Crowdsourcing the Je Ne Sais Quoi of Contentsquare

After recognizing the need to update its values, the hypergrowth experience analytics firm stayed true to its apartment-office roots — it empowered its people.

Written by Olivia McClure
Published on Apr. 03, 2023
Crowdsourcing the Je Ne Sais Quoi of Contentsquare
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Lucie Buisson remembers Contentsquare’s first “office” ten years ago. The chief product officer described the space — an attic of a small Parisian apartment — fondly, and noted how crowded it was with people kickstarting their careers, wearing caps and sneakers because of the “come as you are” spirit at the roots of the company. 

Nico Fritz was also one of the first people to witness this bubbling environment. As one of the company’s first customers, Fritz was using the platform to grow his online jewelry business when he formed a close partnership with CEO and Founder Jonathan Cherki. He eventually joined the company’s small team of ambitious, eager professionals as chief operations and people officer. 

If you think this sounds like the prelude to an epic success story, you’d be right. Over the years, the company outgrew its Paris attic space, amassing a workforce of about 1,600 employees representing more than 70 nationalities.  

It has also evolved from being a scrappy startup to a certified scale-up, buoyed by several massive funding rounds. The latest one, a series F, garnered $600 million, bringing the organization’s total funding raised to $1.4 billion. All of this capital has made it possible for the company to open 18 offices in major cities across the globe and acquire six organizations, including Upstride and Hotjar in 2021.  

This ongoing growth has ushered in significant changes for Contentsquare’s employees, which catalyzed the company’s decision to reexamine the values upon which it was established. 

“We wanted to ensure that our values continued to reflect the reality of who we were becoming,” said Head of Talent Acquisition Marisa Bryan. 

Like countless organizations, Contentsquare was subjected to the pandemic’s social implications, which created an environment in which employees hardly saw their colleagues in real life, if at all. Buisson said this lack of in-person connection placed the company’s values at the forefront. She and her fellow leaders aimed to ensure team members not only knew these values but understood how to embrace them. 

 

“We wanted to ensure that our values continued to reflect the reality of who we were becoming.”

 

Buisson added that the company’s acquisitions also urged the company to take a closer look at its principles. Combining companies is never easy, as it brings together different cultures that may not always align. In her mind, it’s not enough to simply say to new team members, “That’s just how we do things here.” 

“Now you have to explain why something is important and why you do it that way,” Buisson said. “And sometimes you’ll realize, ‘Maybe this isn’t that important,’ or ‘This isn’t how we want to act anymore.’”

There’s no question that the workplace has changed tremendously over the past few years. Contentsquare has embraced a hybrid approach, as younger generations of job seekers and shifting priorities for seasoned professionals emphasize the need for robust wellness benefits and a focus on work-life balance. In light of these elements, the company’s leaders knew they had to do something different in order to support their existing employees and attract new ones in the future. 

“It would have been anachronistic to not evolve our culture and values as the company continues to grow itself,” Bryan said. 

 

CONTENTSQUARE'S NEW COMPANY VALUES

  1. Go beyond: Aim sky high and build great things.
  2. Love the journey: Celebrate every milestone, make memories.
  3. Try, learn, grow: Be curious, don’t be afraid to fail!
  4. Be yourself: Welcome differences and embrace uniqueness.
  5. In it together: Act as a team and lift each other up.

 

Contentsquare team members having fun in office together
Contentsquare

 

The Beating Heart of Business

Contentsquare knows the working landscape has shifted for tech professionals. With ongoing mass layoffs and threats of economic decline, people feel uncertain about the future of the industry and that of organizations that exist within this space. 

With this uneasiness comes a greater focus on what it means to empower individuals. Employers are expected to create an environment that prioritizes the people who push their businesses forward. 

 

CONTENTSQUARE'S PURPOSE

Buisson said that the company’s purpose is to find a solution to the problems presented by a world that straddles both in-person and virtual brand-consumer interactions. Leveraging AI-powered technology, Contentsquare determines how to connect the dots in order to help businesses create online customer experiences that are as rich as those taking place in the real world. This work requires a team of people who can leverage their diverse perspectives and backgrounds in order to pursue a unified solution.  

 

While this people-first approach is conveyed in the company’s renewed values, it also goes hand in hand with the organization’s rebranding efforts. Over the past year, the organization adopted a new value proposition that focuses more on the human aspect of digital analytics.

“We want our clients to realize that it’s real people who are using their websites, not robots,” Buisson said. “Behind every click is a human being trying to achieve something.” 

 

“Behind every click is a human being trying to achieve something.” 

 

This empathetic view might be geared toward customers, but the company itself is taking this attitude to heart — especially given its continued international expansion. Not only did the opening of Contentsquare’s first satellite office in London signal the organization’s entrance into the global market, but it also made team members realize the cultural nuances that come with communication and social etiquette. 

For instance, Buisson said, being five minutes late to a French meeting isn’t an issue. Do the same in a meeting with Americans, and you could be seen as disrespectful. 

In Buisson’s mind, this need to create universal understanding enriches workplace conversations, forcing individuals to get to the root of what they actually mean. The team made sure to infuse this inclusive knowledge into its values in an effort to acknowledge the feelings of every employee across the company.

 

 

Contentsquare gathered in office for presentation wearing branded t-shirts
Contentsquare

 

A Future Refined by Risk-Takers 

Given its focus on equal opportunity and acknowledgement, Contentsquare relies on a flat structure that empowers employees and offers space to enact new values that reinforce the organization’s core beliefs.  

According to Buisson, this means that every team member has a right to hold their own opinions, which is why everyone is encouraged to respectfully disagree with others, regardless of their job title. As a leader, she appreciates this level of honest discourse. 

To maintain that honesty, the company must foster a sense of trust. That’s why the leadership team believes employees should know each other not just as faces on a screen, but as real human beings. 

“We think the best way to create this level of trust is for them to know each other, to laugh together and share moments outside of work,” she said. “People are in a much better place to agree to disagree and listen to each other when there is trust.”

Camaraderie is critical to a strong culture, yet it’s only made possible when people feel comfortable being themselves. According to Fritz, this sense of individuality is represented from the very top of the organization. 

 

“People are in a much better place to agree to disagree and listen to each other when there is trust.”

 

He believes the CEO’s honest attitude is one of the biggest reasons why people love working at the company. “Jonathan is so authentic and transparent,” Fritz said. “He’s not going to play a role, because he doesn’t want to set that expectation that that’s what we all have to do in order to be successful. That’s something that makes this place very unique.”

 

A BOTTOM-UP APPROACH

While the decision to reexamine Contentsquare’s values required input from an executive level, the leadership team wanted to ensure all areas of the business had the chance to join the conversation. “We wanted a bottom-up approach rather than a top-down one,” Fritz said. That’s why a steering committee was established to spearhead the process. 

Team members from every department were invited to join listening sessions, which were accessible for employees in every time zone. Fritz, who led several of these sessions, was struck by the number of people who expressed gratitude to be involved in the process. “The fact that it was viewed as a living, dynamic thing that they had input in was incredibly well received,” Fritz said.  

 

In Fritz’s mind, Contentsquare has been special from the start. In light of this, the company’s efforts to refine its values isn’t a reflection of a previous lack of support; rather, it honors a continuous commitment to challenging the status quo. 

After all, Contentsquare was founded on a desire to reinvent an industry. From its humble origin story to its decision to acquire its two top customer experience players, the company’s success has hinged on audacious dreams.

Fritz never wants this boldness to fade. “We often say to our people, ‘As we grow, let’s not become conservative,’” he said. “‘Let’s keep being ambitious and taking risks, even if we fail sometimes.’” 

The team knows that the future may carry its own challenges, and they’ll have to evolve in response. But with a strong set of values in place, the company will maintain the visionary framework it was built upon. 

“We have only one opportunity in our life to create something big, so let’s treasure it,” Fritz said. 

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images courtesy of Contentsquare.

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