When it comes to company culture, Boston-based HubSpot could very well be the next Google.
At the very least, it’s one of the most unique places to work in the tech industry today.
An MIT professor has even been studying the 550-employee company for months as the subject of her PhD dissertation, cofounder and CTO Dharmesh Shah told Business Insider.
This isn’t about strange or over-the-top perks it gives employees, although it has a few of those. It’s about an attitude in which workers are treated in part like cofounders and in part like students, Shah explained to Business Insider. Here’s a lightly edited transcript:
BUSINESS INSIDER: What is the main thing about your company that’s different?
DHARMESH SHAW: We have what we call an “uncomfortable level of transparency” where we share information as if every employee was a [top] manager.
Our wiki exposes things like cash balance, burn rate last month, valuations, impact on dilution, customers we’re talking to. Anything that the company is in a position to legally share, our default is to share it.
Even [the performance of] individual groups. If we have a group that’s particularly struggling, we share it.
BI: How does such openness impact employee life?
DS: We have very animated debates on our internal wiki, even criticising management decisions. I’ve had my share of flames on the Wiki, “Darmesh, that’s just stupid.” An employee just hired two weeks ago can flame the CEO and not get fired.
BI: Why do this? What’s the motivation?
DS: We want to increase the ‘market value’ of every employee. When someone moves on, we call it “graduating from HubSpot.” We want them to look back at their time and say, ‘that’s the best I could have done” to increase my career path and what I would be making.
We give people exposure to experiences they may not have otherwise. They can sit in meetings in other groups to learn about them; we have continuing education things where we bring in outside speakers; we try to think through, “what would make someone more valuable after they leave HubSpot?”
BI: What relationship do you have with employees after they graduate?
DS: We have the HubSpot alumni group. Once a HubSpotter, always a HubSpotter. An ex-employee runs it. We’ll give them the company update.
In most cases they own stock because everyone has stock options. We think of it as a shareholder/employee meeting and have a very candid Q&A.
BI: What does HubSpot get from that in return?
DS: If these people were awesome enough to be hired at HubSpot they don’t become non-awesome once they’ve graduated. They are going to be future customers, future investors (if we go public), people that refer friends and family for jobs. We would talk to them anyway, but these are people that will work with HubSpot in the future.
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