Turntide Through the Eyes of Women Engineers
A few weeks ago, I attended WE21, the world’s largest conference for women in engineering and technology. The conference connects some of the brightest and most ambitious women engineers from across the country with the companies leading innovation around the world.
As I spent those two days networking with so many outstanding individuals, I grew an even stronger appreciation for Turntide’s mission and culture, which drew visitors to our booth despite competition from some of the world’s most recognizable companies.
There’s no substitute for a critical mission
One of the most common things I heard from attendees was that mission matters. They weren’t just looking for a challenging position to pay the bills. They wanted to work on important problems. And they wanted to dedicate their time and skills to making a real difference in the world.
As we talked about Turntide’s mission to develop breakthrough technologies and optimize how humanity uses energy, many were excited by the prospect of eliminating the 25% of global electricity consumption wasted by legacy electric motors. It was clear that the prospect of using their careers to solve the biggest challenge of our time was compelling.
The positive impact of our work always draws innovative and highly qualified candidates, and the same was true at WE21. But more impressive than their technical qualifications was their overall passion toward life. These were some of the most well-rounded individuals I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, their resumes filled with double majors and second or third languages.
A flexible work environment improves work-life balance
COVID-19 changed everything, and many of those changes are here to stay. Employees have proven that they can successfully perform their jobs remotely, whether working from their homes a few miles from the office or relocating to more desirable locations across the country.
However, many of the women who visited our booth were concerned about the long-term availability of this option post-COVID, since many of the larger companies in attendance viewed remote work as temporary. Many were stressed with the challenges of juggling work with childcare, changing school schedules, and simply caring for themselves. Many had found a temporary reprieve through remote work but were worried about the implications of returning full time to the office.
Which is why Turntide’s policy on remote work is so cool: Working from home isn’t just a Covid thing, and your schedule is your own. (Although we have nine physical offices located around the world, approximately 70% of our employees work remotely.)
With a global workforce spread across North America, Europe, and Asia, we don’t expect individuals to conform to strict hours that limit their productivity, strain their personal lives, and restrict their growth. Instead, we encourage employees to work with their direct supervisor to determine the best cadence for their situation. So long as you’re able to finish your work in a timely manner and connect with your colleagues as necessary, Turntide won’t prescribe your exact schedule or work environment.
In fact, it isn’t uncommon during a Turntide Zoom meeting to see a child run across the screen behind a coworker’s chair or hear a dog chewing on a squeaky toy at the foot of a desk. At the end of the day, our policy is about eliminating barriers and allowing individuals to thrive both professionally and personally. We’re doing some really cool and impactful things at Turntide, but that’s only possible by hiring the best and brightest individuals.
Having a voice and support to grow
Many of the women at the fair were still in the early stages of their careers. These individuals weren’t just looking for a good fit for their current skill set, but an opportunity to grow into a better version of themselves.
Turntide was founded on this natural hunger for evolution: Nearly two decades ago, founder Piyush Desai’s breakthrough with the switched reluctance motor (SRM) led to the formation of the company, but his success was far from guaranteed. First, he had to develop the growth mindset that would propel him past life’s roadblocks. During his time at the Illinois Institute of Technology, for example, a more senior graduate student dismissed his SRM studies as pointless, and he was later turned down for a job after presenting the SRM’s potential energy-saving properties.
Fortunately, he also had the opportunity to work in environments and with people that encouraged a positive point of view and the development of new ideas. His mentors and advisors embraced this growth mindset and created a culture where he could dream big and bold, and as a result, his studies eventually led to hundreds of millions of dollars in investments from funds backed by Bill Gates, Amazon, BMW, and Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr.
Now, he’s one of many leaders helping to nurture a growth mindset for Turntide’s 500+ employees. Specifically, Turntide is powered by ideas, and if any individual employee is unable to share theirs, then we’re missing a huge opportunity as a company. But it’s one thing to have that mentality and quite another to have the systems in place to encourage discussion.
Toward that end, our weekly All-Hands meetings bring together hundreds of Tideturners from across disciplines to unite around our shared purpose and encourage camaraderie among our quickly growing workforce. At each All-Hands, we celebrate one team’s above-and-beyond contributions to the cause, whether Sales closed a big deal or Tech Services visited the field for a better perspective on the company.
We also have a system for tracking your career progress, allowing you to see how your managers view your performance and skillset, as well as where you should focus on growing to meet your goals. This fosters a sense of transparency that encourages discussions about both new ideas and how each party can further support the other.
Twice a month, Turntide CEO Ryan Morris hosts a virtual Q&A session, open to all Tideturners, where he answers questions from around the company on the spot without any prep time.
An environment where you can be yourself
Although potentially inconsequential, I couldn’t help but notice another contrast between Turntide and the other companies at WE21: our apparel.
Surrounded by some of the world’s largest companies, their booths run by employees in business attire, we chose to just be ourselves. Our casual jeans and branded T-shirts reflected our appearance on any other business day, and our masks with dinosaur mascot Bones displayed a touch of our company culture: light-hearted authenticity.
But clothing is just the tip of the iceberg at Turntide. Yes, our employees can wear whatever makes them comfortable, but that’s simply one manifestation of a company culture that encourages individuals to be themselves. Our Slack is full of channels dedicated to special interests, from literature to fitness to pets and music. There are employee groups for culture, diversity and inclusion, and sustainability. And everyone is welcome to start their own channel or group based on their own interests.
While some workplaces want you to “dress the part,” I hope we showed that “come as you are” is a much more fulfilling alternative.
If you’re interested in building a more sustainable future and a positive work environment, we highly encourage you to browse our current job openings. If you want to learn more about Turntide’s culture, check out this blog post by founder Piyush Desai, whose scientific breakthrough led to the founding of Turntide.