We’re humbled and thrilled to announce that the Austin Business Journal has ranked Bazaarvoice the best mid-size technology company to work for in Austin. This is the fourth year in a row that Bazaarvoice has been among the top places to work in Austin, and the fact that the ranking is based on a survey of employees is a testament to the awesome culture we’ve worked to build here. So awesome, in fact, that our CEO, Brett Hurt, is currently drafting a book on it, tentatively titled How to Make Your Company Suck Less. All proceeds from the book will go towards charity, as Brett is writing it solely to help other leaders make the 60% of waking time that we all spend at work more meaningful.

Brett recently appeared on the cover of Texas CEO magazine discussing just that – how to build a company culture that creates a place where people actually want to come to work. Here are a few tips on building a culture that rocks:

1. Hire the right people.

People are the foundation of your company culture. Hiring candidates who are as passionate, creative, and dedicated to excellence as you are is essential to maintaining a great corporate culture. From the beginning, we’ve had a process for testing every candidate in every position. Many candidates spend 12-16 hours preparing for their test. Every new hire brought on has been through the testing process – it’s something we can all bond over. You never know if you are truly passionate about something until you get tested for it. We want only the truly passionate here.

2. Trust them to do their thing.

Once you’ve hired the right people, trust them to execute on their own. This trust motivates accountability. For example, at Google, employees are encouraged to devote 20% of their work time to personal projects that will better the individual or the company. At Bazaarvoice, every employee gets an unlimited number of vacation days. As Brett told the Austin American-Statesman, no one has ever abused the policy in our five years of operation. “When you treat people like adults, when you treat them with radical trust, they in turn do the same for you,” he said. Hubspot practices the same policy.

3. Solicit feedback and recognize excellence.

At Bazaarvoice, much of our culture revolves around being open with our employees. All of our management team maintains an open-door policy – any employee has direct access to our leaders to voice their ideas and concerns. This openness lends itself to fierce conversations that solve problems, rather than dancing around them. Feedback on management is also formally solicited quarterly (we rate managers on whether or not they are living our cultural values), and our managers craft this feedback into actionable areas to improve their leadership in the next quarter.

Additionally, we maintain a number of ways for employees to recognize each others’ excellence, be that excellence cultural, personal, or work related. We present peer-nominated culture awards at every quarterly All-Hands meeting (held off-site at a low-key environment, such as the Alamo Draft House or Salt Lick), offer peer-nominated reserved parking spots to high performers, and sporadically dole out Star Performer awards for exceptional performance. These awards come with various equity offerings, grants, and general peer recognition that builds a culture of success.

Bazaarvoice is growing, and as such, we’re hiring. If you know passionate, qualified, rock-star candidate, send them our way and you could earn a referral bonus.

8 Responses to “Three ways to make your company suck less”

  1. Great post, from a great Austin company. Big BV fan. Sounds reminiscent of some things I have read by Seth Godin. I imagine all you BV folks would like him fairly well.

  2. Nicole-

    You’re right–it’s hard. But it’s a critical step in any company’s maturity, and it’s ultimately one that pays.

    Speaking from experience, I have never worked for an organization that trusts me like BV trusts me, and I’ll work that much harder to deserve that respect.

  3. Nicole-

    You’re right–it’s hard. But it’s a critical step in any company’s maturity, and it’s ultimately one that pays.

    Speaking from experience, I have never worked for an organization that trusts me like BV trusts me, and I’ll work that much harder to deserve that respect.

  4. Great post! Trusting the right person to handle your business can be a hard thing to do. But it’s a necessity. It’s hard trying to hand over the responsibilities to another person and trust that they’ll represent your business in the best light.

  5. Great post! Trusting the right person to handle your business can be a hard thing to do. But it’s a necessity. It’s hard trying to hand over the responsibilities to another person and trust that they’ll represent your business in the best light.

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