Liz Hichens— Hybris Software, an e-commerce company headquartered in Munich, Germany, has experienced immense growth since its inception 1997. With that success has come the need to constantly hire new talent, and in the highly competitive field of software engineering that is no easy task. Hiring top software engineers against Silicon Valley-based companies like Cisco and Oracle is strenuous—and very expensive.
In an innovative move, Hybris is going after software engineers who also happen to be endurance athletes and hoping to attract them with something no other company can offer: the ideal environment for training for triathlons.
The brand-new Boulder, Colo., office will be equipped with gym equipment including a room of Computrainers and an endless pool, a full-time massage therapist and a kitchen designed for an athlete’s needs (such as a blender to prepare a smoothie). Perhaps the most important perk of this setup is the commitment to giving employees a flexible work schedule to train as they need.
The idea came from the company’s VP of R&D, Marc Graveline. Graveline discovered the sport four years ago when he was looking for a way to get healthy and lose weight. He’s experienced success in the sport (he won his age group at 70.3 Muskoka in 2012 and has qualified for 70.3 worlds twice) and believes that a work setup that encourages participation in triathlon is priceless for all parties involved.
“We were looking for innovative ways to make us the most attractive employer out there for software engineers,” Graveline says. “I’m a triathlete. I get the difficulty of training and working and finding the balance. I probably spend more time trying to get to a pool than in a pool.”
After consulting with a few others, including professional triathlete Jordan Rapp, Graveline brought the concept to the head of the company.
“I presented the idea to our president and he jumped on it,” he explains. “He loved it. I started doing the research, figured out the cost and found it’s very reasonable. The cost of setting up a gym is not much more than buying nice desks and chairs. In return you get a bunch of hard-working triathletes who are rarely sick. They’re probably thinking a lot about their work while they’re training.”
The appeal of hiring a triathlete, someone who is likely naturally driven, a team player and goal-oriented, makes it a win-win situation in the eyes of Graveline.
“Triathletes are driven and hard-working people,” he says. “Even though it’s an individual sport, most people enjoy training together and being with other triathletes. I don’t know anyone who says no to group rides. We are more social than people give us credit for. I think triathletes would make perfect employees.”
So, how come more companies aren’t doing this? One big argument against is the cost of the high-end equipment and the space required in a place where real estate is not cheap.
“If you look at the cost of recruiting, it’s a fortune,” Graveline says. “If you can save on a couple of ads and put that money toward equipment and get the word of mouth to bring people in, it will be no more expensive. We believe people through word of mouth are going to be more attractive candidates than we could ever get through recruiting. There are companies that charge 15 percent of a person’s salary. Hiring people is very expensive. We’re taking that money and putting it toward what people want. It doesn’t have to be that expensive. Group rides cost nothing and they’re worth the most. The teamwork and bonding of athletes together is priceless.”
Ready to apply? Hybris is not limiting this opportunity to athletes based in Boulder. They’re hoping the promise of a fitness-friendly workplace will attract software engineers from around the world and will be holding interviews across the United States. The opportunities also aren’t limited to triathletes. If you’re a software engineer who loves to swim, bike, run, exercise in general or would just like to call Boulder home, you’re welcome to apply. Learn more about the concept and job opportunities at Endurancecrew.hybris.com.