Forward Networks was just named a Great Place to Work in the Bay Area by Fortune. We’re excited to be on this list in an area known for setting the bar high when it comes to treating employees well. Perks are nice, but perks alone don’t get 100% of employees to say they work at a great company — that comes down to people and culture. And 100% of my colleagues said that Forward Networks is a Great Place to Work, beating the national average by 43%.
During my first conversation with a recruiter, I knew in my heart that there was something special about Forward Networks. Throughout the rest of the interview process – my hunch was confirmed, everyone I spoke to was smart, dedicated, and authentic. I knew it was the kind of environment where I could be myself, keep learning, face challenges, and thrive.
I love our platform, and I’m so happy to be working with a technology I believe in – but for me, the best part of Forward Networks is the people I get to work with. Everyone is committed to doing what’s best for our customers.
About two months into my tenure, we had our first hackathon. I’ve always experienced hackathons as a (well-earned) week for engineers to go play with their toys without regard to practical application. That’s not how my amazing co-workers approached it.
Every team focused on resolving a challenge our customers had experienced. Founders worked on teams with junior engineers – side by side as equals. Best of all – we incorporated several of the teams' suggestions into shipped product within a quarter. This is because everyone checked their ego and truly collaborated to support our customers. It’s also because we have some of the smartest people I’ve ever worked with on staff.
I’ve always appreciated working with smart people; I mean, who doesn’t? But sometimes it can be intimidating to ask questions. That’s never been the case here. People are not only willing to share knowledge, but to ask for your expertise as well. We all sit down to lunch together once a week – from our founders and executive leaders to the newest kid on the block.
I asked some of my co-workers why they think Forward Networks is a great place to work, and while the answers were unique, the themes of trust, empowerment, and people rose to the top. Here are some of the responses:
“I enjoy the level of autonomy I have in doing my job. I also appreciate that I have the full support of management anytime I need it.”– Jack Shen, Customer Success
“Forward Networks fully supports its people. When I decided to pursue a master's degree that required me to move overseas, I had the full support of my team and leaders to pursue my dream and continue to contribute to the company.”– Aditya Chakraborty, Design
“The people at Forward Networks exhibit a high level of integrity. They are dedicated, smart, hard-working, accountable, and responsive. I can trust them implicitly. At the same time, our product is amazing. There’s no other networking software offering like this in the industry, and we are just getting started.”– Andi Voellmy, Principal Engineering Manager
“The Forward Networks platform is software I wish I’d had access to earlier in my career. We’re breaking new ground around network digital twins, and I get to be on the forefront of this development all the while working with great people that I trust and appreciate.”– Tyson Henrie, Customer Success
“Forward Networks understands how to hire and empower people that exhibit a desire for continuous learning and growth. We have lots of people in the company that went to top schools, and we have people with non-traditional backgrounds. We all work together with mutual respect and trust which makes this a great place to work."– Scott Arky, IT Manager
I feel so fortunate to be at this company with these people. Sure, we have a game room, happy hours, lunches, and great benefits, but none of that matters if the company culture is unappealing. We have a secret sauce that can’t easily be replicated; we have talent, trust, empowerment, and support, combined with the excitement of solving “unsolvable” problems. And … we’re hiring. Check out the careers page if you want to be as happy at work as we are!
SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 20, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Great Place to Work and Fortune magazine have honored Forward Networks as one of this year's Best Workplaces in the Bay Area. This is Forward Networks' first time applying for and being named to this prestigious list. Earning a spot means that Forward Networks is one of the best companies to work for headquartered in the highly competitive Bay Area.
This year's Best Workplaces in the Bay Area award is based on employee feedback collected through America's largest ongoing annual workforce study of over 1 million employee survey responses and data from companies representing more than 6.1 million U.S. employees. In that survey, 100% of Forward Networks' employees said Forward Networks is a great place to work. This number is 43% higher than the average U.S. company.
"We're thrilled and humbled that every one of our employees have said we're a great place to work," said David Erickson, Co-founder and CEO, Forward Networks. "Creating an outstanding company culture has always been a priority for the founders; being named to this prestigious list in a region known for taking care of employees the first time we've applied is a phenomenal recognition of our efforts."
The Best Workplaces in the Bay Area list is highly competitive. Great Place to Work, the global authority on workplace culture, selected the list using rigorous analytics and confidential employee feedback. Companies were only considered if they are a Great Place to Work-Certified™ organization and headquartered in the Bay Area.
Great Place to Work is the only company culture award in America that selects winners based on how fairly employees are treated. Companies are assessed on how well they are creating a great employee experience that cuts across race, gender, age, disability status, or any aspect of who employees are or what their role is.
"As employee demands and expectations have dramatically changed over the past year, these companies have risen to the occasion—and it's not been easy," says Kim Peters, executive vice president of global recognition, research & strategic partnerships at Great Place to Work. "Their hard work and dedication to listen to and care for the well-being of every employee, and support them in a way that's meaningful to all, is the standard all organizations will be held to."
About Forward Networks
Forward Networks is revolutionizing the way large networks are managed. Forward's advanced software delivers a "digital twin" of the network, enabling network operators to verify intent, predict network behavior, and simplify network management. The platform supports devices from all major networking vendors and cloud operators, including AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.
Forward Networks was founded in 2013 by four Stanford Ph.D. graduates and is headquartered in Santa Clara, California. Investors include Goldman Sachs, Andreessen Horowitz, Threshold Ventures, and A. Capital.
About the Best Workplaces in the Bay Area™
Great Place to Work selected the Best Workplaces in the Bay Area by gathering and analyzing confidential survey responses from its study of thousands of companies representing more than 6.1 million U.S. employees at Great Place to Work-Certified™ organizations. Companies must be headquartered in the Bay Area to be eligible. Company rankings are derived from 60 employee experience questions within the Great Place to Work Trust Index™ survey. Read the full methodology.
About Great Place to Work®
Great Place to Work is the global authority on workplace culture. Since 1992, it has surveyed more than 100 million employees worldwide and used those deep insights to define what makes a great workplace: trust. Its employee survey platform empowers leaders with the feedback, real-time reporting and insights they need to make data-driven people decisions. Everything it does is driven by the mission to build a better world by helping every organization become a great place to work For All™.
SOURCE Forward Networks, Inc.
Like many companies, we are adapting to and creating our new normal. At Forward Networks, this will be a hybrid work strategy, where employees will have flexibility but come into the office two or three days a week. Our new approach is based on employee input and designed to create a collaborative environment while protecting the work from home flexibility many employees have come to love. You may wonder, why are we opting for a hybrid workplace?
A hybrid work strategy offers a multitude of benefits that best creates a happy and productive environment for all employees. It enables employees who require in-person collaboration – such as engineering departments – to come into the office and work on projects as needed while affording the option to work at home on days when they need to concentrate on individual tasks.
This approach also helps us recruit the best talent for the job without being tied to specific regions. As we’ve embraced remote collaboration technologies, our teams are finding ways to build relationships and collaborate effectively no matter where they are located.
In the past year, we’ve proven that engineering can be done productively in a remote setting, allowing us to expand our recruitment pool nationwide. For these employees, a hybrid work environment may mean coming into the office monthly or quarterly so they can build relationships with coworkers from all departments without having to move. As a result, Forward Networks’ workforce grew by approximately 40% during the pandemic.
While hybrid workplaces are beneficial, they can come with challenges. Cybersecurity is among the biggest concerns of hybrid or remote working and rightfully so. Cybersecurity risks have undoubtedly increased as a dispersed workforce makes data management trickier. With cybercrimes becoming more sophisticated over time, these risks will only continue to become more abundant.
Luckily, security is an inherent part of our culture, and employees help each other reduce risk. We believe that security is not only technology driven – it’s a mindset. Even the smallest efforts can go a long way. For example, reminding each other to use secure links for virtual meetings. It’s critical for companies, including ours, to have guard rails built into operations so that they can approach security and potential threats in a proactive manner.
Beyond cybersecurity, remote or hybrid work can bring new challenges for leadership. Management is going the extra mile to create an inclusive culture that has a conscious approach to relationship building.
Transition is inevitable in the business world, but when companies need a stable culture, hiring individuals that fit is critical. At Forward Networks, even as we conduct a fully remote hiring process, we work hard to get to know the candidate beyond what was on their resume. This ensures that we hire individuals that are the right fit in terms of attitude and aptitude. New hires often tell management that they’re really happy to be here and the experience of joining is unlike anything they’ve experienced in their careers; they feel “at home,” which is the highest compliment we could ask for.
We’re also dedicated to creating an environment where people can work in the manner that allows them to be their most productive, while embracing their personality. This involves fostering good communication and creating an open, honest environment that embraces each individual’s personal and professional contributions. For example, we strive to emulate the in-person experience as much as possible, such as setting up social channels solely for employees to get out of their work mode and catch up on topics outside of the workplace. Similarly, hosting game nights (e.g., remote bingo, Family Feud, Name that Tune, etc.) or cocktail hours are some of the activities we’ve put in place to bridge the gap.
At the end of the day, we are people first and professionals second. It is mission-critical to give people the flexibility to work the way they need to – enabling employees to work as their best selves. That way, employees are able to thrive at work, which ultimately helps the company achieve long-term success.
Interested in joining our team? Check out our open positions on our careers page.
We moved out of our Palo Alto office yesterday. After five terrific years in our cozy space on California Avenue, we’re heading to new digs on Mission College Boulevard in Santa Clara.
Thanks to the pandemic, we waved goodbye to the old office on Slack. We didn’t get to rally in person for one last lunch luau, or a group happy hour at Antonio’s Nut House.
Sure, the new office has a bunch of perks: it’s a brand-new building with five times as much space and a view of the mountains. It has a gym and a huge kitchen, modern HVAC, and a sweet game room.
I won’t miss the 60-minutes-to-go-12-miles commute and the traffic jams on 280, but I will definitely miss a lot of things about our home base in Palo Alto.
1. The restaurants on California Ave! We were lucky to have so many amazing lunch and dinner options within two blocks. Goodbye Zareen’s, Kali Greek Kitchen, Med Wraps, Palo Alto Sol, Terún, Italico, Calave…we’ll be back to visit.
2. The camaraderie that comes from working in a small space with a completely open floor plan. When I first started at Forward, I was coming from an office where I actually had an office, so the new layout and steady chatter took some getting used to. Now, after working at home for six months, I miss hearing about everyone’s families, sports team loyalties, and foosball trash-talking. And where is Denis, bursting in and barking “Happy Tuesday!!!” loudly enough to rattle our chairs?
3. The red couch. Doesn’t every startup have a favorite, well-loved piece of furniture that is as old as most of the staff? Granted, the red couch is making its way to the new office, but it will be tucked away in a private office…it won’t be the de-facto “collaboration space” that has served us all so well.
4. The Great Conference Room Shortage of 2019. One of the biggest drivers of our decision to get a bigger HQ was the need for more meeting room space. We witnessed normal, mild-mannered people starting to use aggressive tactics as the staff grew and the number of conference rooms did not. But I’ll miss the crowded all-hands gatherings. I might even miss Bali, the sweaty last-choice room with HVAC so terrible that we joked about renting it out as a “hot yoga” studio.
Pretty soon, we’ll be settled into 2390 Mission College Boulevard, with its gleaming glass board room, covered parking, and massive outdoor patio. No doubt we’ll enjoy the ability to spread out, and it will certainly be nice to welcome guests into a space that looks so polished and professional. But it feels bittersweet to close the chapter on our time in Palo Alto. Moving Forward.