With industry giants like Google, Salesforce and Facebook in seemingly every major U.S. city and every corner of the globe, how did a challenger brand like HubSpot take the #1 spot on the 2020 Best Places to Work list?
That may be the question you and your executives are asking yourselves, upon reviewing Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards for 2020. Although it’s the first time at #1, it’s the 4th time the sales and marketing software company has been recognized on the U.S. Large list (2016, 2018, 2019, and 2020) – up 15 spots from #16 in 2019. The company has 3,200+ employees in over 9 countries and has a fast-growing remote workforce too.
The secret behind HubSpot’s impressive win this year boils down to its strategic and purposeful investments in culture, people and mission. Those may sound like simple or perhaps obvious reasons for HubSpot to win an award that represents the insights and sentiment from employees. However, if it were easy, every company would have an exemplary workplace culture and thousands of glowing reviews.
According to Katie Burke, HubSpot’s Chief People Officer, “this recognition is a testament to not only the progress we’ve made on culture in 2019, but to the progress we’ve made since day one. Creating amazing cultures where people can do their best work doesn’t happen overnight.”
We spoke with Burke to get details on how HubSpot invests in culture, candidate experience, employee engagement and builds a thriving remote workforce. Here’s the inside scoop on HubSpot’s big win.
Two Major Focuses in 2019
While HubSpot first published their Culture Code in 2019, they have been consistently iterating on that foundation to help “employees grow both personally and professionally.” Their core values of HEART (humble, empathetic, adaptable, remarkable, transparent) have been vitally important as the company has scaled. However, in 2019, Burke says that as leadership doubled down in two key areas. The first is global inclusion and the second is being mission-focused.
“In just the past year, we set our first company-wide diversity goal, built out a dedicated team devoted to diversity, inclusion, and belonging, and launched a new and improved HubSpot Diversity Data Report to build on the work we had started over the past four years, and I think the results are resonating with our employees globally, though we still have a lot more work to do. Creating a culture of belonging is a constant work in progress.”
As for being mission-focused, HubSpot felt that given its growing remote workforce supported in 9 countries and more than 40 U.S. states, reinforcing their mission, vision and values was a large albeit worthwhile investment.
“We really spent this year bringing our employees back to our mission of helping millions of organizations grow better. As a result, our employees feel a strong sense of mission — we are absolutely building and marketing software, but at our core, we are helping millions of organizations grow their revenue, their impact, and their reach with our software, services, and philosophy,” explains Burke. “We take the promise of helping organizations grow better seriously. So we spent more time this year talking about the work and less about the perks. It turns out the best people in the world care more about making an impact than they do about free coffee. They care about the problems they solve and the people they get to solve them with--we are lucky enough to come in every day and deliver well on both of those criteria.”
Embracing & Empowering Remote Work
As a proponent of dispersed workforces, HubSpot continues to invest in being a best place to work for remote employees. The company has more than 250 remote employees and is hiring for remote roles in Sales, People Operations, Marketing, and Customer Success.
“The idea that you need to be in an office from 9 to 5 to do great work is antiquated,” insists Burke. “That’s why remote work isn’t a trend, it’s the future. Candidates want the flexibility that comes with working remotely, and while many companies are starting to experiment with remote work, I think they’re afraid to dive in. My advice to those companies is: don’t wait.”
Nevertheless, as HubSpot and Burke have come to understand, hiring, retaining and empowering a remote workforce isn’t as easy as implementing a few video conference calls and the occasional trip out to HQ. “Creating a remarkable remote employee experience is hard work, but it’s a challenge we’re passionate about and committed to solving.”
Doubling Down on Candidate Experience
Companies nationwide have really invested in the candidate experience. And the same is true for HubSpot, which has embraced a Glassdoor value of transparency to create a positive candidate experience. “People expect employers to give them insight into their organization, culture, and recruiting process,” says Burke. Taking a page from the success of their Culture Code, HubSpot launched a new Candidate Experience page on their careers website to set applicants up for success.
“It shares information about what we value “culture add” over “culture fit”, how to prepare for an interview at HubSpot in detail, and tips, tricks, and suggestions from our employees and recruiters alike. Since it launched, the page has become one of our highest-trafficked site pages. I think that’s a strong testament to how much transparency is expected from the candidate experience today.”
Once candidates are in the interview process, HubSpot continues the white-glove service by showing candidates how much their feedback is valued. “Every candidate who interviews with HubSpot at the face-to-face stage is asked to fill out a candidate NPS (Net Promoter Score) survey after their interview,” says Burke. “That feedback has given us a benchmark score to focus on improving quarterly, but it also gives us rich, qualitative feedback about our recruiting process. We’ve been able to identify gaps between the experience we aspire to create and the one we’re actually creating. Candidate feedback through the NPS survey, but also from Glassdoor reviews and anecdotally, has been invaluable for us to know where to focus our energy on improving HubSpot’s candidate experience.”
Never Settle, Always Be Branding
Sure, all tech companies ascribe to some of the same mantras: “Move fast, break things,” “Go big or go home,” “Ship it,” “Always be hustling.” They are meant to inspire employees and energize the work done. In addition to stirring core values, Burke says that HubSpot’s past wins for Best Places to Work have also gone a long way to excite employees and candidates alike.
“The buzz from the Best Place to Work awards has really helped put HubSpot on the map - especially with candidates outside the Northeast, remote candidates, or candidates who are just breaking into tech,” says Burke. “More importantly, recognitions like this help us build trust with talent because it’s employee-driven. Candidates want transparency into what it’s like to work for a company, and we embrace the transparency that Glassdoor provides for them.”
Burke adds, “The Best Place to Work recognition motivates us to never settle for mediocrity when it comes to culture. After winning an award like this, it’s tempting to think you’re doing everything right and your culture is perfect. But I always remind our team that any award is a lagging indicator, not a leading one--it’s a result of years of hard work and the clock on that hard work resets now, so I’m going to enjoy this and toast our People Operations team briefly, then get back to focusing on what we can and should do better to earn that #1 spot every day.”