Five Years at Apto

Ben Hwa, Director of Talent and Development at Apto, reflects on his last five years at Apto and shares why he loves working here.

Ben weightlifting championship

One of the questions I get asked often from candidates is why I’m still working at Apto. Five years might not be a long time for many, but it’s a whole startup lifetime and then some. The average tenure at a tech company is about two years! Those who have worked at an early-stage company will understand what I’m saying. 

My answer is pretty simple - Working at Apto fits the lifestyle that I want to live. 

I work here because I enjoy the people that I work with, appreciate the impact that I’m making, and most importantly, working at Apto gives me the space to pursue my aspirations outside of work.

Don’t get me wrong – I consider myself a hustler in and outside of work. What I mean is that I don’t have to sacrifice my hobbies and personal interests for the sake of work. 

When I’m not in the “office,” you can find me at my gym coaching weightlifting for kids on a daily basis. This has been a passion of mine since college. It’s one of the most important things in my life aside from family and friends. I love that Apto gives me the space to support kids in my community the best way that I know how. In fact, they don’t just give me the space, they blatantly advocate for it. When I created a list of must-have things in my next job before I joined Apto, this concept was at the very top of the list. There are times when I’ll have to travel nationally or internationally to compete and I always get support from my team and manager to help my kids pursue their dreams, guilt-free. You heard that right, guilt-free! 

This is not something unique to me though. Everyone has their own version of my weightlifting kids. Many Aptopians have children and they’re given the autonomy to “parent loudly.”

This means Apto parents do not have to hide the fact that they are parents from colleagues, managers, or leadership.

In fact, we openly encourage our team to block time on their calendars if they need to pick up or drop off kids at school. Better yet, they don’t have to apologize for needing to take care of these responsibilities. Our culture allows everyone the freedom to take care of the things that matter most to them without feeling like they’re letting anyone down. 

You’re allowed to share as little or as much as you’d like on your calendar. It’s fine if you prefer to just be “busy” when you have personal errands to run. Our CEO is a lot more transparent about her whereabouts so others are 100% aware of when she’s available and not available. For example, she’ll share transparently when she has an acupuncture appointment during the week. This transparency is helpful to plan around, but it’s also setting the right example for everyone else to feel comfortable about sharing when they will and will not be free. It’s a very small detail, but it’s something I’ve come to really appreciate and respect in the workplace. 

Another thing that makes me stick around is our unlimited PTO policy. I truly believe Apto wants me to take time off so that I don’t get burnt out. In fact, there’s a recommended number of days that the People Operations team suggests we take off every year. I’ve also seen managers request people take time off when there are hints of burn out.

This kindness and compassion that we share for each other is how we build a culture of trust and strong bonds. 

So, this is what I mean when I say Apto fits my lifestyle. It gives me the space I need to pursue my interests and dreams. I get to do it unapologetically and guilt-free. And, it’s something that is embraced and respected by the company from the very top. What does Apto get in return? It gets the best of me and my work. I’m bought in beyond the product and the business model. That’s why I continue to pave the way for new Aptopians everyday. 

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