Company culture is a combination of the shared values, goals, attitudes and practices defined by a company. More importantly, those characteristics are embodied by the individual contributors who bring their unique experiences and background to their role and team every day.
To gain a better understanding of how company cultures vary and excel, we asked 27 different individuals from companies across our seven markets a few questions about their company's culture. Here's what they had to say...
Company Culture Quotes from the Pros
- “I love that everyone goes to lunch together, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s always covered by Bento. It sounds simple, but now I can’t imagine working at a company where people don’t go out to grab food together, then sit down at the lunch table and just chat. This happens almost every day, and it really brings the team together." -Shuyi Shang
- “VillageMD is home to a wide variety of employees with different work styles. We have teams in technology, population health, finance and legal who are all working on different projects and have different needs when it comes to the best space for them to roll up their sleeves." —Stacy Warchol
- “One of the main reasons I joined Eave was because of how much focus there is on culture. I was the tenth employee hired. Most companies don’t bring on someone to lead HR for nine people. But Eave deeply believes that culture should scale in tandem with other parts of a business, not brought on as an afterthought." —Laura Veith
Bento for Business helps small businesses control employee spending with their expense management software and smart employee debit cards. We asked Shuyi Shang, Marketing Manager at Bento:
What’s your favorite element of your company’s culture?
“I love that everyone goes to lunch together, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s always covered by Bento. It sounds simple, but now I can’t imagine working at a company where people don’t go out to grab food together, then sit down at the lunch table and just chat. This happens almost every day, and it really brings the team together.
Also, the people at Bento are diverse, open-minded, kind and just generally nice human beings. I believe you can gauge how harmonious a team is by seeing how well they interact outside of work responsibilities, and Bento scores pretty high in my book.”
Blackbaud is a cloud-based software that helps philanthropic companies streamline development efforts. We asked Justin Womack, Senior Technical Account Manager at Blackbaud:
What’s your favorite part of Blackbaud’s culture?
“Its devotion to giving back to the community. Blackbaud supports us with community service days and awards us with more vacation time for volunteer hours spent outside of the office. We believe that an employee should be engaged in life, not just work.
Every spring and fall, we sponsor a company-wide service event to get out with our coworkers and build relationships. I have bonded with other departments through these service days more than I ever have through our day-to-day tasks. They allow people to come out of their shells, see beyond their desks and interact with coworkers and the community at a personal level.”
Dailymotion offers video streaming services for news and entertainment, connecting millions of people across the globe. We asked Sebastien Pierre, Vice President of People at Dailymotion:
People have a wide definition of what "company culture" entails. What is your philosophy for building a company culture?
“There’s a general misconception that HR owns culture. HR doesn’t own culture — everyone does and everyone has a stake. Sure, the HR team leads a culture club that helps facilitate initiatives around the company and brings people together, but there’s no formula or special ingredient. Every employee, from the receptionist to the CEO, is empowered to shape the culture in their own way simply by bringing themselves to work every day.”
Domio is a travel technology company that helps travelers find vacation homes and apartment-hotels on the cheap. We asked Yasmin Kothari, Vice President of Product at Domio:
When it comes to new hires, how do know you’ve found the almighty culture fit?
“I know I’ve found a culture fit for Domio when I meet someone who is curious and proactive. This can manifest in so many ways. For example, I know someone is proactive about professional development when then they demonstrate a growth mindset and are open to constantly improving without fear of failure.
I can also tell someone has this trait when they are passionate about what we’re building at Domio and have lots of interesting questions and ideas. At the end of the day, we want folks who are curious and proactive about how to improve themselves, their teams and Domio as a whole.”
Eave is a direct mortgage lender for luxury homes in Colorado. We asked Laura Veith, Head of People and Marketing at Eave:
How has the culture at Eave developed as the company has scaled?
“One of the main reasons I joined Eave was because of how much focus there is on culture. I was the tenth employee hired. Most companies don’t bring on someone to lead HR for nine people. But Eave deeply believes that culture should scale in tandem with other parts of a business, not brought on as an afterthought.
This has allowed us to build a really solid foundation that has prevented a ton of issues I’ve seen other companies hit. For example, we implemented gender pay equity guardrails early on, so this hasn’t ever been an issue at Eave. We’re scaling and growing, which means we’re changing and evolving. Our culture is too, of course. But we have a solid foundation that supports this change. So the things we see shifting in our culture are meaningful and positive and joyful.”
EZ Texting is a mobile marketing platform that supports over 50,000 customers nationwide. We asked Victoria Smith, Director of People Operations at EZ Texting:
How do you help foster a positive culture at EZ Texting?
“To foster culture at EZ Texting, we formed a core value committee: The Tiger Squad. This committee reviews employee survey data and crafts values based on the feedback.
Our employees are our cultural touchstones and, as such, they hold the organization accountable to its core values. At EZ Texting, we track our progress toward culture by measuring employee engagement, and we encourage employees to provide candid feedback.”
Kendra Scott is a fashion-lifestyle brand for jewelry, home décor and beauty products. We asked Kelly Cordova, IT Support Manager at Kendra Scott:
How do you support the welcoming and onboarding of new employees?
“Our team is always so excited when we onboard newbies. It’s like getting a new sibling – that you actually like. We do team interviews for potential new hires to make sure that the person we’re bringing in is not only a good fit technically but culturally as well. Since the whole team is very active in the selection process, it creates a lot of excitement when we finally bring someone in. We have their desk decorated for the first day, go to lunch and try to make our newest addition feel like a member of our family.”
Matillion transforms data into cloud data warehouses to enable companies to make better decisions based on their data. We asked Dayna Shoemaker, Product Marketing Manager at Matillion:
How are employees empowered to help shape the office culture?
“When I started, our culture and values weren’t written down but implicitly understood by existing staff and passed down to new hires. As we expanded globally, this model was not sustainable. In response, Matillion set up staff focus groups, hosted company-wide town hall meetings, and held employee-led presentations to define, refine and agree on our values. Our culture wasn’t just a product of an executive board member directive but instead a collaborative consensus across the organization.”
Nerdery is a digital consultancy that offers business strategy and technology services to mid- to large-size companies. We asked Gregg Walrod, Head of Engineering at Nerdery:
When you are interviewing, how do you know when you’ve found the best culture fit?
“I don’t think of it as culture 'fit' — I think of it as culture 'add.' We hire a lot of folks with different professional and cultural backgrounds. This is awesome because of the different views they bring and the amazing conversations that come from their stories.”
OppLoans is a FinTech company that helps people who don’t qualify for traditional credit. We asked Andy Pruitt, Chief Technology Officer at OppLoans:
Share an anecdote that illustrates your company culture.
“OppLoans can be a tough job with a lot of hard problems to solve, and we’ve had some stressful days. We also have over 100 TV monitors hanging all over the office. So one day, on a lark, we realized that we needed a puppy button. If you are having a bad day, you just push the button and boom: All of the TVs in your department switch to puppy videos for five minutes before switching back to business.”
Pareto Intelligence offers analytics and technology services to support financial performance at companies in the healthcare industry. We asked Juan De La Paz, Senior Software Engineer at Pareto Intelligence:
Why did you want to join Pareto?
“The culture. There’s a sense that everyone is just so motivated by the work they’re doing. There’s always this feeling that your work is helping the bigger picture and bettering the entire company.
Pareto’s culture is also defined by continuous learning and the ability to try new things. That comes into play a lot on our team, because we have a say in how solutions should be implemented. This includes what technologies we want to use and planning the solutions. It’s great because it helps our team stay current with software technologies.”
PatientPop offers marketing automation services to help healthcare providers boost new patient growth. We asked Luke Kervin, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of PatientPop:
Transparency is easy when you’re working out of a garage. Did your rapid growth pose challenges to the culture?
“One of the positives of growing quickly is that everyone gets really excited. That can lead to a really strong work culture. But when you succeed rapidly, stuff starts breaking. Processes start breaking. Sometimes your team doesn't have a scalable structure. You start to notice all of these problems, which can be really stressful for employees.
We learned early on that you need to give employees an opportunity to provide feedback to management. If you don't have that feedback loop, then you end up with really unhappy employees.”
Pax8 makes cloud buying more accessible by lowering customer acquisition costs and improving operational efficiency. We asked Brian Schooley, Recruiting Manager at Pax8:
What do you look for in candidates today? What skills are critical or must-haves?
“Education, skills and prior success are always great things, but I really like to home in on those soft skills. A candidate’s character says a lot more about the impact they are going to make on our team and can indicate their longevity at Pax8. The right personality, motivation and perspective about our vision is a requirement for our culture.”
Pricefx is a cloud-based price management and CPQ software that helps B2C and B2B companies optimize margins, pricing and deals. We asked Christian Tratz, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Pricefx:
Speaking of solutions, how does your team innovate? What's the process like for suggesting iterations or new ideas?
“Everyone can suggest enhancements, ideally based on a concrete use case. Some people in the past even went the extra mile and started a pet project themselves, which evolved ― with the direct and unbureaucratic help of engineering where necessary ― into an essential tool for many others.
A good example is the IntelliJ IDEA plugin, now known as the Price f(x) Studio. This tool allows comfortable pricing logic editing with full code completion, step-by-step debugging, Git integration and many more.”
ServiceNow is a cloud-based automation platform that helps companies streamline complex workflows and projects companywide. We asked Ryan Wells, Senior Technical Program Manager at ServiceNow:
How have you helped shape the company’s culture?
“Work should be fun and empowering, and our culture should reflect that. ServiceNow already has that, but our team has the challenge of expanding that to a new location and giving it our own local flair. Growing our local culture is a constant evolution and discussion item, but we’ve already developed some traditions.
We make it a point to have a team social the week that new folks are hired. Whether it’s going to a Cubs game, bowling, karaoke or just enjoying onsite socials, it’s important to have fun together and connect at more than just at a work level where possible.”
Shiftgig is a mobile platform that connects flexible on-demand workers with open jobs. We asked Vicki Caruso, Vice President of Human Resources at Shiftgig:
You mentioned that collaboration is important to you. What does that look like in practice?
“There’s a real willingness to communicate across different teams and functions. At some companies, people don’t want to bother one another, but that’s not the case at Shiftgig. Our engineers are constantly talking with people from across the company to understand how they can make life better for our specialists and our clients.
I’ve been reading this book called 'The Culture Code,' which discusses an experiment tasking kindergartners with building a tower using marshmallows, string and spaghetti. They build an amazing tower. When a group of leaders were asked to do that, they started arguing over who’s in charge and whose ideas are better. In the end, the tower doesn’t get built half as high as the kindergartners’ tower. I think we’d actually build a pretty good tower.”
SHYFT Analytics provides insights into clinical data for pharmaceutical and life science companies with their cloud-based data and analytics software. We asked Zack King, Founder and President of SHYFT Analytics and EVP at Medidata:
How has your culture helped your team through this transition and set your team up for success?
“Our culture sets us apart from most companies, and I believe culture can be a competitive differentiator. We have a politics-free, collaborative culture where people can do amazing, smart and challenging work in a fun environment. We put our customers and each other at the center of everything we do. Our team is what makes SHYFT such a great place to work.”
Social Solutions is a software company that helps nonprofits efficiently spend their time on the service programs that matter most. We asked Michael Weinstein, Director of National Sales at Social Solutions:
When you are interviewing candidates, how do you know when you’ve found the best culture fit?
“As part of our interview process, we have candidates do a mock presentation. That is incredibly telling of how they will do in our culture. The things we look for are preparedness, quick thinking, the ability to handle tough questions and people who are comfortable saying, 'I don’t know.' If we find someone who can illustrate those qualities through the presentation, we know that they will be a great fit for our culture.”
Solstice offers digital solutions to Fortune 500 Companies, helping companies solve mission-critical problems and evolve their strategy. We asked Gregg Wheeler, Chief Growth Officer at Solstice:
As Solstice has expanded to have a global presence, what challenges did that growth present?
“Our expansion from Chicago to New York and the East Coast, and then to the U.K. and beyond, has come with its challenges and opportunities. There are the standard challenges of working across multiple time zones and understanding cultural differences, both with our sister companies and clients. We’ve worked hard to build a culture of openness and knowledge sharing to break down any barriers and silos so that we can work closer together to solve our client’s problems.”
SpotMe boosts engagement for events, virtual and hybrid meetings and long term engagement efforts as an enterprise technology and service provider. We asked Daniel Lotyczuk, Global Program Manager at SpotMe:
How do you keep team members inspired and engaged?
“Almost everyone here is looking for a challenge. They think on their feet and take opportunities when they arise. We work to foster that in our culture. As a manager, I like to include my team in as much business activity as possible, whether it’s a brainstorming session or a sales or client meeting. Another thing that makes this company unique is that there’s always an opportunity for someone who wants it, and there’s also space for people to create their own opportunities.”
Spreetail is an e-commerce market that offers a simplified online shopping experience for customers upgrading their backyard, garage and home. We asked Brandon Elliott, Head of Engineering at Spreetail:
Why have you made cross-department and cross-office relationship building a priority?
“ One of the most powerful pieces of advice I’ve been given is 'assume positive intent.' As a team grows, and as departments and divisions form, it becomes impossible to stay connected with everyone in the company. For example, if Stewie, from division X, is 'demanding' what will surely bring the company down, and there’s no relationship, this can quickly lead to animosity and stalemates, which can stunt innovation and destroy a culture.
But with a relationship, you know Stewie, you know he’s an expert at his craft that he would never intend to cause harm. You defend Stewie on the spot, the team continues on and you catch up with Stewie that afternoon only to find out it was a wild misinterpretation of the actual ask. Build strong relationships early on and always assume positive intent to overcome obstacles as the company doubles year after year.”
Syndigo provides end-to-end consumer product information and content management across several industries. We asked Jennifer Ley, Senior Director of Enterprise Client Development at Syndigo:
With Syndigo changing a lot recently — you’ve gone through a string of acquisitions and a rebranding — how has life on the ground changed?
“Bringing companies together is always exciting, but each acquired company has its own culture and blending those can be challenging. I think the best part of these acquisitions is that we’ve created a culture of continuous learning and development for our employees.
As we continue to expand our capabilities, we enhance the value we can provide. This means our team is always learning, growing and working to understand the greatest impact our solutions can make for each client. The ability to have so many different opportunities to address our clients business issues creates an exciting and collaborative work environment.”
Tala is a mobile FinTech company that utilizes smartphone data to provide underserved people around the world access to personalized financial services, like credit scoring and lending. We asked Shannon Yates, Data Analytics Lead at Tala:
How does the company’s culture inform the work your team does?
“Our mission is to expand the access, choice and control our customers have over their financial lives. One of my team members joined an internal initiative designed to create pathways for people who wouldn’t typically qualify for the product. When the manual efforts to evaluate each application became too much, he built an automated function to scale the process. It demonstrated our belief that we should always challenge assumptions and focus more on the consumer than on operational requirements.”
TrendKite is a digital PR software that helps brands and media companies optimize earned media efforts. We asked Chris Copeland, Chief Technology Officer at TrendKite.
How do you encourage innovation within your team?
“Giving the team space and autonomy to solve problems is key. The individuals working hands-on to design and build the product are in the best position to find the most innovative solutions. As leaders, we ensure the team understands our goals and why they are important – the team figures out the best way to achieve those goals.”
VillageMD is a HealthTech company with a customizable platform that supports patients, physicians and primary practices with data analytics and physician-based support services. We asked Stacy Warchol, Manager of Technology Enablement at VillageMD:
How do your office and your teams support your culture?
“VillageMD is home to a wide variety of employees with different work styles. We have teams in technology, population health, finance and legal who are all working on different projects and have different needs when it comes to the best space for them to roll up their sleeves.
Our office design accommodates space for everyone, whether it's a cozy couch to have coffee and talk about ideas or a room equipped with an entire wall of whiteboarding space for cross-functional groups to converge and map out their plans. Working at a desk can certainly be productive, but I usually hear the most innovative conversations in our open collaborative spaces.”
Workiva created Wdesk, a cloud-based data-management platform that offers services for risk management, controlled collaboration, data integration and more. We asked Michael Bevilacqua, Vice President of Product Development at Workiva:
Are there ever disagreements about vision? How do you navigate that?
“Our culture encourages everyone to share ideas and ask lots of questions. We openly share our viewpoints, debate vigorously, come to a collective clear decision, ask dissenters to disagree and commit, and then move on. I find that if a person disagrees yet has had the opportunity to raise his or her viewpoint, that person will be supportive of the final decision.
It starts with being vulnerable and open; stifling dissent erodes trust, which is extremely toxic to a team dynamic. We seek out healthy disagreement.”
Yaro is a HealthTech company that creates digital products that offer patients transparency and control of their healthcare. We asked Shannon McDonnell, Director of Operations at Yaro:
What impact can culture have on a company during its early growth stages?
“We’ve all worked at companies with toxic cultures. In my experience, it’s because culture wasn’t a priority from the beginning. Not being intentional about culture creates a breeding ground for toxic behaviors and bad habits that become hard to break. Culture is essential to a happy team and a strong product. Why not make sure you do it right the first time?”