There’s a reason why HubSpot has been named one of Fortune 100’s Best Places to Work in 2019: they have a fun and engaging company culture that focuses on more than just workplace benefits (although they have those in spades).
Rather than investing in free office beer for employees and ping-pong tables, they have instead created a shared set of values, behaviors, and unified vision for the company. Those three elements of what they refer to as their Culture Code have allowed them to create an environment that not only boosts employee morale but also substantially improves the quality of work.
After all—the two often go hand-in-hand.
Here’s how they have created one of the best company cultures in the country, and some advice on how you can implement these same practices in your company.
1. Practice Full (Internal) Transparency
HubSpot operates under what they would refer to as a team-first corporate culture, meaning they focus on team bonding, cross-department collaboration, employee relationships, and accountability.
As such, they have a “No Door” policy in their office and are partial to full transparency over secrecy. Here’s how this manifests in their culture:
Corner offices aren’t a thing at HubSpot. In fact, they don’t even have individual offices. This fosters a spirit of collaboration within the company, and takes focus away from hierarchy and status.
Similarly, all employees have full access to HubSpot’s P&L statements, cash balances, slide decks for board meetings, and long-term strategy information.
Most companies try to conceal these materials, but HubSpot makes this information available to everyone for good reason: transparency creates opportunity. If your employees don't know your company’s larger vision, they won’t be able to improve upon it.
You’re like the stubborn dad driving the family on a road trip, refusing to admit that he's lost. If you just let other people look at the map and help you see things from another perspective, you’d all get to the final destination faster, happier, and safer.
Prioritize transparency over secrecy in your company to create a greater sense of ownership and accountability.
2. Clearly Define (and Act On) Your Core Values
Most companies make two common mistakes regarding their core beliefs––they either:
- Don’t define them.
- Define them in vague terms that nobody can act on.
How many companies have you seen that have a long-forgotten corner of their website’s About Us page that says, among other corporate-speak,“We Value Our Customers.”
You wonder what this means. Does that mean they bend over backwards for their customers, even when they know it’s not the right thing to do? Or does it mean that they send their customers a care package every year on their birthday?
It’s not clear. Look at HubSpot’s values in contrast, which create a self-proclaimed “cheesy” (their word, not ours) acronym: HEART.
Those five values inform every decision they make, both internally and with their clients. Look at their fifth value, Transparent. We see that it leads directly to certain actions, like the ones we discussed above: No Door policy, open P&L reports, etc.
They have a clearly defined value that leads to clear action.
For your company, define your values in a way that allows everyone in your organization to use them to inform their decisions. You don't need an acronym—just take what is already in your head or implied in your actions and put them into values.
3. Stop Stunting People’s Growth
Here’s an easy way to create an outdated company culture that great people can’t wait to leave: Hire good people, but don’t make an effort to make them better because they might realize their value and jump ship somewhere else.
That scarcity mindset will repel amazing people faster than BO on a first date.
HubSpot doesn’t operate from that mentality. They realize that now, more than ever, people seek to find a company that fits their personal work-life values. People want to learn so much in a position that they move up (and potentially out) in a few years, rather than staying in the same role for 45 years. Employees also want sufficient personal development opportunities to boot.
As such, HubSpot offers its employees some fantastic learning and development opportunities:
- HubTalks—Big speakers, such as Patty McCord and Clay Christensen, regularly inspire HubSpot employees in this internal TEDTalk format speaking series.
- Master Classes—These free master classes allow employees to learn everything from Photoshop to presentation skills in a classroom setting.
- Free Books Program—This program allows employees to request access to any business book at any time, no approval needed.
- Tuition Reimbursement—One of HubSpot’s favorite mantras is “Always Be Learning.” As such, they provide $5,000 every year to employees who want to take classes (beyond Master Classes) on everything from Java to Japanese.
- Healthy @ HubSpot—This is one of their most popular programs in the office, with fitness classes, wellbeing workshops, and fresh juice Mondays serving as cornerstones of this program.
For your company, focus on hiring people who want to be better and create an environment that allows them to make good on that desire. If you offer valuable personal development programs like HubSpot has, you’ll create a cycle of engagement: people who want to be better will join (and stay with) your company, and they will attract more people like them.
Talented people have more options than ever when it comes to employment––including working for themselves. One big factor in their decision-making process is your company’s flexibility.
The more rigid you are, the less likely you are to attract high-quality employees. HubSpot consistently attracts talented people because of their focus on flexibility and autonomy. Here are a few of their initiatives that you may want to implement in your company:
- 5-Year Sabbatical—After working with HubSpot for 5 years, each employee gets access to a month-long sabbatical to do whatever they want, including travel or learning a new language.
- Unlimited Vacation—This one is huge. HubSpot doesn’t care about the number of hours people put in; they care if they got results. Driving results as an employee means you make a positive impact, such as delighting clients. As long as an employee makes a positive impact, they can work whatever hours they want and take as much time off as they want.
- The “Use Good Judgment” Policy—Rather than having copious policies and procedures written out in corporate-speak that nobody will ever read, HubSpot has one simple three-word policy: Use Good Judgment. They’re not interested in micromanaging their employees’ social media accounts, sick day usage, or the round of drinks they bought at an event. They focus on prioritizing their customers and the HubSpot team and make their decisions from there.
For HubSpot and your company, these flexible benefits not only improve your employees’ happiness and wellness, but they also amplify their results. As you already know, the two go hand-in-hand.
5. Always a Work in Progress
No culture is perfect. And even if it could be, it would not be perfect forever. Internal and external forces will make sure of that.
You must be adaptable to whatever the future holds. That’s why HubSpot is adamant that their culture is not set in stone: they want to leave themselves the opportunity to improve their culture in much the same way they want their individual employees to improve.
HubSpot doesn’t focus on hiring people who only fit the HubSpot culture, but instead people who both fit and further it. So they created their now-famous Culture Code slide deck to share their values internally. Eventually, in the spirit of transparency, they shared the slide deck with the world, even though they’ve had to update it more than 25 times since.
Because the slide deck, much like their culture, will never be completely finished––it’s always a work in progress.
If you want to build a Fortune 100 quality company culture of your own, you can’t rest on your laurels. Creating a world-class culture is a never-ending problem to solve, but remember...
Although your core values will likely always remain the same, the way they manifest them can (and should) change over time. Otherwise, before you know it, you’ll become one of the new generations of dinosaur companies that drive the best people away and attract B players.
“Amazing people don’t like average goals.”
So What's Your HEART?
You can copy all of the Whats you want in this article––the wellness programs, the education assistance, the unlimited vacation––and still fall well short of HubSpot in terms of company culture.
That’s because the Hows and Whys of your company are what make your culture unique, fun, and effective.
HubSpot operates from their core values—the HEART of their organization. In order to create a fun, engaging company culture of your own, you’ll have to find your own heart, even if it means you don’t create any fancy acronyms in the process.
At ROI Online, we’ve helped businesses of all shapes and sizes clarify their message, which serves as a foundation for a world-class company culture.
Schedule a free strategy session, and let’s get to work!