What Being Named a Glassdoor Best Place to Work Means for Greenhouse

I couldn’t feel more proud that Greenhouse was named the #1 best place to work by Glassdoor. We’re a people-centric company and we design tools to help other companies build people-centric companies. This award is a humbling validation that we’re on the right path.

I am fortunate to be able to speak for a company of more than 200 inspiring people in this post and I’m excited to share some of the insights that we all live every day together. I also want to take a moment and celebrate all of the folks at Greenhouse. Thank you all for everything you do to make Greenhouse what it is, and for engaging to make Greenhouse the best place it can be. I love being a part of this journey with everyone!

As I think about what we’ve accomplished so far—and what we hope to achieve in the future—a few key points come to mind. I’d love to share a few of the principles that have guided our team in how we think about building culture, creating People practices, and working with our employees.

1. Building a great company is an all-company effort.

I’ve worked at good companies and great companies. The difference between the good and the great is that at the great companies, everyone is brought in to make it a great place to work. It’s not just about the People team running programs or executive leadership taking initiative—it is something that every employee cares about, and is empowered to own and improve.

What this looks like in practice:

Employees are engaged in giving feedback and sharing ideas about how to run the company. And the way that feedback is given is telling, too. It’s easy to complain about things that aren’t going well. Great companies have employees who work productively to solve problems and offer suggestions for how to improve, because they care and take ownership over the company culture, not just their own work.

For example, we have several committees made of cross-functional teams of employees who have spearheaded projects like revamping our anniversary recognition program and launching our department retrospective meetings. Marketing Campaign Manager Casey Marshall has participated in the Fun Day and Community Service Committees and had this to say about her experience: “We already know we’re on the same page professionally because we believe in our company and our product. But participating in the committees gives you the chance to go beyond your day-to-day responsibilities and focus on something you’re passionate about outside of work. And this experience allows you to be more of your authentic self.”

2. We hire for culture add, bringing people in who embrace the same values we do.

Let me be clear: Culture add is not interviewing to assess “Would I have a beer with this person?” While that’s definitely nice, it’s not how we think about building a great, diverse place to work.

What this looks like in practice:

We embrace the idea of Structured Hiring: Before we open a role, our recruiters and hiring managers partner to outline exactly which skills and traits someone would need to be successful in the role and they decide how to evaluate candidates for that specific criteria.

Since we were only 30 employees, we’ve been explicit about the values and behavior that are the foundation of our culture. We at Greenhouse strive to be authentic, effective, collaborative, inclusive & open-minded, customer-focused, and ambitious. So everyone who goes through our interview process has a behavioral interview that screens to make sure this person embodies these attributes and would make our culture even better.

And we’re pretty rigorous about this. We’ve said no to really senior, technically excellent candidates because we didn’t think they were collaborative or inclusive enough.

Senior Account Manager Adam Plachta says, “Being ambitious is part of our culture credo, and for me that that has an impact in two ways. One is that I have the opportunity and support to start or participate in projects outside the scope of my job description. The second is, because I know that ambition and our other culture traits are genuinely valued and needed on a day-to-day basis, I really look for those traits in candidates. And that’s what’s really effective about the culture fit interviews.”

3. It’s not about being perfect; it’s about being authentic.

We are not a perfect company. Let me say that again. We are not perfect and never will be—we make mistakes and we get things wrong. But the thing we do is admit that, and share those issues openly with our employees.

What this looks like in practice:

We do regular AMA (ask me anything) sessions, where employees anonymously ask questions and Daniel Chait, our CEO, answers them. The questions can often be hard, and Daniel does the challenging work of answering them as authentically and transparently as possible.

4. We embrace a culture of continuous improvement.

As I mentioned in the previous section, we freely admit that we aren’t perfect and we make mistakes. But we also want to strive to be the best we can be, and we achieve that by encouraging an ongoing dialogue and getting feedback from employees on what’s working well—and what isn’t.

What this looks like in practice:

We conduct regular engagement surveys to give our employees the opportunity to share their thoughts on all aspects of the company. Sometimes they’re small things, like keeping the live stream between the NYC and SF office kitchens going all day so employees in our different offices feel a little more connected. And sometimes they’re major lifts—like launching a company-wide performance management framework that addresses what our employees and managers are looking for.

But regardless of what the project actually is, we’re constantly identifying areas where we can do better, and tackling them. And as soon as we get there, new things pop up to focus on. It’s a never-ending process, because… well, see #3.

A few final thoughts

To sum it all up, this award is a huge honor for all of us at Greenhouse and we’re really excited about it. AND, we still feel like we have a long way to go to be where we want to be. We’ll continue to look for ways to improve, and we think our customers who made this list—along with all the other winners—will be a great source of inspiration. We look forward to sharing some of their stories with you in the future. And let’s keep the dialogue going! If you have thoughts on how to build a better company culture or how you’ve handled challenges in your organization, we’d love to hear them.

By the way, we’re hiring! You can check out our open roles here.

Maia Josebachvili

Maia Josebachvili is VP of People & Strategy at Greenhouse. Her team is pioneering the concept of reinventing the traditional HR department and combining the People and Strategy functions. Maia has a decade of experience building and scaling teams. She was the Founder & CEO of Urban Escapes where she was named one of Inc. Magazine’s 30 Under 30. She later sold the company to LivingSocial and went on to run several business units there, hiring and managing a team of 800 full and part-time employees across the country. In a previous life chapter, Maia was a professional skydiver with 750+ jumps. Follow her on Twitter.

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