All Hands has been a WP Engine staple since 2012, when we kicked off our first company-wide event in downtown Austin, TX.
Back then, WP Engine had around 30 employees, and while we’ve grown a bit over the last decade (we’re now more than 1,000 strong), the inspiration and spirit behind All Hands has always remained the same.
What is All Hands? It’s a time when WP Engine employees set aside our daily work and come together as a company, reflect on our past, develop a deeper understanding of where we’re going, and get to know each other better.
With that mandate in mind, All Hands 2021 was a smashing all-virtual success! More than 1,100 WP Engine employees from coast to coast took part in a flexible, two-day agenda of informative and inspirational sessions. Here’s a closer look at all of this year’s amazing All Hands activities:
Evolving Opportunity for the World’s Leading CMS
As in years past, All Hands 2021 kicked off with an all-encompassing keynote session in which WP Engine leadership provided updates and upcoming areas of focus for the year ahead.
WP Engine Chairwoman and CEO Heather Brunner addressed the current WordPress landscape and how it’s continuing to evolve. WordPress is the world’s leading CMS, and the desire for beautiful, functional, highly secure WordPress sites is only growing. WP Engine is meeting that demand—8% of all humans online visit a WP Engine website every day!
Heather also drove home WP Engine’s commitment to giving back to the WordPress community and set our intentions for the future as we aim to empower the builders and creators at leading agencies and brands who are constructing a new generation of digital experiences.
WP Engine Chief Operating Officer Jason Teichman took the virtual stage next and provided a deep dive on skyrocketing customer satisfaction, our plans to continue building powerful tools and resources for our agency partners, and blueprints for additional, exciting products and services we’ll provide to our customers in 2022.
Following Jason, WP Engine SVP and Managing Director, International Fabio Torlini outlined the continued growth of our international business units and offered an overview of the recent EMEA Summit in London. With a hybrid in-person and virtual event, the event offered an incredible mix of content to a wide audience of WordPress creators and entrepreneurs.
WP Engine SVP of Global Engineering Ramadass Prabhakar closed the morning session with an overview of how we’re achieving innovation on a large scale. We’ve launched more than 22 products this year, including Atlas, Growth Suite, and our eCommerce plans, optimized for WooCommerce, all of which provide our customers with more solutions and tools for building a powerful digital presence.
Founder to Founder
Later in the day, employees were treated to an insightful conversation between WP Engine Founder and CTO Jason Cohen and HubSpot Co-founder and Executive Chairman Brian Halligan.
The discussion revolved around HubSpot’s success, not only in the realm of inbound marketing but in the company’s ability to build a sustainable internal culture that has propelled it forward as it has scaled.
Halligan recalled the CEO of a large tech company telling him the importance of a strong company culture: “Culture is how people make decisions when you’re not in the room. Culture is how you really scale an organization.”
The two also discussed HubSpot’s mission to its customers, and the ways HubSpot helps businesses market, sell, and service themselves “in a way that’s good for them but also good for their customers.”
“We do measure leads, lead growth, revenue, etc., but it’s harder to measure the better side of that,” Halligan said.
“Our mission is to help people grow in a better, more sustainable way that’s good for them and good for society.”
Getting to Your One Day
The second day of All Hands began with a keynote presentation from VP of Diversity and Inclusion, Tarsha McCormick, who focused on career growth and development for all WP Engine employees.
“Getting to your one day starts with planning on day one, and having a vision for your career growth and development,” Tarsha said.
She encouraged employees to explore the directions they wanted to grow in while considering the best routes to take to get there.
“We know career growth looks different to each person, and a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work,” she said.
“We also know and acknowledge that some members of underrepresented communities face additional challenges that can often make it difficult to grow their careers while being their authentic selves.”
“We each have a responsibility, as part of our Core Value, Built for Growth, to lift each other up and support equal opportunities for everyone at WP Engine, no matter what we look like, who we love, where we come from, or what we believe.”
Tarsha also noted WP Engine’s partnerships with programs like Management Leadership for Tomorrow and McKinsey Connected Leaders Academy, which not only allow us to better support those who may face additional challenges, they tie directly back to our Core Values and specifically, Built for Growth.
Following the keynote sessions, employees were able to choose from a variety of 10 breakout sessions spanning everything from career development to hands-on technical training to evolving digital trends.
To ensure everyone had access to all of the breakouts, no matter which ones they were able to catch in real-time, all sessions were also made available via Enginet, WP Engine’s company-wide intranet, as soon as All Hands concluded.
Here’s a look at what a few of those breakout sessions were focused on:
From CX to P&E
Employees learned how previous CX individuals transitioned into P&E and heard from P&E leaders about a program that will provide more structure around the transition.
A Non-Linear Career Path in Product Design
Most designers’ career paths are non-linear. Employees heard from a senior product designer at WP Engine who spoke about her personal journey into Product Design and how to leverage design thinking in other roles.
Accessibility: Doing the Right Thing at WPE
Employees learned about the teams and individuals at WP Engine who are living our core value Do the Right Thing through numerous research, design, and development projects focused on making WP Engine’s products more accessible to everyone.
Webby Talk: “Way Too New” Digital Trends
WP Engine has partnered with The Webby Awards since 2016, and this year’s Webby Talks trend is “Way Too New.” This session offered an overview of the unprecedented explosion of online innovation loaded with examples, insights, and commentary from the industry leaders building our digital future.
The Past, Present, and Future of WordPress
As a company, we sell, market, and engineer WordPress solutions for our customers. However, where did WordPress come from? This session provided an overview of the key phases of WordPress’ growth, as well as the innovations and philosophical foundations that have contributed to one of the most popular pieces of web software on earth.
ERGs: Improving Our World While We Work
WP Engine has some amazing Employee Resource Groups, and this session provided a deeper conversation about the importance of ERGs as not only communities of representation and support but also tools for growth and development.
One Day > Day One: Another All Hands for the Books!
With incredible content, professional-grade production, and an engaging, inspiring focus on all the amazing opportunities ahead, All Hands 2021 was an overwhelming success, broadcast to more employees in more locations than ever before.
And although we eagerly look forward to the day when All Hands festivities can resume in-person, the digital experience provided to our employees this year was meant to mirror the experiences we help our customers build with WordPress, every single day.
As we look ahead to 2022, we’re excited for what the future holds, and we can’t wait for the next All Hands to come together, take stock of all the incredible things we’ve accomplished, and continue growing as a company in service of our amazing customers.
Check out our Careers Page to find out more about what it’s like to work at WP Engine!