“You Can’t Manufacture Pride”: Chief People Officer Joan Burke on Why DocuSign Is a Best Place to Work
You might not think about it often, but a signature is often at the heart of almost every major life decision you make — buying a house, accepting a new job, even getting married. Employees at electronic signature company DocuSign know this, says DocuSign Chief People Officer Joan Burke, and that’s what makes them so excited to come to work every day.
“You can’t manufacture pride. It’s either real or it isn’t,” Burke says. And at DocuSign, it’s real.
Perhaps it’s this pride that leads DocuSign employees to rate the company so highly. With a score of 4.4 out of 5, DocuSign was among the top 25 employers in Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards honoring the Best Places to Work in 2018.
We caught up with Burke to find out why employees love working at DocuSign, what it takes to work there and why you might find the word “DocuSign” in the dictionary someday.
Glassdoor: What do you think makes DocuSign a great place to work?
Joan Burke: One of the words that I use to describe DocuSign and our culture is pride. People are so proud of our products, services and brand. They’re proud of it partly because we’re well-known — when someone says, “I just accepted a job at DocuSign,” there’s a real recognition around that — but at the same time, we’re proud of the fact that we’re there for people during important times and transitions. We’re there when they buy a house. We’re there when they sign a job offer. We’re there when they land a big sales deal. That pride, I think, extends beyond the brand and product to the commitment inside the organization and makes this a terrific place to work every day.
Glassdoor: This is your second consecutive year on Best Places to Work, and your third win overall. Are there any new policies you’ve implemented in the last year?
Joan Burke: There are a few things that we’ve done that we’re really proud of. Number one, we’ve really doubled down on our diversity and inclusion initiatives. We started with an employee resource group called Women at DocuSign. Now we have five more employee resource groups, including DocuPride for our LGBTQ community, DocuVets and DocuMoms. We’ve really seen a tremendous amount of enthusiasm from our employees in creating these groups and then taking them to the next level.
The other thing that we’ve done is implemented a new parental paid leave policy, whereby employees are eligible for up to six months of fully-paid leave within a year of giving birth to or adopting a child. Those two policies have really made people feel terrific about the organization and the work we’re doing.
Glassdoor: Since its founding in 2003, DocuSign has undergone tremendous growth and change — yet employees still love to work there, as we can see by your Glassdoor reviews. What’s different than it was in those early days, and what isn’t?
Joan Burke: One of the things that hasn’t changed is the impact that employees feel like we’re making in the world. Right from the start, when this company was founded, the whole notion of getting rid of paper and becoming green was something that people could really rally around.
What has changed, though, is that we have been able to evolve that notion of impact and create some really great programs. One is called Impact, which is our philanthropic program. It has a huge employee volunteer portion to it — we have volunteer days off, and we match employee donations. The other thing that’s changed is we have new leadership. [DocuSign CEO] Dan Springer has brought in a servant-leadership model. He’s also super transparent about the company — where we’re doing well, where we can improve. And he loves feedback.
Glassdoor: Can you talk a little bit more about the Impact program?
Joan Burke: Our Impact program has a few different components. There’s a volunteer program for employees where we allow them volunteer time off every year. We actually just finished our third, very successful Global Impact Day — we had more than half of the company around the world get involved in probably 60 different volunteer programs. We also have our charitable giving program — we just announced during Giving Tuesday that we were double-matching donations. We also have a product donation, whereby certain nonprofits are able to get our product at either a reduced cost or no cost to them. We really believe in giving back.
Glassdoor: What qualities do you look for in candidates?
Joan Burke: We love to see people who are curious, and who have actually tried our product if they haven’t already used it as part of a transaction. We also love people who are collaborative, and who want to make an impact inside the organization. It’s really important that people here are great team players, and enjoy coming to work every day because they like the people they’re with. But they should also show that same sense of pride that I talked about earlier: pride in the product, pride in the brand and just pride in who we are as an organization and what we’ve created here for employees.
Glassdoor: What should candidates know about DocuSign before applying?
Joan Burke: They should know that we’re a growing company. That we stay close to employees and the things that matter to them — we believe in employee engagement and getting their feedback, and we’re committed to doing that on an ongoing basis. That we want them to bring their full selves to work: all of their ideas, suggestions and collaboration skills so we can continue to make this a Best Place to Work.
Glassdoor: It sounds like there are a lot of great things about working at DocuSign, but what was the one thing that convinced you that you had to be a part of it?
Joan Burke: To be honest with you, DocuSign is the only place I would want to be. There’s a couple of reasons for that: I’ve known a number of people over the years who have worked here, including a former boss of mine. And again, it was this pride. I keep getting back to that word, but it’s so important — you can’t manufacture pride. It’s either real or it isn’t. So being part of an organization where people came to work every day and were proud to be here was magic. It was something more than I had ever experienced at any other company.
I also liked that we make a real commitment to helping people develop themselves at DocuSign — helping our managers be the best people managers they can be, and helping employees get the resources and support they need to be great at their jobs. I saw this commitment inside the company to make this a great place to work and give people opportunities.
Glassdoor: What are some of the perks and benefits you offer?
Joan Burke: Besides the volunteer days off and parental paid leave policy that I mentioned earlier, medical and dental benefits are 100 percent paid for employees, and we have 401(k) programs, learning and development training and subsidized commuter benefits.
Glassdoor: Last question — what’s a fun fact about DocuSign that people might not know?
Joan Burke: DocuSign has become a verb! People will say, “I just DocuSigned that agreement.” It’s kind of like when you say, “I’m gonna Google this,” or “I just Ubered here.” We’re in that category where our name is becoming a verb because it’s just so prevalent. We’re everywhere, and we love that.
This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity and concision.