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AppsFlyer: Dealing with Covid-19 ‘goes far beyond tools and technology’

Tech@Work

AppsFlyer: Dealing with Covid-19 ‘goes far beyond tools and technology’

Many companies had to build sudden remote workspaces and fix their digital infrastructure. For AppsFlyer, Covid-19 meant far more than that.

CTech | 08:53  08.12.2020

For mobile attribution company AppsFlyer, Covid-19 meant their “challenge is figuring out how to work successfully within this distributed framework,” according to Lisa Zaythik, Chief People Officer. “Getting it right goes far beyond the tools and technology we use to get work done; it’s really about the culture and norms we cultivate.”

From March 2020, AppsFlyer formed a ‘commando taskforce’, made up of different regions and business units, to challenge the way the 1,000 employees communicate with each other as they launched their ongoing virtual work model.
AppsFlyer’s Lisa Zaythik. Photo: AppsFlyer AppsFlyer’s Lisa Zaythik. Photo: AppsFlyer AppsFlyer’s Lisa Zaythik. Photo: AppsFlyer

The company joins CTech for its Post Covid-19 series to explain how they pivoted during the ongoing pandemic in 2020.

Company Name: AppsFlyer

HR Leader: Lisa Zaythik, Chief People Officer

Field of Activity: Marketing Technology

Number of employees/location: 1,000 employees globally in 18 locations

Professional background of HR Manager:

I serve as the Chief People Officer at AppsFlyer.

I joined the founders Oren Kaniel and Reshef Mann in 2011 as a digital marketing advisor and quickly became an integral part of the organization’s development and business growth. Due to my background in marketing, I started my journey at AppsFlyer working with customers, along with developing our product and market positioning. I really got a sense of the challenges in various positions before focusing on how to enable our people to do a great job.

When AppsFlyer started experiencing hyper-growth, so did the need to manage and orchestrate global operations in a methodical, growth-oriented manner. I’ve always felt very strongly about focusing on building a culture of learning. In 2014, I founded the AppsFlyer Academy, an onboarding program for new employees. Today, our Learning & Development unit manages three Learning Centers in Herzliya, Bangkok, and San Francisco. We develop product training courses, professional enrichment, and leadership development programs as well as external educational programs for customers and partners called the AppsFlyer MasterClass.

My passion for learning and creating a superior employee experience led to the creation of our People Operations business unit in 2018, which has since grown to over 80 people globally. My team handles Global Operations and Procurement, Learning and Development, People Experience, People Growth (HR), Talent Acquisition, and People Data.

I believe in cultivating a unique AppsFlyer experience in order to empower our people and teams to excel, by providing a great experience to our customers, developing themselves professionally and personally, and succeeding in every aspect of their life.

My motto is: Learn. Implement. Level up.

On a scale of 1-10, how much did the coronavirus pandemic disrupt operations at the company?

For a global company with over 1,000 employees across 18 offices, the Coronavirus (Covid-19) had the potential to severely disrupt operations and our people's experience.

To overcome the challenges presented by Covid-19, we had to stick to what defines us as a company - an adaptive mentality, seeing change as an opportunity, and a people-first culture.

We first learned about Covid-19 from the AppsFlyer Beijing team at the end of January 2020. This led to canceling our participation in global, large scale conferences such as Mobile World Conference (MWC) and pausing all international travel in mid-February as a first immediate reaction. In one week, all 18 offices around the world moved to a work-from-home (WFH) mode. Where Covid-19 permits, we keep the offices open under internal Safe Zone guidelines, allowing all critical functions to maintain operations and business continuity.

Knowledge sharing allowed us to assess the situation and make effective decisions quickly without any external validation. We wanted to act fast in order to protect our people and their families, and we did so without waiting for government-issued regulations.

During these uncertain times, we ensured that any personnel whose responsibilities were affected by the pandemic (such as event managers, front desk admins, or travel assistants) were reassigned to support other business needs aligned with their skill set in order to ensure employment stability.

We’re proud to say we haven’t let a single employee go due to the pandemic, nor did we reduce salaries. Moreover, despite the uncertain times, we experienced an increase in team efficiency and launched more products than ever before.

What interesting technological tools do you use in employee management/recruitment?

During this challenging period, we identified a rising need in implementing new methods and learning tools to help us nurture our culture of learning and not neglect our people’s personal and professional development, even when operating remotely.

We started using Linkedin Learning to enable our people to gain business, creative, technological, and interpersonal skills to help them achieve their personal and professional goals.

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Another tool that we adopted is BetterUp coaching, an online coaching platform to support our managers’ needs and growth during these unstable times.

We’ve always been focused on our people, listening carefully to their needs, and finding tailored solutions to suit them. That is why we launched our engagement survey via the CultureAmp platform in the middle of the crisis, in order to gauge our people’s confidence in the company and its leadership’s responsiveness to the Covid-19 crisis.

We were very humbled and proud to learn that 96% of AppsFlyer employees felt extremely confident following the company’s response to Covid-19. This showed us we were on the right track and kept an open line of discussion between executive leadership and the entire company.

What positive and/or negative impact did the outbreak have on the human capital of the company?

AppsFlyer is a people-obsessed company that always puts its people’s health and safety at the forefront, but Covid-19 gave us a whole new perspective on things.

We encouraged all of our managers from the executive leadership to the team leaders, to put an emphasis on open communications within their teams, to be empathetic, and to understand that this pandemic affects every one of us differently.

In addition, many initiatives and projects were born due to Covid-19:

  • As part of our AppsFlyer Cares corporate responsibility program, the people of AppsFlyer took time out of their days and money out of their pockets to give back to local communities as well as to support medical staff on the frontlines of the pandemic. This gave our people a huge sense of pride and enhanced belonging even more.

  • AppsFlyer launched a $500,000 Fund in order to help global medical institutions and researchers find innovative solutions to fight the pandemic. We had the honor and privilege to collaborate with some of the most prestigious institutions worldwide in order to support their efforts in developing vaccines and conduct clinical researches, including efforts in Stanford University in partnership with Tsukuba University, Japan, Tel Aviv University, the Weizmann Institute, Rambam Medical, and Al-Quds University in the West Bank.

Like many other organizations, we also experienced challenges in maintaining relationships when working remotely. The random water cooler talks and the eye contact with people around us were clearly missing and we had to come up with innovative ways to stay connected even from afar. A big emphasis was put on enhancing belonging and company pride (which is one of the Objectives and Key Results, OKRs, I implement with my team) in order to mitigate employee churn and dissatisfaction.

What are the two major challenges you are coping with these days?

Two challenges seem crucial these days: maintaining people’s feeling of stability and a sense of belonging. We found that with both issues, the key is communication. This means constantly connecting people and making sure they feel we are here to support them.

The far bigger challenge is figuring out how to work successfully within this distributed framework. Getting it right goes far beyond the tools and technology we use to get work done; it’s really about the culture and norms we cultivate. That’s why we decided to form a commando taskforce, compiled from different regions and business units, to challenge the way we communicate today and to define more suitable guidelines for an ongoing virtual work model.

Are you actively recruiting? If so, what is the process and where can the applicants find you?

Absolutely. Covid-19 (as well as other industry shifts) have actually increased demand for marketing technology solutions like AppsFlyer. We are actively hiring and have over 120 open positions with the main focus on sales roles across 15 locations globally. The majority of the candidates come from our internal referral program, AppsHire internal mobility, LinkedIn, relevant job boards, and the AppsFlyer career page.

In order to maintain a superb candidate experience during this hiring surge, we made major adjustments to the recruiting process such as submission of short videos and providing proper training to our hiring managers on how to conduct virtual interviews.

You can find all the open positions on our career page.

Which changes forced upon you by the circumstances will stay in place after Covid-19 is over, and which are you most eager to revert back to normal?

Obviously, WFH is here to stay. We now see value in providing more flexibility to the way people work. In 2021 we will continue in a Hybrid WFH/WFO model with a continued focus on people's physical and mental health and safety.

In the long term, we’re rethinking what it means to deliver a people-obsessed culture and cultivate pride in a remote-first world. How do we onboard and mentor the new employees who join us every week? How do we create the conditions for individuals and teams to trust each other so they can collaborate and innovate at the highest level, even if they’ve never met in person? These challenges aren’t product or business-oriented. They touch the very essence of what makes us happy, satisfied human beings.

We are the first to acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers to these big, important questions. We are, however, confident that we have the right teams, with the right priorities and the right mindset to get through this pandemic stronger than ever.

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