Top 10 Culture Hacks for Startups

Posted by Jessica Alter /July 31, 2013 / Hot Topics

Company culture is hugely important. But when you don’t have the resources for personal chefs, gyms at the office or private suites at a stadium? Culture hacks are the little things that companies do to create a culture and bring employees together. Here are the top 10 ways companies are hacking culture.

10. Avoid the ego trip – At Method, employees take turns being the receptionist, a humbling experience that creates a positive atmosphere.

9. Get to know everyoneLyft gives Starbucks cards to new employees, so they can can take colleagues for coffee. Not only do they have a reason to ask people to go for coffee, they also get to know people one on one quickly.

8. Pay people to leaveZappos pays people to leave after working for 40 hours. It’s up to the employees whether they want to stay or not, creating an environment in which leaving early isn’t punished.

7. Circles of knowledge – At Appnexus, newly hired employees are asked via email at the end of their first week what they wish they had been told on their first day. This information then goes into the hiring packet for the next round of new hires.

6. Keep learningHubspot encourages employees to take someone out for a meal on the company’s money, someone they can learn from and grow.

5. Let creativity thriveDropbox holds a hack week for employees, giving them the ability to work on anything they want with the possibility that a cool project could get launched.

4. Eat togetherLinkedIn (LNKD) hosts food trucks every Friday, encouraging employees to get out and stand in the long lines for quality street food. But it’s not only about the food. The food trucks are an opportunity for colleagues to socialize on their lunch break.

3. Get the blood pumpingPulsepoint employees take part in one minute workouts. Someone picks a song, everyone gets out of their seats and anything from jumping jacks to push ups goes, as long as you do it for a whole minute.

2. Eat your own dog food – At Twilio, new hires are required to develop an app with the Twilio API (regardless of their coding skills). They are provided guidance and at the end of their first week, are “knighted” in a ceremony where they are given track jackets and Kindles, while the rest of the company cheers them on.

1. Be charitableVMware’s (VMW) giving program gives money to employees at the 4, 6, 8, and 12 years milestone to donate to the charity of their choice. They cultivate a charitable environment, while rewarding the employees who have been with them the longest.

These are just some of the things that companies are doing to promote a vibrant work environment. Company culture doesn’t have to be about big ticket items. Startups have the ability to create a great culture – it just takes a little hacking. What are the best startup hacks you’ve heard of?  Let us know…