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People Geekly #22

Issue No. 22, brought to you by Culture Amp
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This is the twenty-second issue of Culture Amp's weekly email updating you on all the best #peoplegeek news around. Have some feedback? Tweet us

"Kelly Gay: Company culture trumps strategy every time. That's how out-zappos others. "

Sheela Sethuraman (@sheelasethu)

How does a startup compete when they enter the mattress industry dominated by titans? By hiring the right people. Tuft and Needle ensure that all their hires believe in the company value of being a maker, regardless of whether that’s photography or model planes. Operating in an industry well known for pushy sales people, they also prioritized customer service with empathy and judgement. All new hires start their job in customer service ensuring that, regardless of their job title, everyone realizes the importance of providing whole organization customer support.

Coaching managers (5 min 10 sec)

To coach or not to coach? That is the question. Assuming that all managers are busy, what are the reasons that some prioritize coaching over others? Harvard Business Review identified four reasons why some managers give coaching an important place in their schedule. What it comes down to though is seeing coaching as an essential tool for achieving business goals. Investing in talent and retaining your staff should be important for all #peoplegeeks right?

Cultural fit (5 min 10 sec) PICK OF THE WEEK 

"Cultural fit” is a phrase we hear often here at Culture Amp HQ, with many companies proclaiming that it’s their number one priority for hiring. Lauren Rivera, writes in The New York Times, that the concept gained popularity in the 80s but “in many organisations, fit has gone rogue.” There is a risk when you’re hiring people who have to pass that test of ‘someone I’d hang out with outside of work' you keep demographic and cultural diversity low. The fact is, as Rivera points out, “for jobs involving complex decisions and creativity, more diverse teams outperform less diverse ones."

When Tint found itself going from five to 20 employees in a short period, they realized that many new hires in the company were not as engaged and aware of the company values as they wanted. While some of this came down to on-boarding, Tint took this as an opportunity to review their company values and rewrite them - as a team. Using an initial anonymous survey they asked for feedback on familiarity and understanding of their current values. They identified some common issues raised and used that as a basis to break into groups for discussions and deep dive on culture violations and amend values if needed. All the groups' input was collated and sent out as a Google doc for feedback, and then polished. They then took final changes to a group vote for each value. While some of the things that worked for Tint might not scale for a larger company, there’s certainly a working model in here for creating and reviewing company values as a team.

There is no prescribed ratio of interns to full-time employees according to Planet Labs. And they have a good reason as to why: "If you have meaningful work to do and the time and ability to mentor junior staff, don’t limit yourself.” And they have some impressive internal stats on just how far they’ve taken that approach, at times having interns make up 200% of the employee count. "If I have one key message, it would be this: immerse interns in the core of what you're doing.” Another tip we loved and couldn’t go past: Don’t expect free labour. And finally, an obvious benefit to recruiting is that an internship is the best technical interview you can do.


In San Francisco on June 26Culture Summit is a one day conference that brings together successful entrepreneurs, leaders, and culture experts to share their experiences and insights on building strong cultures that lead to successful companies. Speakers come from companies such as LinkedIn, Infusionsoft, Culture Amp, Medium, and Nitro who are known for their extraordinary cultures and productive teams.  

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