepare a resume, CV, or LinkedIn profile based on what the teammate has accomplished at Zapier.
We'll host mock interviews and share interviewing prep resources.
We'll demo how to set up useful search terms on LinkedIn or other job boards.
We provide this same job search support to any Zapier teammate whose job is affected as a result of a team re-org or who is leaving their role for performance reasons. The only folks who won't receive this kind of support are teammates who leave due to violations of our code of conduct.
Building a new normal
When someone joins Zapier, they choose us as the right place to grow their career, and we want to reciprocate that trust through how we support our teammates at every stage of their Zapier experience—all the way through becoming an alum.
And in the end, it's a win-win. The teammate has a better experience and is more set up for success, and their manager, team, and company can better prepare for departures. We don't want to see our people leave, but when they do, we want to be sure they flourish.
Everyone will have a "next job" eventually—whether at Zapier or another company. This kind of support should be the norm. Recruiting teams should not solely be used to fill roles. We can and should be true partners in not just hiring but retaining and growing our talent.