Podcast: How Adyen Built a Culture for Scale

Seth Colaner
Seth Colaner
April 6, 2023
April 4, 2023
5
min read
Podcast: How Adyen Built a Culture for Scale

In this episode of the Modern Business Operations podcast, Jaclyn Berger, VP, Operations - Global Support at Adyen sits down with host Sagi Eliyahu to discuss how having a coherent culture is a key ingredient in helping new employees jump in beside seasoned veterans.

During these trying times in the tech industry, what’s the key ingredient to continued growth? And not just growth—but scale? For Adyen’s Jaclyn Berger, it’s all about company culture. 

Jaclyn is the VP of Operations - Global Support for Adyen. Adyen’s financial technology platform helps businesses achieve their ambitions faster with end-to-end payments, data, and financial management in a single solution. Jaclyn has been with Adyen for the past six years and currently leads the company’s operations team (and in particular the support team). Before her time with Adyen, she worked in retail technology. That’s where she first encountered Adyen—by implementing it for her prior company and finding something special about the product, the way the team worked, and the people there.  

What Jaclyn was drawn to was the company culture. Not coincidentally, she believes that culture has been key to Adyen’s post-pandemic success and continued growth.  

She told Sagi Eliyahu, Tonkean cofounder and CEO, and host for this episode of Modern Business Operations, that Adyen always builds for the long term. Although that’s resulted in slower growth at times compared to other companies, it’s put them in a strong position right now to scale rapidly. And that purposeful, cultivated company culture is at the center of that success.

How to scale culture for long-term success

Jaclyn says that Adyen’s strong company culture is centered on a set of principles that describes how they want to operate–a practical set of ideas about how they work as a company:

  • Talk straight without being rude
  • Include others to sharpen ideas
  • Launch fast and iterate 

Sagi pointed out that it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that writing out company culture principles is fluff—that sometimes founders do it just to tick a box, and stakeholders don’t internalize those principles or even think about them. But he’s found that Tonkean uses those company values all the time–and in fact, it’s a cornerstone of how Tonkean runs.

Jaclyn agrees: “From a really operational perspective, what does culture do for us? It gives us this sort of predefined way of working.” She says it’s like an agreement of how Adyen employees want to engage, and it allows new employees to quickly jump in and work alongside company veterans. And it helps with decision-making. For example, a value is being customer focused, and if everyone keeps that in mind, decisions are easier to come to in a meeting.

Focus for the future

In terms of success in the immediate future, Jaclyn says that the key for Adyen is focus. Focus on investing in and growing their team globally. Focus on building trusted relationships with customers and providing the best possible service they can. Focus on what’s going to allow them to do that. 

And getting away from the generalist mentality that often pervades growth phases, where everyone wears many hats out of necessity. You can’t run off of your gut and anecdotal inputs in this phase, Jaclyn says; you need to also rely on metrics and mature into a data-driven approach. Those two things together—stories and data—give you the whole picture.  

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