Hiring, fostering, and empowering great talent – this is a key Silicon Labs core value. We put this value into practice by hiring the most innovative talent around the world. Our teams invent solutions that solve the world’s toughest problems, and for five years in a row, we have been honored as the Global Semiconductor Alliance’s Most Respected Public Semiconductor Company. Investing in our teams through training and engagement opportunities is vital to our continued success, and our leadership team is an active part of the process. This is one of the many reasons why I came to work – and still enjoy working – for Silicon Labs.
As part of Silicon Labs’ commitment to cross-functional collaboration and communication, our CEO, Tyson Tuttle, regularly invites employees to have lunch with him to chat about what’s on their minds. Tyson meets with ten employees every month for an informal, engaging, fun, and friendly Q&A session. Employees are encouraged to bring questions, and Tyson will provide answers.
Shortly after I began working at Silicon Labs in late 2017, I received an invite to sign-up for a Lunch with Tyson event. I admit I did not sign up at that time because I was a little apprehensive about talking to the company’s CEO, let alone ask him questions. For some employees, it can be intimidating to talk to executives, especially to those who come from different perspectives, backgrounds, and cultures. For example, where I came from, a conversation between executives and regular employees almost doesn’t happen because of the “perceived wall between leaders and subordinates.” That wall melted away after witnessing just how personable and accommodating Tyson is. I would always see him at company events talking to employees like old friends. My colleagues shared their admiration and respect for his technical knowledge, enthusiasm for innovation, and management acumen.
Lunch with Tyson is such a popular event that the sign-up sheet is always full. When I finally got a second chance to join, I jumped on it. My first Lunch with Tyson was on the 14th of March, 2019. That event confirmed what I’ve been suspecting and anticipating all this time – that we have the coolest CEO ever! I came prepared with questions, but so did Tyson; he was very well-informed of each employee’s activities at the company and knew how to manage a conversation with a large group. For instance, he congratulated me on having my abstract selected for presentation at that year’s Technical Symposium and asked me to share a quick summary. I felt valued, and in that instance, I wanted to do more, to perform so much better at my job, and to grow and improve my knowledge and skills so I would provide even more value to the company. Recognition of your performance is so powerful; it brings you a sense of gratification, and it encourages you to perform at an even higher level.
Last month I was thrilled to attend another Lunch with Tyson. The lunch was virtual since we are working from home during the pandemic, but the value of this event was not diminished at all. I joined ten other employees to discuss various topics with Tyson – from the company’s status and response to COVID-19 down to the company’s stand on current social events.
When asked why he enjoys having these lunches with employees, Tyson has this to say:
“When you’re in my position, it’s hard to stay in touch with employees across the organization as often as you’d like. These lunches are an excellent way to connect with employees and also to get feedback on how things are going. Being open and transparent about what’s going on is really important. Especially since this pandemic started, we’ve been more proactive about communicating in our Monday Town hall meetings and newsletters in addition to the company meetings and updates. I think that’s one of the things we’re learning, how to better connect and engage with our global workforce more effectively.”
It is important to note that our CEO emphasizes the value of staying connected, exchanging feedback, and gaining a better understanding of strategies and decisions – while being open at the same time. Such transparency builds trust, deepens relationships, amplifies productivity, and strengthens innovation.
Employees like me feel just as strongly as Tyson does about how valuable the lunch sessions are, and they shared:
“I appreciate 'Lunch with Tyson' because it is a time where we are kind of at the same level, and we can have an exchange about any topic. As Tyson said, sometimes, a CEO can lose the view of the employees and vice versa. It is also a nice way of knowing other peers. Even if a face-to-face meeting is better, the virtual meeting is important, especially in this time of social distancing.”
- Arnaud Moutard, Senior Staff Applications Engineer – Broadcast
“This was my third 'Lunch with Tyson.' Each time, I appreciate hearing the company’s efforts, successes, and challenges from Tyson’s point of view and leave with a new sense of how my efforts contribute.”
- Terry Dickey, Distinguished Engineer – Wireless
“I wanted to ask Tyson what he gets from the lunches as well. Although I was hoping for an exciting response like, “Where do you think the name of the Blue Gecko platform came from?” or something! But knowing that connecting with people from all job levels and departments remains vital to a guy with a whole lot on his mind is pretty great, too. What I got out of the lunch with Tyson was some insight into how a CEO sees our business at that higher level - in terms of the world. For him, it’s not only about the work and processes driving our silicon deliveries like it is for much of the engineers at the company and me. It’s about staying aware of and planning for change, with the effects of government and global policies that directly impact employees (immigration, pandemic responses), having a vision for when and how we’ll grow as a company, actively connecting with semiconductor partners making decisions about where to build and invest, and continuing to connect with employees outside of the C-suite.”
- Stephanie Draeger, Manager [Corporate Product Test Engineer] – Operations
Silicon Labs and its leadership always find ways to interact with the workforce even during a pandemic and an unprecedented, fully remote working environment. It’s no wonder great talents, essentially people who can work wherever they’d like, choose to join our team.
Our company values are lived at the executive level and waterfall to every employee across all levels and locations. My colleagues and I greatly appreciate the time, attention, and effort that our leadership puts forth to create an environment of trust and encourage open, two-way, and transparent communication.