Being a Better Place to Work Helps Us Build a Better Self-Driving Car

By | September 6, 2018

By Bryan Salesky, CEO, Argo AI

Every day Argo AI employees come to work, we all strive toward a higher purpose — transforming how the world moves. We don’t take this lightly, and that’s why it has always been important to me to make Argo AI the best place to work — a space where people want to be each day because they love what they do.

But how do we do this? Pete and I have created a workplace of transparency and collaboration, while promoting work/life balance. However, I think creating a place of openness is what truly makes Argo AI stand apart and it’s something our employees continually say they love. This unique environment is a positive one that allows us to grow and make continued progress against our goals.

Not only did we recently move our headquarters into a brand-new building in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, I am also excited to share that Argo AI has been named to the 2018 LinkedIn Top Startups List, which honors the 50 most sought-after startups nationwide people want to work for.

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank our team. I appreciate all the energy, passion and commitment they bring — they truly are the best! The Top Startups recognition is a testament to each employee at Argo AI and the value they bring daily to make our team and product the best it can be.

With teams across the U.S., including in Pittsburgh; Miami; Dearborn, Michigan; Mountain View, California; and Princeton, New Jersey, it’s important we pull away from traditional workplace cultural norms to leverage the talent we have from coast to coast and truly collaborate. To do this, we must break the geographic barriers. We strongly encourage interoffice travel among our team members so they get to know their colleagues — you don’t need a reason, just do it!

Our leadership team also holds regular all-hands video meetings to bring everyone in the company together. This is one of my favorite things because we get to celebrate what we have accomplished and spotlight different employees who get to share what they are working on. Plus, our leadership can share where we are headed — the good and the bad — in an open and honest way. It is a time of community and collaboration that keeps us focused on our end goal and enables us to learn from each other.

Our safety drivers also have daily briefs at the beginning and end of their shift to make sure our work is cohesive across cities — reinforcing safety measures and sharing what they are working on inside and outside of work. While we take it very seriously, it is also a fun environment. As a fly on the wall, you feel like you are at a pep rally preparing for the big game and celebrating your teammates.

Most importantly, the leadership team and I sit in the open-floor space with the engineers because we want to be accessible and deeply involved in development of our product. We encourage the team to email us any questions or concerns they have anytime. This open environment creates a positive space, makes employees feel empowered, and allows us to move faster to work together. We are one team and when we make an achievement in one area, it is the entire company that is celebrated.

It’s very important as I think about the future of Argo AI that we create a university mentality in which everyone continues to learn from one another. Our team members come from diverse backgrounds, like TV production, teaching and even sports. We encourage everyone to share their ideas and to take a ride in our self-driving car — even if they aren’t an engineer. Our leadership team takes rides regularly. As we are dealing with complex engineering problems, having people involved from different backgrounds encourages everyone to think about things in new ways.

We already have much to celebrate, in that self-driving vehicles will be one of the most transformative advancements in this century. Our employees are what make Argo AI the great place that it is, and we would be nothing without each person who contributes their brain power daily to make self-driving cars a reality and safe for everyone.

Being a Better Place to Work Helps Us Build a Better Self-Driving Car was originally published in Self-Driven on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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