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What are the coolest startup culture hacks you’ve heard of? originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question.
Answer by Heather Wilde, Unicorn Whisperer and ROCeteer, on Quora:
I’ve worked in and out of startups throughout my career, and now I have the pleasure of advising them, so I have encountered a lot of culture hacks.
Some from my own startups:
I have had the amazing good fortune to work with some truly talented people and some of my personal legends throughout my career, but none made me so giddy as when I found out I was working with one of my heroes, Steve Meretzky of Infocom. He was responsible for more than one of my favorite games growing up, and I got to work side by side with him (miss you, Steve! You’re the best!).
So, anyway, at this company, there was a ritual on Wednesday nights where we’d all stop what we were doing, grab some beers, and play a board or card game. We’d play for hours, and get to know more about each other, and just chill out and not think about work. The company didn’t work out, but I really treasured the bonding time with my colleagues.
In one of our startups, we had a tradition that any time our sales team closed a sale we’d ring a bell so everyone could hear it. It didn’t matter what was going on, that bell would clang – LOUDLY.
Since the sales team was on the road and we never really got to see them, it made us feel more connected to them.
Officer Training/Evernote University
Employees can get a little bored doing the same thing every day, so there were two culture hacks introduced over the years to combat this. An early program allowed employees to join any meeting that was “open” on the calendar with permission of the organizer (provided they didn’t have any conflicts on their own side), to learn more about the business, and a current program allows people to pick up new skills like butchery, racecar driving, and foraging.
At Evernote, Zappos and some other companies I’ve seen, employees are encouraged to mix their desks in with other departments to increase the chance that they will need to walk to reach someone they need to talk to. Zappos even went so far as to put employee parking away from the building so that employees will need to walk through downtown Las Vegas and meet people on the street, encouraging these kinds of spontaneous interactions.
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