Expensify’s Secret Sauce for Employee Retention

Lindsey Peckham —  August 1, 2023 — Leave a comment

While Expensify is known for its spend management superapp, some may be surprised to learn that the people behind Expensify operate with a relatively modest team of around ~135 individuals hailing from all corners of the globe. Even more surprising is that over 66% of staff have been with the company over 4 years, while 50% have worked at Expensify for over 6 years!

After hearing those stats, many people ask us, “what’s the secret to employee retention at Expensify, and why are people sticking around so long?” 

We’ve broken down the core elements of Expensify’s employee retention into four parts below, which we believe contribute to our employee’s happiness and growth — resulting in staff choosing to stick around for the long-term.


Flexibility is key for employee happiness at Expensify, and our entire culture is based around it. From the amount of hours you work per week, the vacation time you take, to where you choose to work from (maybe a cafe in Australia, a boat in the Caribbean, a flat in London, or any of our global offices) to the projects and teams you’re able to join across the company, Expensify empowers its employees to tailor their work experiences according to how they see fit.

Expensify has committed to growing with its employees, allowing them the freedom to work from wherever they’d like, regardless if it’s near an office or Expensify Lounge or not. We’ve found that even when staff’s life circumstances change, offering them the flexibility to stick with the company and supporting them in any lifestyle change helps encourage employees to invest in staying with Expensify for as long as they want. 

Asynchronous Work

Continuing with the idea of letting our employees work from anywhere, we have also shaped our internal processes and meetings around working asynchronously to help cater to our global workforce. This means we rarely have company wide-video calls, and keep all of our conversations and meetings online via chat so that everyone can get involved.  

When an employee wants to push an idea or a project forward, they will structure a meeting in Slack, separating out different discussion points in individual threads. The meeting leader will leave the threads “open” for discussion for 24 hours before recapping the conclusion of the conversation and moving the project forward. This allows all employees no matter where they’re based to be able to leave their two cents and collaborate on any project happening at any time. We found that this fosters timezone inclusivity and transparency for all employees, resulting in feeling empowered that they have a stake in any major project.

Flat Internal Structure

Another element of Expensify’s recipe for employee retention is our flat structure. We’re all about autonomy and collaboration, and as such we give everyone equal access to the information and resources of the company. 

As a flat organization, we follow two basic rules: Get shit done and Don’t ruin it for everyone else. Everyone is trusted to get their work done, with the knowledge that these two rules contain both freedom and responsibility. 

While we have teams that are more traditional functions (marketings, sales, and engineering for example), every employee’s main duty is to balance their team responsibilities and projects in a way that adds value to the larger Expensify team. Expensify team members also don’t report to a boss, but to their peers working alongside them, giving everyone a sense of community and working towards a common goal together. 

Tailor-Made Perks

Last but not least, as far as our benefits and perks go, Expensify is always aiming to give the people what they want! The company often takes suggestions on new perks or changes to existing ones to ensure the things we’re offering are something truly exciting or helpful for our employees. We pride ourselves on industry-leading benefits including health care, dental, two months sabbatical, an employee stock program, family planning benefits, and more.

While typical benefits like the aforementioned always help with employee retention, we took it a step further and have made it a huge priority to offer a few really special perks that help build employee relationships amongst the team and provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences. As a globally-based organization, we recognize that spending quality time together as a team helps ignite excitement around our company-wide initiatives and projects, so we’ve crafted a few perks around this idea, including:

  • Offshore – We bring the whole company (and significant others and children) to a new country once a year for a three-week trip to experience a new culture while working together outside of our comfort zones. During offshores, we’ll typically all gather in local cafes and restaurants to work on our normal tasks and projects, but with the added bonus of having your teammates right next to you. Locations have included places like Portugal, Vietnam, Uruguay, Italy, and Thailand, to name a few, and we always make sure to add in a few surprises during the trip so it’s not all work and no play. 
  • Onshore – Onshore is a smaller version of Offshore, where the entire company gathers for a week in a new location each year. Previous locations have included places like Asheville, Santa Fe, and Iceland. 
  • Minishores – Outside of our company-wide Offshore and Onshore trips, we also encourage employees to visit our different office hubs in San Francisco, Portland, Ironwood, London, and New York, whenever they’d like. The catch is that while we’ll cover the cost of accommodation and flights for a week, the visiting employees must plan a social event for the whole team, and work from the office for the week to immerse themselves in a different location alongside teammates that they don’t normally get to see every day.
  • Social budget – In addition to traveling to hang out with and work alongside colleagues, we also promote gatherings with your local team as well. We provide employees with a “social budget” to have dinners together or to do fun activities like ice skating, pottery classes, wine tasting, and more. All our employees have to do is propose the idea, and if they get folks to join along, we’ll cover the rest!

Our Recipe for Success

While our “secret sauce” has multiple ingredients for employee retention, we pride ourselves on being an employee-first company which is truly the heart of why employees stick around as long as they do. We strive to make sure our staff can grow and achieve their personal and work-related goals while employed here, and we do our best to support them in whatever stage of life they’re in. 

If Expensify sounds like a place you’d like to work, don’t be shy! Check out our job openings here

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