In 2017, Viasat again experienced massive growth, welcoming over 1,000 new employees to the company, bringing our total global workforce to approximately 5,000. That pace is expected to slow – but not stop – in 2018.
While a growth rate this steep could stretch an organization, Viasat’s head of People & Culture said she sees our employees as uniquely capable of rising to this challenge.
“Growing at this rate does come with certain challenges, especially when our organization and businesses are also evolving rapidly,” People & Culture Vice President Melinda Del Toro said. “But we hire people who thrive on solving hard problems and coming up with creative solutions. It’s a part of our culture. The steady growth just means we have even more talent around the table to help us meet these challenges.”
In the last several months, Del Toro has visited U.S. Viasat offices in Denver and Tempe, AZ as well as in Lausanne, Switzerland, Chennai, India and Farnborough, England. At each site, employees have talked about how much they appreciate the Viasat culture.
“For some it’s the strong team spirit and feeling like everyone you’re working with is truly all-in; for others it’s the innovation, or the freedom and trust that is just so different from what they’ve experienced at other organizations,” she said. “The fact that our culture is the common denominator at each Viasat location around the world is a tribute to the leaders we have across the company who recognize it’s in our environment, our work and, of course, our hiring.”
“The fact that our culture is the common denominator at each Viasat location around the world is a tribute to the leaders we have across the company who recognize it’s in our environment, our work and, of course, our hiring.” — Melinda Del Toro
In many other organizations, “People hear about culture in new-hire orientation and may never hear it referenced again,” she said. “Here, I think we all recognize how critical our culture is not just to our organization but to our business strategy. It helps explain why we take on the work that we do — and our approach to that work.”
Other key cultural ingredients include working as one team, embracing challenges, tolerance for ambiguity, trust, freedom, and opportunity, and a commitment to constantly exploring and evolving. Those concepts feed the innovation for which Viasat is known. That belief in and quest for finding a better way fuels the company’s continuing growth.
Case in point: While most of the 2017 growth occurred at the company’s Carlsbad, CA home base, close on its heels was Tempe – where crews are building the ViaSat-3 payloads.
Denver — which in 2017 opened the company’s first in-house sales and customer care centers — also saw a spike in employees. Rapid-fire growth also continues in India, a relatively new engineering hub that just opened its second office.
“It’s all attributable to the fact that our business is growing, and we have to grow to meet that demand,” Del Toro said. “In some cases, that means growth in head count; in other cases, there will be opportunities for us to become more efficient at what we’re doing.”
She predicts employee numbers will increase at a slower rate in 2018.
“We’ll continue to grow, but it’s going to slow down – and while our focus will always be on innovation, we’ll also be working to maximize the efficiency of tools, systems and processes,” she said
“We can’t grow head count and revenue at the same rate and expect to be a profitable organization. So the challenge all of us will have is to look at what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, and ask ourselves: Is there a better way?”