Why Slickdeals Thinks 20 Employees Is Just Enough

Even though deal-sharing site Slickdeals has been around for more than a decade, its CEO feels no need to add staff.
April 03, 2012

Even though deal-sharing site Slickdeals has been around for more than a decade, CEO Bryant Quan says it's still pretty much in startup mode.

With more than a 100 million page views every month and only 20 full-time employees, there's a ratio of 5 million customers to one employee, which means Slickdeals had to build a team flexible enough to wear many hats and make decisions independently.

"Our employees are empowered," says Quan. "If they see something they want to work on and they’re interested, they can do it, and they have the power to fix things that they see wrong with the site."

The collaborative approach encourages innovation and new ideas among the staff. At Slickdeals, the employees consider themselves a part of one big team, and there are few boundaries on what a person can work on, says Quan. "If developers are working on something, someone else can feel free to come over and take part in the discussion or make suggestions."

To motivate his staff, Quan personally has a budget set aside for rewarding employees he thinks are working hard. Workers currently receive a bonus for finishing projects early, and the company plans to implement a system that reward them for doing independent projects on the site.

Only 13 of the 20 employees actually work in Slickdeals' Las Vegas office, so it's easy to remain cohesive. Every Friday night, the staff participates in bonding activities like going to dinner or the movies. Just last month, they went snowboarding in Utah.

Slickdeals is also among the growing legion of companies that have adopted flexible work hours.

"The kind of work that we do with Slickdeals isn't super time-sensitive," says Quan. "The Internet is a 24/7 operation. The traditional 9 to 5 doesn't apply any more."

But in order to pull it all off, Slickdeals starts from the foundation to make sure all their employees have the right attitude.

Their three-stage hiring process includes a preliminary phone interview, then an in-person interview that focuses on skill assessment and analyzes behavior, and finally the company takes the candidates to dinner to get to know them further.

"We get to know them and find out what they know about the company. You'd be surprised how many people apply for the job and have never even gone to the site," says Quan. That's probably why many of their hires actually come from the site's community.

When it comes to hiring, trust is one of the most important factors for Quan.

"I have this rule: if you lie, you die," says Quan. "If you say something about your background or work, and it comes out differently, that says a lot about a person."

Photo credit: Bryant Quan