Inside the Company Culture of HubSpot

April 5, 2013

2:55 pm

On March 20, HubSpot peeled back the veil on its company culture by posting its CultureCode on Slideshare, snapping up 300,000 views in less than three weeks.

The beautiful, 150-page presentation shares the beliefs, values, and practices that make HubSpot unique – from customer focus to transparency to autonomy, from honesty to high standards to constant growth.

“We don't think culture is about free beer and ping-pong and dogs in the office — it's about what you believe, why you do what you do, and who you choose to work with,” says CTO and cofounder Dharmesh Shah.

That said, we were curious about the day-to-day life of the 460+ HubSpotters. Below, Shah shares a little bit about that.

Tech Cocktail: What’s the orientation process for new employees? 

Dharmesh Shah: It varies across different groups. In the engineering group, one of our goals is to get a new developer productive and shipping code to production on the first or second day. For all new recruits, we have an informal “Ask The Founders Anything” session where we go around the room and take any and all questions. (Both my cofounder and I attend these sessions).

We also ask that new employees read through the HubSpot Culture Code deck if they haven't already. It helps people understand what makes us tick.

Tech Cocktail: What perks do you have for employees at the office? 

Shah: Free food (both healthy and not so healthy). Free snacks. Ping-pong. Fooseball. High-end coffee and espresso. Standing desks (for those that want them). Most importantly, great colleagues that you can learn from and enjoy being around.

Tech Cocktail: Where do employees eat breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner?

Shah: Varies. We don't have set meals together, but we do have a few interesting meal programs. We run a regular “Mystery Dinner.” This is where a group of HubSpotters get matched together for a nice dinner on the town. The idea is to bring people from across groups together and help them get to know each other. That's been very popular. We also have an “Unlimited Meals” program whereby any employee can take anyone else out for a meal: candidate, customer, partner, competitor – or other employee. No limits. They just expense it.

Tech Cocktail: Do you offer any interesting benefits? 

Shah: We have several. Unlimited vacation is one of them (we don't track how much vacation people take). We also have a policy of “radical and uncomfortable” transparency. We share as much information as we can across the entire team. Financials (cash balance in the bank, burn rate, funding rounds), board meeting notes, management meeting notes – just about everything. The only thing we don't share is individual salaries (we feel like that's personal information).

Tech Cocktail: What unconventional things might someone see while walking through your office? 

Shah: We have a big digital animated “Face Wall.” It shows photos of all of the employees. You have to see it to understand it.

HubSpot Face Wall

Tech Cocktail: Do you have any lunchtime or after-hours events for employees? 

Shah: Too many to count. We have guest speakers come and give talks (often business and technology celebrities – like Eric Ries, Clay Christensen, and Colin Angle [CEO of iRobot]). We have yoga classes. Toastmasters. Beer brewing. Board game night.

Tech Cocktail: How do you celebrate birthdays or holidays?

Shah: We don't celebrate individual birthdays but we do celebrate HubSpot's birthday in the summer because we want to celebrate the contributions employees have made to the company's success. Not that we don't celebrate employees' birthdays, but nothing “official.” Holidays are a whole different matter. Depends on the holiday. We have a blow-out Halloween party. Some of the costumes are epic.

Hubspot Halloween

Tech Cocktail: How much flexibility do employees have in determining their work hours or work location?

Shah: Our general philosophy is that we don't care how many hours you work or where you work them. In practice, individual groups determine what is most effective for them. We trust our team leaders to do what is right.

Tech Cocktail: Do employees have any ways to showcase their personality? 

Shah: We pretty much have an “anything goes” policy at HubSpot. So people's personalities show up regularly. If you spend 15 minutes and don't hear someone laughing out loud, there's something wrong. We have a house band (that is VERY good). We have peer-to-peer training sessions where people have learned everything from origami, to professional poker playing, to whiskey tasting (it's a thing!).

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact