With a specific focus on demand generation, marketing automation, and digital strategy. Céntrico Digital is a unique organization built on principles not often found in Ecuador or Latin America.
Our company’s novel approach to management enables an employee-centric culture in which much is given and much is expected. We in Centrico Digital believe strongly that, if you take care of the team, the team will take care of the business.
At Centrico we rarely work on Fridays. Friday is the day when you work on yourself. For some team members, Friday is a day they dedicate to studying for their next software certification like HubSpot or Salesforce. For others, Friday is the day they focus on making music. For others, Friday is about exercise and family. Maybe you want to do a masterclass on breadmaking and Friday is the day. You can do whatever you need with your Friday in order to achieve self-improvement. There is no accountability, only praise for allowing yourself to focus on you. We want you to bring the best version of yourself to work, and we know that happens when you have time to pursue personal growth and fulfillment.
Does that mean we never work on Fridays? No. We'll sometimes work for a few hours, for example, when we have a holiday mid-week, or we didn’t finish our tasks on time. Teams are encouraged to prohibit meetings on Fridays, both internal and external meetings, and clients are warned that, unless it's an emergency, we’ll likely respond on Monday. We value growth more than anything, and in saying that, we need to put our money where our mouth is, and provide people with time to turn our values into stories we can tell each other about how we grew during our time at Centrico Digital.
We know that having a diverse workforce makes us a stronger company; this has been demonstrated time and again through research. When we say the word “diversity”, we’re referring to ethnic, cultural, socio-economic, disability, gender and sexual diversity, neurodiversity, as well as different interests and backgrounds. Most importantly, we want people who come to Centrico Digital with different life experiences. Why? Our work is both technical and creative. When team members have different backgrounds and perspectives, they’re able to think more creatively about possible solutions. We learn from each other and enrich each other’s work.
The first step we take to celebrate diversity is to insist on a hiring process that is anti-palanca, or anti-leverage. Latin America, where we are based, is conformed by many low-trust and unequal societies. Inequality manifests itself through financial capital (for example, intergenerational wealth), as well as human capital (quality of education) and social capital (whom you know and how you can leverage your relationships to obtain opportunities).
For many years we unwittingly perpetuated inequality by not looking outside of our own networks to hire when vacancies opened. Nowadays, we ask every applicant to go through the same hiring process in which we anonymize the candidate as much as possible. That way, our goal is to find the most qualified candidates, regardless of whom they know.
We seek out qualified candidates from disadvantaged communities, including indigenous, afro-descendent, and LGBTQI communities. Some people may smugly reply, “I think you should hire the most qualified candidates and punto!” Behind that statement is often the biased idea that if a privileged person holds a role it is because he has earned it and if a woman or a minority holds the role it is because she’s fulfilling a quota. The truth is that our biases often lead us to hire people who look like us and have similar backgrounds. If power is held by privileged men and women, they will often hire people like them.
No candidate applying to Centrico Digital loses points because of who they are, their background, or their privilege. We believe there are thousands of people qualified to work for Centrico Digital. In that process, we will seek to build a diverse team that reflects the rich mosaic of the region in which we operate. At the same time, we strive every day to build a workplace that accommodates everyone, so that each person can bring their whole self to work. We admit that we still have a lot of work to do in creating a better work environment for everyone, regardless of their background. Our commitment is to never stop improving.
To ensure high-performing teams, we need to create psychological security for everyone. Studies have shown the value of psychological safety in the workplace, including the fact that, so long as we are afraid, we are unable to harness our full cognitive power and potential. When we are truly scared our brains shut down, and we are often left with three options: flight, fight, and paralysis. Traditionally, many workplaces have tried to use fear as a motivating or controlling influence. "If you don’t do what I say, you’ll get fired. If you make a mistake, you’ll lose your job." We believe such ideas are backward: instead of ensuring quality, they punish risk-taking and experiential learning. High-performing individuals are motivated by challenges, not fear. We, therefore, strive to celebrate the learning that comes from mistakes.
Let me give you an example: one time we overspent a client’s budget by $10,000 USD on his own credit card. When we realized our mistake, we were devastated, but no one was fired or punished. Why?
First, we didn’t ask “who did it?” but “what happened?”. We focus on “what happened?” because our experience suggests that processes fail more than people fail. If we change the people but don’t fix the processes, we are bound to make the same mistakes again.
In this particular case, the responsible team was overworked after having onboarded two new clients the same week. One team member was on vacation and decided to take a few hours to help out the team. They made changes to the budget and forgot to communicate them to the team. We only realized the error when the person came back from vacation, and by that time the damage was done.
When we looked at why the mistake happened, we realized that it was because the CEO had asked the team to take on two new clients that week despite being understaffed. We followed up by making changes to ensure we never onboard too many clients at a time, and we always check budgets daily.
Finally, once we realized our mistake, we immediately called the client, explained what happened, and assumed the entire cost of the error. Though obviously disappointed we made the mistake, the client received $10.000 in free advertising, and was ultimately happy with the way we handled and owned our responsibility. The relationship was, in the end, strengthened.
Every Thursday at 5 P.M. (GMT -5) we get together to close the week at a meeting we call “Thirsty Thursdays”. Before we give thanks to different team members for their help during the week, we share our best “fails”. We’ve discovered that all errors fall into three categories:
Failure and mistakes are part of learning, and an organization that is not failing is definitely not innovating. When we remove the stigma from failure and then add a layer of analysis that turns each mistake into a lesson, we create the conditions for success and growth.
When you work at Centrico Digital, you should always be growing, earning, and learning. We define growth as a) professional, b) personal, and c) financial. Allow me to explain.
Professional Growth does not only mean accumulating titles but also accumulating stories and responsibilities. For example, one important difference between a junior team member and a senior team member is their ability to navigate ambiguity and complexity. A senior team member is expected to cut through the fog to find the solutions to problems we may have never seen before. Senior team members are expected to take on big problems, even when they lack perfect information, and to be responsible for their outcomes. Senior people are action-oriented and understand that it’s better to make fast decisions than correct decisions (since the act of making decisions leads to learning). Ultimately, exemplifying those behaviors leads to material changes in the business.
For example, our strategists Ana, David, and Esteban inherited a team whose growth had declined. Despite representing the company’s longest-serving clients, their business was struggling. The three of them decided to change the team’s focus, end relationships with loyal but stagnant clients, and bet on a new growth strategy. Within a quarter of their new focus, the team was growing again at a record pace.
Another part of professional growth is figuring out your personal strengths and how you can harness those strengths to help grow our company. Allow me to give some examples: Esteban V. worked with full-service clients when he had an idea for a team that would provide low-cost and high-margin services. Esteban proposed the idea, despite the fact the company had decided not to work on smaller accounts a couple of years earlier. Three years later, Esteban’s team is thriving.
Here’s another example: Miguel joined as a strategist for our education team. When COVID-19 hit and the team lost its clients, the company decided to move from a services business to a platform business. Seeing the need for someone highly specialized in product development, Miguel took a course and started leading the development of the platform. Soon he was able to begin transitioning away from client work in order to focus 100% on product development.
Caroline had an interest in focusing on purpose-driven organizations and now her team works to transfer marketing knowledge and best practices from highly sophisticated organizations to NGOs and BCorps.
Jessica was a temporary hire and is now the CEO of a subsidiary company.
Sisa started as a strategy intern and quickly showed her creative skills. She and Lili were then assigned the task of developing a case study for a new digital PR service offering.
Having highlighted these examples, success in CD requires that new team members show an aptitude for the core work we do. In addition, although we allow ourselves to constantly innovate, we make sure not to lose the focus of our core business. We have limited mental and emotional bandwidth for new projects, and we have a lot of room to innovate in how we deliver our work today. Nonetheless, Centrico Digital looks to identify each person’s strengths and interests in order to apply those unique talents and passions to our growth.
Finally, we do not expect you to work at Centrico Digital forever. We aim to prepare everyone for their next professional experience, primarily by providing opportunities to grow. We do not believe our team members are indebted to us or owe us anything. When team members at CD receive new job opportunities, we’re happy for them. For some people, their growth runway in the company is infinite and they can stay for the long term. For others, they reach a certain level and it makes sense for everyone that they move on and find new opportunities. Regardless of what your future holds, our goal is that you come out of your Centrico Digital experience with opportunities and options you didn’t have before.
There comes a point in everyone’s career when their future success is both enabled and limited by their self-knowledge. First and foremost, nothing sabotages a career more than one’s own insecurities. In CD we like to say that if you don’t deal with your demons, you force everyone else to deal with them on a regular basis. Everyone has insecurities, and though we do well to listen to them and try to understand their origin, we do not have to allow them to control our words and actions. We see them, name them, and move on.
Furthermore, many of us are held back by self-limiting beliefs, or ideas we have internalized that are not necessarily true, but that we consider true. “I’m no good at analytical thinking” might be a self-limiting belief passed on to us from past experiences. Requiring a lot of validation from others is another self-limiting belief because we can’t sustain our own self-worth without first having it reflected back to us by others. If we are to advance in our careers, we need to learn what it means to convert self-love and self-value into daily practices. Everyone is on their own journey to self-discovery: Centrico Digital makes no guarantee that your time with us will bring enlightenment, but we’ll definitely try to help by providing a vocabulary and a safe space to discuss your personal growth. It is then up to you to decide what you do with it.
In 2020, everyone who had joined the company in 2019 received a raise. Your compensation should be a constant topic of conversation with your manager. You should state clearly what your goals are, and your manager should tell you what value you need to add, and what goals you, the team, and the business needs to achieve, to allow you to reach your goals. Money should not be a stigmatized topic, nor should anyone feel bad for having financial goals. What’s important to remember is that the amount of money you earn is not a reflection of your value as a person; rather, the amount you earn is a reflection of the value you add to the business. Everyone can add more value, and therefore everyone can earn more. As a medium-sized business, when you are no longer a junior member of the team, the value you add should probably be reflected in the top-line and/or bottom-line growth of your team and the business.
At Centrico Digital, we do not look to hire people we believe can “do the job”. We look for people who can grow into future leaders of the company. We want candidates who have strengths we don’t currently have. When you’re applying, it’s always a good idea to emphasize your past growth and changes in order to provide insight into how you might grow and change with us in the future.
At Centrico Digital, we are firm adherents to the principles of Radical Candor, as described by Kim Scott in her book of the same name. For us, Radical Candor means that managers and team members develop strong relationships of trust, and thanks to that trust they can speak openly and honestly with each other, without stigmas or taboos. As Kim says, “it’s not rude, it’s clear,” or, in other words, if we’re not clear and direct in our expectations as well as our evaluation of someone’s work, we’re not acting as effective managers. If you’re not meeting expectations at Centrico Digital, you should know. If someone is being let go, it should not come as a surprise. We admit we have failed in the past at achieving our own standards for clarity, but we’re constantly getting better.
Part of ensuring we are true to our values is making sure we don’t reward behavior that can lead to toxic outcomes. Specifically, we don’t want to reward people who achieve great outputs (results) at the cost of unsustainable inputs (i.e. working too much). If someone is putting in too many hours, sending emails at odd times, and generally demonstrating the effects of burnout, we will intervene. The goal at Centrico Digital is to achieve results without achieving burnout. If the goal we set is unreasonable, we can change the goal. Otherwise, when people work too much, they sometimes do so because they’re not pursuing goals and interests outside of work. When we associate our value with our work, we will eventually resent our jobs, because the job will never provide the fulfillment we are seeking. We don’t want people to work too little, but we also don’t want people to set an example that will ultimately lead to burnout. Our managers are tasked with considering their team’s holistic wellbeing. If something is off, we need to know to help accommodate. We won't, however, reward and celebrate achievements that come at the expense of wellness and wellbeing.
As mentioned above, Centrico Digital dedicates a lot of time and resources to innovate, both in our core work and adjacent activities. Our goal is to always move towards higher-value and more specialized activities. We open the opportunity to everyone: you don’t need to be a senior person to lead a new initiative. For example, our digital PR product was developed by a recent graduate alongside someone still completing their last semester of college. With the right guidance and direction, anyone can innovate: experience is not a prerequisite.
Having said that, we have to be careful to not fall into the trap of feature creep or distraction. We must be disciplined to not lose sight of what makes us successful. Nonetheless, the CD of today looks far different from the CD of two years ago. If you don’t like constant change, CD is not a good place to work.
In 2019 Centrico Digital Inc became a certified New York benefit corporation. What that means essentially is that we have committed to a number of best practices around transparency and sustainability in order to ensure we are behaving ethically and responsibly. As a result, we also choose not to work with clients whose business models we consider destructive or antithetical to our value system. We measure and report our environmental footprint, and we aim to have a social and environmental impact that supersedes the small group of clients and team members we serve.
Here’s an example of how we hope to have a positive impact: in 2021 we launched a scholarship that pays people who don’t work for Centrico Digital to certify themselves in Salesforce, a software we work with. Most are highly qualified individuals who are currently unemployed. If they complete the certification (we pay for the test), they get paid. We may hire some of them, all of them, or none of them. Some may work for us or find work with someone else, including competitors. We aim to be generous with our knowledge. Through our pilot scholarship program, we will seek to continue to share our knowledge, especially to traditionally underserved communities, including indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, members of the LGBTQI community, single mothers, etc. As we grow, we’ll look to have a larger and larger social footprint beyond our core work.
In addition, our commitment to transparency is visible in the fact that each month employees receive the same updates, as the company’s board, and all employees are invited and encouraged to participate in the company’s management meetings as well as the company’s board meetings.
Because we believe diversity and a distributed workforce contribute to our success, we offer a range of benefits whether you are located in our headquarters or abroad. Read about these benefits below.
Centrico Digital strives to offer competitive compensation to all its employees. We also allow applicants to state their salary preference at the time of applying, in order to avoid prolonged negotiations and unnecessary back and forth. To make it easy for future employees to suggest their own salary, we have published our salary scale here (note that the salary scale is USD and is updated annually).
At Centrico Digital, upon completing the first full year in the company, all full-time employees are offered the opportunity to purchase company shares (shares are in Centrico Digital Inc. a US-based Benefit Corporation) through options. Non-executive Centrico Digital employees own 17% of the company, a number that has increased over time. Centrico Digital employees are also granted options and given the opportunity to invest in spinoffs, such as our education platform, MyUniGuru.Com.
The reason we offer shares in our company is to help combat inequality. Though shares and options grants are commonplace in some parts of the world, in much of the developing world, company equity is held exclusively by the founders and their inheritors. With profits consistently re-invested in the company’s operations, we believe that employee ownership allows team members to benefit from the success they help enable, along with rights to dividends, to participate in board meetings, and to financially benefit in the event of a transaction such as an acquisition.
As a best practice and as a commitment to gender equality, Centrico Digital practices equal pay for equal work, meaning men and women that do the same work receive the same pay. That doesn’t mean, for example, that a person can’t receive a performance bonus for exceptional performance, but it does mean that, in principle, individuals performing the same tasks are compensated accordingly
As part of our commitment to growth, we encourage employees to pursue constant learning in fields related to and sometimes not related to the work we do. Centrico Digital is often willing to fund extended studies from short courses to master's degrees depending on the relevance to the work and mission of Centrico Digital.
Centrico Digital has a physical office located in the Impaqto network of coworking spaces in Ecuador. We offer a place to work to everyone based in Quito and Cuenca, Ecuador. However, for the most part, Centrico Digital is a remote company and some of our members live in places such as Brazil and Mexico. We are willing to consider candidates not living in Ecuador as long as the company and the team members are able to meet mutual expectations around compensation and work schedule. We want to hire the best people, regardless of where they live.
Centrico Digital subsidizes private health insurance for all full-time employees that have completed their 3 month trial period.
Centrico Digital offers a three-month paternity and/or maternity leave to all full-time employees at full pay.
If a team member has an emergency and must travel, Centrico Digital will pay for or subsidize a return flight, with no obligation to pay the company back.
Do you have student debt you’d like to pay off? Are you planning a trip and would like to have some extra cash? Centrico Digital offers no-interest loans to full-time employees.
Centrico Digital is not the right environment for everyone. We expect employees to work independently and to be both self-motivated and, in some cases, self-taught. Not everyone thrives in this work environment.
Some people are not able to overcome their own insecurities and as a result, they adopt a scarcity mindset. They see competition where there is none and are threatened by the success of others. Centrico Digital has a lot of ambition and aims to be much bigger than it currently is. As such, within that growth there is a lot of opportunity for everyone. If you focus on abundance of opportunity, you’ll likely do well at Centrico Digital. If you focus on looking good at the expense of others, you’ll likely do poorly.
Ecuadorian law allows us three months to evaluate whether or not a team member may continue with the company. We find this trial period too short to really evaluate someone’s long-term potential. Nonetheless, because the law dictates that we make a decision within three months, we are often focused on whether or not an individual is dominating the core tasks required of their position. It is easy for anyone working at Centrico Digital to feel overwhelmed by the opportunity to innovate at Centrico Digital, but before that can happen, team members must show their ability to excel at the core services we offer.
As a services company, we allow ourselves the benefit of choosing who we work with and stating clearly the terms of our engagements. Enforcing the terms of our contracts sometimes requires individuals to operate with firm confidence and self-belief.
For example, we have found that clients who believe their relationship with us is open-ended and limitless are often unsatisfied because no matter how much we do, they expect more. As a result, our client relationships have limits, and if a new team member is unable to enforce those limits, or believes they are doing a good job by offering free services to our clients under the slightest pressure, we ultimately do damage to the relationship by creating ambiguous expectations.
Similarly, Centrico Digital offers a culture where mistakes are de-stigmatized and shared. If someone joins the team and then fears sharing mistakes or operates as if he/she will be punished for messing up, they’re showing signs of struggling to operate in our context.
Some people join Centrico Digital with enthusiasm, only to reveal that their talents and interests lie elsewhere. As much as we like the person, we do a disservice to their career if we continue a working relationship with someone who clearly needs to follow a different path.
As mentioned previously, Centrico Digital is an open feedback culture. We believe that feedback is a gift, and sometimes it’s a gift you have the pleasure of receiving, and sometimes it’s a gift you have the pleasure of giving. If someone gets particularly defensive when receiving feedback, they’re creating obstacles to their own growth. If someone refuses to give honest feedback to their superiors, for example, they’re not contributing to their team members’ growth. We don’t believe that all feedback has to be accepted as truth, but we do believe that all feedback must be received with gratitude and considered as objectively as possible.
We do not accept CVs, primarily because CVs often include information that can create bias in the hiring process. When you apply, we’re not interested in your full name, seeing your picture, or knowing your gender. We have specific information we’d like to procure from you in order to consider you for an interview, and we do not want additional information.
Most people that work at Centrico Digital have never worked in marketing. We believe that talent > knowledge, and anything you need to learn to do the job well, we can teach you. Focus on showing your talent through great stories.
Most of our clients are based in the United States and Canada, and we communicate with them in English. If your written English is poor, you’re unlikely to proceed to an interview. We hope to someday be able to extend opportunities to people who haven’t yet come to dominate English. For the time being, however, strong English is a requirement. Remember when applying to re-read your answers carefully. In addition, strong writing in English is exemplified by short sentences which usually express one idea clearly. Don’t try to impress us with big words; instead, express your ideas clearly, and demonstrate proper grammar.
Some people race through the application process, but successful candidates often take their time and respond thoughtfully.
Having read this entire article, you now have a strong sense of who we are, how we operate as well as how to increase the chances of creating a successful application. If at any point in the process you don’t hear from us, feel free to write to us at hiring (at) centricodigital.com. Thank you for your interest in Céntrico Digital, and best of luck with your application.