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People Geekly #10

Issue No. 10, brought to you by Culture Amp
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This is the tenth issue of Culture Amp's weekly email updating you on all the best #peoplegeek news around. 

Oops, sorry, last week we messed up a link to the story on depression (something we are keen to see more conversations around). The correct link is here. 

"Great company culture is the elimination of all friction. Indirectness causes friction. Your job is to find friction and remove it."

Hiten Shah (@hnshah)

Google being Google decided it would try and create a perfect formula for working out who the best employees were to promote. However, as they discovered, even the data-heavy engineers at Google baulked at the idea of having promotions ceded to an algorithm (accurate or not). In the end Google put the "people" back in People Analytics and found having employees own their decisions was more important than fitting the "right model". Now the output of “People Ops” is to better inform decisions than predict or drive them.

Managing managers  (2 min 16 sec) OUR TOP PICK 

Squarespace has a great approach to a common problem - managing managers. They created the Squarespace Leadership Standards to help new (and existing) managers quickly get up to speed on how we manage at Squarespace. This began with writing down minimum expectations and providing an overview of recommended practices (much like in programming), but centered around leadership. The Standards include guidelines on topics like 1:1 meetings, onboarding new staff, and communication of team goals. As Squarespace explains "we didn't frame it as a directive, but rather a framework to make it easier for employees and their managers to get clarity on how to build great teams."


Rebranding presents a unique opportunity to examine a company's cultural climate in light of its goals. According to Greg Mason, CEO of Purch, " workplace culture is a powerful driver of change, and a rebranding presents an ideal opportunity to harness that energy toward renewed goals.” So, with a major rebrand, and even a minor one, it could be an ideal time to evaluate your existing culture, and then be clear what you want a “revitalized” culture to be. Then it's time to sell it to all stakeholders. Mason points out  “a good leader will bring it to life with real-world examples and encourage company leaders, both official and informal, to embrace them, hold others accountable and recognize good modeling of those values."

When it comes to company culture very few people would disagree that Eventbrite are leaders in this space, regarded by many as the key to their success. Here co-founder Julia Hartz talks about "the importance of corporate culture at Eventbrite, why unlimited vacation day policies work, how they’ve experimented with different work environments and more." We learn that Evenbrite has built its culture around transparency and real-time communication. They have Hartz to Hearts sessions where they give the company updates, and should people feel they can't ask things face-to-face, they have anonymous digital ways to ask as well. They also distribute a monthly internal survey with their own bNPS (Briteling Net Promoter Score) which helps inform business decisions. 

Breaking point (8.5 min)

At around 25 employees everything breaks. It's almost inevitable. At the same time this is the number where culture starts to set in and it’s almost too late to start asking things like: "What are the habits everyone follows? How do you celebrate wins? (Do you?) How are failures handled? What does the team do to find joy in their work? How do you communicate? Are problems resolved or swept under the rug?” There are some things you can put in place to make sure that a good culture is solidified before you get there. Some suggestions are make sure you have one-on-ones, over-communicate and recognize small wins.

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