HubSpot Founder and CEO Brian Halligan is the first to admit the inbound marketing software company has “some strange ideas about company culture.” After all, they’ve painted the town with rainbows and unicorns; they’ve even gone “Gangnam Style.” Halligan explains it simply: “We’re trying to rethink work.”
Located steps from the Lechmere T stop, the HubSpot office is what you’d expect: orange, and buzzing with energy.
“HubSpot is this super analytical, passionate growing beast,” says Rebecca Corliss, the marketing team’s head of social media and content, who brought me along on a tour of the office. “Everyone wants this rocket ship to take off.”
Halligan admits, “We’re competing for talent.” And the talent they’re competing for is coming from Generation Y — a generation “motivated by different things.” Halligan knows people today are working seven days a week, which is why the company’s created an unlimited vacation policy. If employees already work through nights and weekends, they shouldn’t have to ask for a weekday off.
Of course, a fridge stocked with free beer doesn’t hurt either.
HubSpot is not just trying to attract any talent, however. All candidates need to align with the company’s core values, which they’ve summarized into the word “MATCHES.” HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Evangelist Laura Fitton helps break the acronym down in an email:
M — Marketers at heart. You’ve gotta be passionate about inbound marketing to work at HubSpot. There’s no way around that.
A — Analytical. We measure everything, and analytical minds are prized.
T — Transparency. Management decisions, financials — everything is fair game at HubSpot, because we believe sunshine is the best disinfectant.
C — Change. Central to constant innovation is thriving on change. Not just tolerating it, but seeking it out on a constant basis.
H — Humility. We get very, very excited at HubSpot, but we work very hard not to cross the line from enthusiasm to hubris. Hubris kills companies.
E — Effing Effective. HubSpotters get sh*t done, end of story.
S — Scale. This one’s a big reason why, at 370 employees, we still feel like a startup. The stuff we do, we figure out how to build in scale from the start. It’s made growth easier while keeping everything fresh.
“MATCHES” is the perfect example of how HubSpot has “institutionalized” their culture, according to Halligan, which will be crucial as the company continues to grow. Kipp Bodnar, who’s been working at HubSpot for three years, claims the fundamental things haven’t changed. “We order pizza from the same place, we just order more.”
To the Consulting Team Manager on the Customer Success Team Annie Schirmacher, watching the company scale has been one of the most exciting parts of working there. “We’ve moved from a startup to an internationally-based company,” she says, claiming the growth has helped create an organization and structure that’s now growing from within.
“The Internet should change the way companies do business,” Halligan says. “Corporation is broken.” To Halligan, information should be in everyone’s hand, and everyone should feel empowered.
HubSpot’s one HR policy is, “Use common sense.” Halligan mentions Ron Paul’s idea of, essentially, “no f*cking rules,” admitting, “I don’t think that’s how you run a country, but that’s how you run a company.” Hence only having one HR policy.
The employees are on board. “It’s one thing to build great products,” Bodnar says. “We’re trying to fundamentally change the way people do something.”
But, what can Halligan say? “We just have a different attitude about work.”