Teaming at ExpressVPN

How our team-based organizational structure fosters agility, autonomy, and meaningful collaboration.
Video call display pictures of ExpressVPN Employees in a matrix layout.

Do work you care about

ExpressVPN isn’t just a great place to work, it’s also where we do great work. Central to our culture is a strong sense of ownership and ingenuity, where the doers are also the deciders, where accountability is never without authority, and where agility and autonomy supersede bureaucracy.

As most companies grow in size, strategy and decision-making tend to float further away from those actually doing the work. Layers of approval build up, eroding autonomy and diffusing responsibility. That was not the path we wanted to go down.

ExpressVPN employees ideating on whiteboard.

As we've expanded, we've pursued better and faster ways to get things done—without the bloat of bottlenecks and red tape. That’s how we came up with our own version of “teaming,” inspired by the Spotify model.

Through teaming we hope to turn the common question of “Why am I even doing this?” into “What can I do to solve this problem?”, empowering employees to make themselves accountable for their teams’ objectives and key results (OKRs), ExpressVPN’s preferred framework for goal-setting.

Read more: How project managers work at ExpressVPN

Why our employees love teams

Top-down shot of employees seated around a table with their laptops.

More self-management and autonomy

Our teaming model decentralizes decision-making, transferring that responsibility to team members themselves. We empower teams to operate independently, giving them the freedom to make their own decisions around the processes and practices that guide their work. At ExpressVPN, each team works with management to create its own set of OKRs, and team members have the autonomy to decide how to achieve them.

We also ensure that teams have the resources and authority to execute their plans—a sharp contrast to other organizations where those being held accountable for goals may need to constantly seek buy-in, request resources, and await input from others. Of course, teams continue to engage stakeholders for input and guidance on their plans and work—not to encumber them with multiple approval loops, but to ensure synergy between individual team efforts.

No more silos

How teamwork drives our engineering results

We don’t want people to sit at their desks tapping out code in isolation. Teaming provides countless opportunities to collaborate with people you’d never cross paths with in a more traditional setup. You’ll find yourself building an affinity with different areas of the business and forming meaningful relationships with other chapters, all while becoming more skilled at what you do. You’ll also have the opportunity to be involved in projects end-to-end—no matter your function—so your work has clear context and purpose, rather than being dropped on your lap only when it needs your attention.

ExpressVPN's IT team working on a multiple computers

Less context-switching, more productivity

We understand how disruptive and frustrating it can be to have to stop working on a project for something else and then have to pick it back up after. As opposed to sitting on a production line and tackling whatever task comes down the pipeline, ExpressVPN employees have more agency and control over their time—and indeed even their team assignments. Team work takes precedence over ad-hoc tasks: For each team assignment, employees get a team allocation value to help determine how much time in a week should be dedicated to that team's tasks. These allocation values help to better prioritize different responsibilities, improving productivity and efficiency.

Employees at a meeting.

Unique leadership opportunities

We believe anyone is capable of contributing meaningfully to—or even leading—a team. We see team leadership and people management as two different endeavors entirely, where those who don’t want to become people managers can still get the opportunity to lead a team.

When selecting team leads, we look for strong organizational and prioritization skills and expertise in a particular subject matter. And of course, leadership skills are a must to help for managing multiple stakeholders and rallying the team together to meet its OKRs.

That being said, we acknowledge that it may not be possible for a single person to embody all of these qualities, and it would be unreasonable for the team’s success to hinge on an individual. This is where other team members come in to bridge the gaps with complementary skills and qualities. Notably, our approach gives junior employees in particular the unique opportunity to engage with people from across the company and solely represent their departments with more agency.

Read more: How our unique growth paths provide a clear and achievable road map for career growth

Ping zhu illustration for changing locations.

Join us today

Want to work within a culture of trust and transparency, where you’re free to operate independently and enterprisingly? At ExpressVPN, every day poses a new opportunity to roll up your sleeves, work alongside a diverse range of experts, and develop new skill sets. Check out our current openings and apply now.