Arctic Wolf, a cybersecurity firm that moved its headquarters from Silicon Valley to Eden Prairie last year, is growing fast. Nick Schneider, the company's president, was the first hire in Minnesota in 2016. Now, 200 of the firm's 700 employees are based in Eden Prairie, said Kristin Dean, senior vice president of people. In another 12 months, there should be 350. Arctic Wolf is ranked third on Energage's national Top Workplaces list for companies with 100 to 499 employees. Below, Schneider and Dean, both Twin Cities natives, talk about the company's culture and growth. The answers are edited for length and clarity.
Q: What's the key to culture at Arctic Wolf?
Schneider: We have the typical departments of any organization. But everyone is working on a common mission to do right by our customers and partners and doing well for our company. We're doubling revenue year over year, also people and new products. It's a quickly evolving organization. When we win big, we celebrate. When we miss something, everybody takes it upon himself to reflect on what we could do better. No finger pointing. We try to do a great job.
Dean: Cybersecurity is important and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. We're successful. And people have found a way to grow careers.
Q: What is the challenge for hiring at Arctic Wolf?
Dean: Culture fit is first and foremost. We're a rapidly growing business and look for people who thrive in that environment. If someone has the right attitude and a willingness to learn, they are perfect for Arctic Wolf. From a more technical standpoint, there is a global cybersecurity skills talent shortage, which is one reason Arctic Wolf has seen such demand for our services in recent years. We have opened four security operations centers: Waterloo, Iowa; Provo, Utah; San Antonio and Eden Prairie.
Q: What role did the headquarters move to the Twin Cities last year play in this?
Schneider: The Twin Cities are home to an incredible wealth of talent. The region is headquarters to multiple Fortune 500 companies, and as part of the "Silicon Prairie," the area has a rapidly growing tech scene. Before becoming our corporate headquarters, our Minnesota office served as our sales and marketing hub. The team in Minnesota was a significant factor in Arctic Wolf doubling sales for five consecutive years.
Dean: Many of our senior leaders in Minnesota have worked for local tech companies. We knew by moving the headquarters here and doubling down on Minnesota employees that we would benefit. By investing in Minnesota talent. They have the right skill-set and work ethic.
Q: Please describe your compensation and benefits packages and how you position yourself?
Dean: Arctic Wolf tracks compensation and benefits market trends to ensure we are competitive in the marketplace. We're also proud to provide every new full-time employee equity in the company.
Beyond compensation, one of the leading factors our employees join and stay is the opportunity for growth. As one of the fastest-growing companies in North America, our employees have the chance to take on new challenges each day as we scale our business, and that provides them the opportunity to grow their career via job progression and new skill development. In total, we promoted 127 employees in the last 12 months.
Q: Have you always allowed employees to work remotely?
Dean: Before COVID, most of our employees worked in the office, with the flexibility to work remotely as needed for work/life balance needs. Last year with the pandemic, we pivoted to having the workforce be 100% remote. When local regulations allowed, we made our offices available to employees as a resource. As part of this process, we positioned our offices like a coffee shop. On a capacity-limited basis, employees can use the office as a quiet work space, but no one is required to come in.
We find employees miss in-person collaboration and engagement. That was a big piece of our culture. Our employees need to be team players. It's very important they are kind and able to build relationships across locations. At the end of the day, we are all one team and we have to work together for clients.
Q: What culture-building and employee-retention measures do you employ?
Dean: Employee referral is our top source of finding new employees. Communication is also a top priority for leadership, and we have monthly all-company meetings where the executives present, and anyone in the company can ask questions. In the pandemic, culture-building has brought on new challenges, but we've tried to maintain a sense of normalcy by organizing regular activities, competitions, fitness classes and virtual happy hours. We celebrate milestones, after hitting our quarterly numbers, such as food trucks and meals with employees and family members.
Neal St. Anthony • 612-673-7144