At HotelTonight’s weekly all-hands meeting, HT Nation, we always end with an AMA (ask me anything). This reflects my goal of running a transparent organization and one where people freely give feedback to one another. I get direct questions about our finances, our strategies and our future plans. I love it. A few weeks ago, I got a great question asking what I was most proud of achieving at HotelTonight. Among the significant business milestones, I shared how excited I am about the culture HotelTonight has built and sustained.
It was always a goal of mine to build a company with an amazing team culture. A place where people will not only do the best work of their lives, but also somewhere they genuinely love coming every day, surrounded by people they enjoy being with. I wanted to create the environment that I wanted to work for when I started my career. Also, building a company is about the journey, not the destination, and when you’re on a journey you want to be with fun people. And it’s also good business – the team that likes and respects one another is more innovative and productive.
While we certainly have more work to do, and continually are gathering feedback from the team and acting upon it, I’m really proud of the culture that has emerged at HotelTonight. From what I’ve observed from my time building and working at startups, a key way you’ll know your culture is working is when people spend time together outside of the office or any company-sponsored event.
Here are a few anecdotes I’ve collected over the past few months to demonstrate what this looks like at HotelTonight:
The Company That Runs Together...
A bunch of us recently ran the SF Half together (my first and definitely last half marathon). Not only did a group train together, but one of our Regional Managers, Adam (who crushed the race, btw), invited everyone over to his house for a BBQ afterward – whether they’d run the race or not.
We also offer a subsidized gym membership as a perk, and it’s fun to see people heading over there together to try out new classes, or encouraging each other to squeeze in a workout. I’m a big believer in both the mental and physical benefits of exercise, and it’s very cool to see the team motivating each other.
Over the years, Team HT has taken many trips together, from big-group trips to Tahoe and Vegas to taking a work-friend on a hometown tour (as far away as Dublin!) to attending each other’s out-of-town weddings. We’re a travel company (with unlimited vacation), so I especially love seeing people bonding in this way.
The week before last, our North America Local Ops team took a travel week to visit their hotel partners all over the continent. Gaby, who manages Mexico City, invited everyone to come check out the city (New York Times’ #1 “Place To Go” in 2016) the following weekend. A group from teams across the company went, and it was awesome to see their Instas and Snaps (and made me want to go there, too).
One of the other sweet perks we offer is HT Roulette, where once a month someone wins a totally-free spontaneous trip for two. Your plus-one can be anyone, but it’s been so cool to see how many winners picked an HT coworker as their travel buddy.
Mates Across the Globe
We’ve got several offices internationally, and the team is so incredibly welcoming when they’ve got visitors from other offices. One way we’ve helped foster this is by having virtual “coffee dates,” pairing up people across teams to get to know each other (we’ve also done this in person within our SF office).
Recently Kelsey from the SF office was visiting the UK... and several people from the London office ended up joining her on a trip to Paris. And Donnie, our Strategic Partnerships Manager, just relocated to our London office. Serendipitously, a past employee he’d stayed in touch with had a room available exactly the week he was set to move!
It’s inevitable that people move on. But a mark of a great, lasting company culture is when people stay friends even when they don’t see each other in the office every day. Maybe they’ll work together in the future, maybe they’ll start a company with a great culture of its own, maybe they’ll be at each other’s weddings or will be travel buddies for life.
I’ve even heard from people who left HT for new opportunities that while they like the people at their new jobs, there was something special about HT that they haven’t been able to find elsewhere. If there’s any one indicator of a great company culture, I’d say that’s it!
I’d love to hear: is there one thing you notice that indicates a great team culture?
Originally posted on LinkedIN by: Sam Shank
Contact John Assunto for all of your Education Recruiting needs! Johna@worldbridgepartners.com or 860-387-0503
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