Want to get to know RingCentral’s new Hangzhou office? Why not start with Chang He, RingCentral Hangzhou’s first employee?
- Chang He is the head of RingCentral’s Hangzhou R&D center, leading the development of audio and video projects.
- Chang worked for Cisco for 18 years, leading the Innovation team focusing on audio & videoconferencing products.
RingCentral’s business is growing at a meteoric pace around the world, and plenty of that growth is happening in China. The company is already well-established in Xiamen and Hong Kong, but 2020 saw the need for even more growth, which is why RingCentral opened a third location in Hangzhou. If you’re curious about what Hangzhou has going on, there’s no better person to ask than the first employee hired – Chang He.
What attracted you to not only a new company but a brand-new location?
”I’ve admired RingCentral’s products and success for years, but I wasn’t as familiar with the culture. When I got to know RingCentral, I was really energized — by both the people and the products. The audio and video projects we work on have unlimited room for innovation. Plus, the idea of establishing a Hangzhou R&D center seemed like a really exciting challenge.”
After a little over a year in the job, what’s your impression?
“It’s incredibly gratifying to start something from scratch and see it actually work. When I say we started from nowhere, I mean – we started from nowhere. I had a new employee show up for his first day accompanied by his mother – she was worried we weren’t real! There was no logistics staff. We took turns running out to get snacks and tea – it was a true DIY affair. On the plus side, we were able to build the kind of work environment we wanted to work in. If you know RingCentral, you know how much importance the company places on employee experience. We were able to design everything about this place to deliver the best employee experience possible. We ran employee experience surveys , made customized solutions and set up the supporting facilities we needed to make things run right. Being able to design the perfect workplace – how many opportunities does anyone get to do that?”
RingCentral is known for work-life balance – an unusual characteristic in China’s “996” work culture. Is work-life balance a priority in Hangzhou ?
“It is. We believe— true innovation requires a clear, energetic mind. If you’re pulling 12 hour days, six days a week, sure, you get short-term benefits, but inevitably, efficiency decreases. That’s not sustainable, and (at least in our opinion,) it’s not smart business.
Here’s an example: our dynamic approach to work. We give every employee the ability to work on-site, at home or a little of both, and it really makes a difference.
Commuting in Hangzhou can be rough – an hour-plus each way on a bad day, so the dynamic model is very popular. The time people spend commuting doesn’t benefit anyone. Happier, more energetic employees do.”
Does RingCentral have an edge in the competition for talent in Hangzhou ?
“Definitely. When we give people the balance they need to live happier, more fulfilled lives, we see better-quality, more innovative work. Plus, we become a more attractive place to work. That brings in more talent, and the whole virtuous cycle just builds on itself. But other factors come into play as well. Take diversity & inclusion for example. RingCentral requires us to maintain a balanced gender ratio, and treat employees with different backgrounds, different ages, different experiences, and different ways of thinking, equally. That diversity of people leads to diversity in our thinking. We sell to the whole world – we need the broadest possible perspective on how to do that. Our culture is open, everyone can be themselves, communicate on an equal footing, and let their voices be heard. It makes this a better place to work, and one where everyone’s truly invested in our success.”
Talk to us about development opportunities.
“RingCentral creates the conditions it takes to build a true learning culture: energy, time, tools and an international platform. Technology changes, radically, every single day. Which means the single most important quality an employee can have is adaptability. It’s no longer about how well a certain block of code is written, but our ability to learn and self-iterate when the landscape shifts. We’re really focused on development, and I think it shows in our work. “
What kind of team are you building?
“It’s kind of a combination of old skills and new. We really value the old-school spirit of craftsmanship, but just as important is a willingness to pursue the extraordinary. We’re here to make the best products, not just “usable” products. So we’re looking for people who want to do great things – but do them right. Of course you have to be a skilled programmer. But you also have to be able to think about problems from the user’s perspective. We don’t just blindly pursue technology for its own sake, but pay attention to the impact it has on user experience.”
What is your hiring philosophy?
“Willingness to learn comes first. We’re far less interested in what you did yesterday than your level of interest in what’s next. Enthusiasm is huge, too. We want people who love the work we do for its own sake. Finally, we want people who appreciate our culture, our values, and the company’s mission – to unleash the possibilities of a more connected world. We’re doing meaningful work, and everyone here plays a critical role. So we’re looking for people who are as excited as we are to be a meaningful part of that.”
Originally published Oct 12, 2021, updated Dec 30, 2022