When CEO Doug Lebda started the online loan marketplace LendingTree he focused on core principles. Build truly outstanding products. Be open and candid. Set big goals and be accountable. Act with urgency and creativity. “We recruit those kind of people and they do it every day,” says Lebda.
“We have detail oriented and big picture people, all races and ethnicities, but everyone treats the company like it is their own,” he says. That’s because it is. Every employee has stock options.
There are plenty of employee perks, based on Lebda’s desire to create a company where he wants to work. They benefit both the employees and the company. The subsidized cafeteria fosters an environment where employees can create relationships and discuss both successes and challenges.
An onsite gym attracts people who are healthy and fit, and improves healthcare costs. Dry cleaning can be picked up at the office, and on Thursdays a crew comes by to clean employees’ cars. By having small details attended to, employees can spend more time on what is important both at work and at home. “It’s a great place to work because of the people and the culture. It doesn’t cost a lot of money to treat great employees well,” says Lebda.
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Senior database architect Manoj Singh returned to the company in 2016 after working there from 2002 to 2010. “I have yet to find a company with such an open and candid mindset,” he says of LendingTree. “It was there before, and it is still there.”
“When I meet my colleagues from other industries for lunch and I show up in shorts they say ‘are you on vacation?’” says Singh. “We have the freedom and the work-life flexibility. A lot of companies talk about it, but at LendingTree it is there.”
Singh likes that problem solving is part of the culture, and that no idea is a bad idea. He appreciates the open dialogue between departments. “I’m in technology but the other day I sent something to product, and they gave me a good read on why we could or could not do this. I can walk up to general counsel and ask why are we doing this or why aren’t we doing this, and they give me an open answer. We are all shareholders.”
The company has little bureaucracy. “You can just show up and do your work,” says Singh. “Work hard, play hard. If you have a good idea, do it. I can go to Doug and say ‘here’s a good idea, it will make money,’ and he will say ‘show me.’”