According to the Corporate Culture Code, HubSpot develops two products: one for its customers, and one for its employees. When the pandemic struck and full-time teleworking became the norm, an in-depth reflection was launched on the potential impact of this transition on the culture of the company, and its transposition into the virtual space. We had to make sure to bring the culture and values of HubSpot to life in this new environment as enablers of change. Knowing that it is not possible to faithfully replicate the online office experience, HubSpot has taken a deliberate step to maintain the connection with its employees.
Each year, HubSpot hosts the HEART event, a week dedicated to the company values of humility, empathy, adaptability, excellence and transparency. In 2021, HEART week was held for the first time entirely online. As the event approached, we had to think a lot about the path that HubSpot has taken, that is to say the actions put in place to transfer the experience online, and especially to transcribe the culture of the company in the virtual sphere.
This adventure is far from over, with HubSpot having announced at the end of 2020 its intention to switch to a fully hybrid model in 2021. Here are some of the thoughts that have guided this approach, in the hope that this return will he experience will help other companies to adapt their culture strategy and work model.
Culture can flourish outside the walls.
A common misconception is that culture is dependent on a physical work environment. The expression “corporate culture” often conjures up images of juice bars, ping-pong tables and quirky events. The technology sector has particularly contributed to the formation of these prejudices. Although this type of initiative can boost a company’s culture and employee involvement, they represent visible amenities rather than the heart of the notion of culture. The latter in fact constitutes the collective personality of a company. It consists of a set of shared values, behaviors and practices. Thus, rather than focusing on the material limits of teleworking, it is better to focus first on delineating the more intangible aspects of the corporate culture. It is a question of determining whether the values of the brand generate concrete manifestations. If not, consider adjusting these values and the resulting culture to support the transition to a hybrid work model.
Create experiences to energize the corporate culture
Many companies fail to create experiences capable of producing meaningful and culturally relevant impact. In planning the HEART week, the HubSpot team focused on reiterating the why of its values. For example, the charitable partners of the HubSpot Helps program were invited to share virtual volunteering opportunities, related to the value of humility. Bozoma Saint John, Managing Director of Marketing at Netflix, spoke about her remarkable career path in a HubTalk chat. Finally, managers were encouraged to have transparent conversations with their teams about how to apply HubSpot’s values in their day-to-day activities. It is the culture of the company that must inspire the experiences offered, and not the other way around.
Leave the office at the office
A simple Zoom link does not recreate an online team experience. To bring the corporate culture to life in a virtual environment, it is necessary to adopt a resolutely thoughtful and deliberate approach. Create opportunities that foster team involvement and engagement, while ensuring that these interactions produce the desired results. Zoom Live events aren’t the only solution. By surveying its employees, HubSpot discovered that they are asking for ways to stay in touch with the corporate culture without having to go through yet another virtual event. This year, a Slack channel dedicated to HEART week was created, inviting employees to testify about how their colleagues, managers and customers have put the values of HubSpot into practice, a simple but eminently effective way to nurture relationships. between teams while recalling that HubSpot’s culture is above all human-centered.
Inspire through inclusion
Whatever the modalities of its activity, the experience offered by a company must above all be inclusive. The notion of inclusion has ramifications far beyond the professional sphere. Growing a diverse business that future generations can be proud of is a top priority for HubSpot, so it was imperative to recognize and encourage this diversity as part of the online transition. For example, timing had to be taken into account: scheduling a Zoom live event at a time that parents typically spend with their children is totally against the culture of HubSpot. This is why asynchronous communications and self-service programming have been favored. Allowing everyone to participate regardless of their time zone is a strong act in terms of inclusion and engagement.
Aim for the long term
Laurel Farrel, CEO and Founder of Distribute Consulting recently published an article about sustainable telecommuting practices in which she made this salutary observation: “Companies that are transitioning to a hybrid model continue to think of it as a band-aid. But a definitive cure requires a comprehensive treatment plan. Since neither the pandemic nor the transformation of HubSpot into a hybrid company is over, experiences such as the HEART week constitute as many opportunities to test different treatments, in order to better understand the needs of the employees and to draw a relevant strategy. for the future. HEART week is just one example. In June, HubSpot hosted its first Virtual Pride Race, inviting employees to share photos of their 5K and make a donation to the charity of their choice. The feedback collected following this event revealed that this initiative had won strong support from employees. Not all of the initiatives proposed have worked as well, the important thing being to ask for feedback and act accordingly, in order to identify the best ways to maintain employee engagement and develop the corporate culture on the job. the long term.
While it would be tempting to bring the corporate culture back to the post-pandemic, that’s not a good idea. 2020 has demonstrated the importance of a proactive approach consisting in investing time and resources in observation, listening and experimentation. 100% telework or hybrid model, whatever the envisaged transition, it is important to assess the culture and values of the company. In particular, this involves verifying that they are relevant with regard to the development of the company. To bring these values to life through employee engagement, it is imperative to adopt a proactive approach. HubSpot doesn’t have all the answers yet, but the entire team is eager to learn what the future holds. In this perspective, do not hesitate to share with us the best practices that you discover as you reorient your corporate culture.
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