7 Crazy Startup Workplace and Culture Things to Do

Yesterday I was having lunch with a group of entrepreneurs and business leaders. One of them commented on us winning an award for being the #1 place to work and asked if I’d share any secrets or tips. I love talking about all the crazy things we do, so I jumped right in.

Here are seven crazy startup workplace and culture things we do:

  1. Bottom up daily check-ins – everyone participates in a quick meeting at the beginning of the day with their manager and answers the following questions: what did you do yesterday, what are you going to do today, and do you have any roadblocks
  2. Scoreboard – a large LED scoreboard for everyone to see how the company is doing across key metrics color coded red, yellow, green, and super green
  3. Two page essays during the hiring process – all applicants for all positions have to write a two page essay as part of the hiring process and we’ve found that ones ability to write is highly correlated with the ability to do the job for all departments
  4. Culture check during the hiring process – we have several two-person teams that interview candidates exclusively for corporate culture fit and don’t assess things like domain expertise or ability to do the job
  5. Quarterly check-ins – each quarter every team member sits down with their manager for an hour one-on-one meeting and answers the following questions: what did I accomplish last quarter, what am I going to accomplish this quarter, how can I improve, and how am I following the values
  6. Four hours of monthly housecleaning – we pay for four hours of housecleaning per month for each employee to help simplify and improve their personal life
  7. Freestyle Fridays – we don’t allow recurring meetings on Friday and discourage any meetings or interruptions so that people get longer periods of time to concentrate and get in the zone (most people work from home several days per week as well)
  8. Bonus: No vacation tracking – we don’t track employee vacation or sick time as our focus is on delivering results and meeting expectations, not on how many hours someone worked

One of the things I tried to emphasize at the lunch meeting is that the perks and benefits side of the equation reinforces the value we place on our people, but people love the company because of the other people they work with, and the perks are icing on the cake.

What else? What are some other crazy startup workplace and culture things you recommend?

5 thoughts on “7 Crazy Startup Workplace and Culture Things to Do

  1. 1. Not crazy. Very common.
    2. Cool.
    3. Not bad. Seems reasonable and effective.
    4. Cool.
    5. Seems daunting, forced and corporate.
    6. The best.
    7. Cool.
    8. I think this generally backfires. I’d prefer to be explicitly given, say, 4 weeks of vacation instead of feeling guilty that I took four more days of my “untracked” vacation than Joe. Then Joe becomes a better employee since he took less vacation time. And I feel guilty.

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