This post was written by our VP of People Operations, Sam Cicotello, and our Manager of Communications, Claire Harrington, CMP. They collaborated on this post when they were submitting our company for an award that asked, “Why [does Social Tables have] the Hottest Company Culture?”
Before we launch into why our culture is “hot”, we’d like to make it clear that culture isn’t a word we toss around because the word itself is “hot” – the adjective du jour for what seems like every company these days. We have a near-maniacal focus on building a deliberate, nurturing culture because our company’s every success is directly correlated to it.
What makes our culture hot? It’s a bit of a ‘chicken or the egg’ story, to be honest, because the answer is our people (whom we call Tablers), who we attract with the very deliberate culture that was created by our founding team (and amplified by every Tabler thereafter), each of whom came to Social Tables with the desire to develop a company where culture was the cornerstone.
To set the stage, our core team did an incredible job of committing to shaping our culture from day 1, and attracting others to be a part of it by introducing them to a company that prioritizes employee development, values transparency, and embraces failure. So, the people came first (our founding team), but the ideas that they walked into our first office with (the one with computer desks built from books and laptop boxes), existed long before Social Tables did. Here’s a look at a few ways we stoke the hottest culture we can:
Here’s a look at a few ways we stoke the hottest culture we can:
A Culture of Trust | We believe that a workplace is healthy when the right culture is built by the people of the company every day. It has to bubble from the bottom and be modeled from the top. A vibrant environment can never be controlled or “made” by the CEO or executive team – they build the framework, hire the right people and then model it every single day.
The key to that is saying “yes” as much as possible. “Can we have a happy hour? YES! Can I just call that customer and fix the problem directly? YES! Can I just throw everything away in the refrigerator – it’s nasty? YES! I met and amazing person last night, can they come teach a class? YES! Can we have an office pony? YES – if we can get him up the elevator.
A Daily Dose of Development | Social Tables encourages perpetual personal renewal for each and every employee, because we believe that challenging ourselves (both our personal and professional selves) to be better than we were yesterday is the only way to spark true innovation, create a familial, supportive culture, and achieve business success.
In order to do this, we have committed to the principles that align with being a DDO. A deliberately developmental organization (DDO) is “built around the simple but radical conviction that the organization can prosper only if its culture is designed from the ground up to enable ongoing development for all of its people. That is, a company can’t meet ever-greater business aspirations unless its people are constantly growing through doing their work.*”
We provide education funds, career coaching, lunch and learns, internal educational conferences, guest speakers, and career development pathing for each employee, all in the name of DDO.
The Power of Purpose | “It is within everyone’s grasp to be a founder.” – Lazlo Bock, VP of People Operations, Google We believe that every employee has the power to shape our company, their professional path, and their personal path, so long as they feel empowered to do so. Empowerment transpires from communication, transparency, and access:
- We’re a flat organization: an intern who has been here for 6 hours may find themselves having coffee with our CMO, while a week-old associate is encouraged to reach out to our CEO directly.
- We’re a spaghetti factory: ‘Fail Fast, and Often’ is one of our 4 cultural pillars, so we encourage every person to pursue the projects they are passionate about, no matter how wild. Noodle didn’t stick? Pivot. Can’t get it off the wall? Rockstar.
- We’re not afraid of getting naked: In our monthly all-hands meeting, our CEO discusses our finances openly and honestly with everyone. He shares the deck he presents to our Board members with every Tabler immediately after presenting it.
- Success is a collaborative effort: When we achieve our goals, we celebrate together (if we hit goal for the year, we’re taking an all-inclusive group trip). When we miss our mark, we dress each other’s wounds and create a new plan of attack, together (our VP of People Ops handed out Red Bull’s at 2 pm on the last day of the month when we were behind goal).
Culture’s journey isn’t linear, and we can’t expect it to be. We will never achieve the perfect culture*, because there will always be new ideas to try, new Tablers to learn about and from, and new challenges to overcome, but our culture is what attracts and retains the best and the most passionate people, who will continue to motivate Social Tables to provide the hottest culture on the market.
*That constant quest towards perfection, however, is what makes us so great; we’ll reinvent ourselves as many times as possible as we strive to provide the most inspirational, nurturing culture that we can to each and every member of the Social Tables family.