Dream Job at hybris

What if your office job not only dealt with your training schedule – but encouraged it? What if your boss did Ironman? What if they installed ten CompuTrainers and a handful of treadmills in your office building?

At hybris, that dream will soon be a reality.

The hiring website for hybris’ new athlete-friendly office is located HERE.

The hybris corporate website is located HERE.

What is hybris? [Editor’s note: Before you go correcting my grammar in the comments, it is spelled specifically with a lower-case ‘h’ at the beginning.]

Hybris is an E-commerce company. Based in Munich, Germany, but with other offices around the world, hybris is growing rapidly. In their own words:

“hybris helps businesses on every continent sell more goods, services and digital content through every touch point, channel and device.”

Marc Graveline is the Vice President of R&D for hybris, and also an avid triathlete. Not long ago, an idea struck Marc. According to him, one of their biggest challenges is finding enough good people to hire. Marc knows the over-achieving attitude that often accompanies endurance athletes – but also the challenges of fitting that with a professional career. Why not open an office that specifically accommodates that lifestyle, to attract the type of people they want? After brainstorming and exchanging several emails with our own Jordan Rapp, Marc wrote a proposal for the company president.

Here is a second draft of what started as a napkin sketch:

Marc says that – much to his surprise – his proposal was approved rather quickly. Hybris actually plans to open US-based “endurance office” in Boulder, Colorado (other potential locations included San Diego, CA and Clermont, FL).

Hybris has narrowed their building search down to a small handful of choices. They plan to fill an existing building and renovate it to suit their needs. While an on-site pool and endless pools were considered, this was ultimately eschewed in favor of renting lanes at a local pool. The office will feature CompuTrainers, treadmills, weights, and showers.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Marc to discuss this office idea over a cup of coffee. When I first heard of the idea, I had questions. What’s in it for the company? Are you just trying to hire a bunch of slackers that want to train? Over time I’ve learned that if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

The biggest thing that Marc imparted to me is that company culture is of paramount importance to all hybris offices. While none are currently athlete-focused, they are all – in some sense – employee life-focused. Employees in their Munich office, for example, are often seen going to social activities together and even vacationing together. They’ve found that offering this open and supportive atmosphere has helped them find and retain people with the right skills and the right attitude.

Slowtwitch: Marc, please give us the long story short about hybris.

Marc Graveline: Sure. Hybris is just growing incredibly quickly, and we need people to fuel that growth. It’s a very competitive world, and we feel that we need to innovate in a way that we’ll attract and retain employees. There were sessions on how to do this, and someone came up with the idea of – Let’s try to attract the right type of person. And the right type of person is the passionate, hardworking… wants to win, willing to put in the effort to be the best. That type of person exactly fits the profile of an endurance athlete – swimmer, biker, runner. Myself being a triathlete, I also recognize some of the difficulties trying to balance work with my sport.

Combining those ideas with what we’re looking for, we said – let’s create something that will make it easier for the employees to combine the two. This allows us to pull the best and brightest people, and it creates an environment that’s very unique; that they can’t find elsewhere. It’s also an opportunity to create a team environment, which is very important at hybris. We want our employees to want to work together, train together, and socialize together. While many endurance athletes train solo, I think the majority of them would like to train in a group, when put in the right conditions. The perfect environment for us is the group of athletes that wants to run together or swim together in the morning, go to breakfast together, work hard all morning, maybe go for a run at noon, work in the afternoon, maybe go for a bike ride at night. We want people that want to work together and play together.

ST: What types of jobs are you looking to fill, and what sort of degree or certification do those folks need to have?

Marc: We are in the E-commerce space. We make software that allows our customers to put up business-to-consumer or business-to-business websites or electronics systems. We are looking for programmers – more specifically, Java programmers. We are looking for quality assurance professionals. We are looking for technical writers. We are looking for call center specialists. So - anyone who is working in the IT world right now doing one of those functions is a possible candidate for the jobs that we have open. On the bottom of the website, there are very specific details in terms of how many years of seniority we’re looking for, exact Java skills, what we want from our QA people, et cetera.

ST: What if you find someone with all of the work requirements, but they’re not an endurance athlete… perhaps ‘yet’. Will those folks be welcomed?

Marc: Absolutely. We currently have offices elsewhere in the world, and the bulk of our employees are not endurance athletes.

If there is a person who is not an endurance athlete, they are more than welcome to join. You know, hopefully they will see some of the benefits of staying active and fit, and they’ll want to participate. That also brings up the point that – even if you are an athlete – we want to appeal to all levels of athlete. We’re looking for beginners, people who do sprints, people who do Ironman, people who just jog at noon. There is no prerequisite to be an endurance athlete by any means.

ST: Where are your other offices located?

Marc:: In terms of product development and R&D, we have a main office in Munich, Germany, Gliwice, Poland, Montreal, Canada, and a smaller office in London. In terms of R&D, this will be our first US office. However, we do have sales offices throughout the US and rest of the world.

ST: We also understand you’re an active Slowtwitcher – is this true?

Marc: Yes I am! I am a Slowtwitcher – actively participating in things such as the 100 day 100 run challenge… currently sitting in about 34th position… not that I look at this stuff… {laughs}

I must say, Slowtwitch has been amazing in terms of the knowledge I’ve been able to acquire. I’ve only been doing triathlon now for about four years, and I would say that the bulk of the knowledge I’ve acquired has been through the Slowtwitch community.

ST: If people want to get involved – put their resume in – when does that start, and how do they do it?

Marc: The site goes live March 14th [linked at the top of this page]. On the bottom of the site, there are very clear instructions on how to submit your resume. It will be by email, and you’ll specify the job you’re interested in. There will even be an option there for those who do not see a job that they fit directly to – but they can submit their resume, and we can see if there’s a fit. For example, we’re not going to have a job description there for a sales person, but the sales person feels that he or she can contribute to the e-commerce world that we play in, we’d be more than happy to take a look at their resume and see if there’s a fit in Boulder, or one of our other offices.

ST: When will the interview process start for the new Boulder office?

Marc: As soon as we have some critical mass. We are hungry for good employees – we cannot keep up with the demand for our product. We will start almost immediately with initial phone interviews. We will be organizing face-to-face interviews across the US if we can get critical mass in specific areas.

ST: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Marc: One angle that we haven’t discussed is that we’re also looking for students coming out of school. If there’s a young endurance athlete who is doing well in school and sports – but he or she does have to come out on to the job market – we want to be the first place that they go to. We are going to be very active in schools, cherry picking the best students. We do believe that young people coming out of school are absolutely critical in having a balanced workforce today, tomorrow, and five years from now.

We plan to follow up with hybris in several months, after the Boulder office is up-and-running.