The Talent Economy Podcast


GitLab: Leading in an Open-source World

Season 2, Ep. 35

Functioning as an all-remote company requires a unique set of skills, including flexibility, understanding, and streamlined communication. As Chief People Officer of the innovative DevOps platform GitLab, Wendy Barnes knows how to identify and promote these skills. In this episode of The Talent Economy, Barnes shares insight on remote work, recruitment, retention, and employee well-being.


Barnes brings more than 20 years of HR experience to GitLab. Prior to joining the tech company, she served as CHRO at Palo Alto Networks, helping scale processes as their employees grew in number from 750 to 5,000. With her keen problem-solving skills and experience with diverse, global companies, she cultivates a positive and inclusive work environment.


Some Questions Asked:

  • What does it mean for GitLab to be open source? 6:25
  • How has being an all-remote company factored into GitLab’s ability to attract and retain talent, especially over the last two years? 11:24
  • How did GitLab choose their company values and communicate them to current and future employees? 17:40


In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • About the Family and Friends program that improved productivity and morale. 
  • How GitLab supports the health and wellness of employees.
  • Why GitLab uses informal communication to build culture.



More Episodes


Chegg: Taking On Employees’ Education Debt

Season 2, Ep. 38
Chegg is a connected platform enabling students to learn more in less time—and at reduced costs. The company offers discounted textbooks, online tutoring, and other student services, while providing diverse employee upskilling and development opportunities. Debra Thompson is Chegg’s Chief People Officer, infusing the brand’s culture of innovation, transparency, wellness, and work/life balance throughout the company. Previously, she served as Director of Compensation, Benefits, and HR Operations at Amyris and held directorial and managerial roles at RMS, CNET Networks, and Lucent Technologies. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and personnel administration/industrial relations from California State University, East Bay.Some Questions Asked:What is Chegg’s approach to the upskilling, learning, and development of internal teams? 5:17What is the culture like at Chegg, and how do you maintain it? 11:53Can you tell us about Chegg’s partnership with the Tides Foundation? 21:54 In This Episode, You Will Learn:How Chegg offers learning opportunities for all employees, such as its Level Up initiative that includes seven different flagship management trainings, like giving and receiving feedback and behavioral interviewing, as well as its EDU for You program that gives staff money to pursue education in their personal fields of interest.That the culture at Chegg is built on openness, assumptions of positive intent from everyone, and optimal work/life balance—and that the company holds an annual culture, belonging, and diversity summit.How the brand’s philanthropic arm,, partners with groups to combat hunger, promote good health and well-being, deliver access to quality education and decent work opportunities, and reduce inequalities throughout the world. Links:Debra Thompson - LinkedInMichelle Labbe - LinkedInToptal - LinkedInThe Talent Economy podcast